Looking back in 2014 A review of what we did, and what our plans are for 2015

December 26, 2014

2014 was huge. It actually introduced us with a growth that was way beyond our expectations.  At the first days of January 2014, we launched our first WooCommerce theme, Crux, which was awarded as the best new WooCommerce theme at Themeforest at that time. Now, that’s a good way to start a year, isn’t it?

During the whole year, several things happened, and several things did not. Let’s have a quick look at what took place in 2014.

Focus on blogging and simplicity

We re-visited our values, and re-aligned our focus. We trust WordPress for what it is. A publishing platform for people to start a website to share their ideas and stories. In a market that is saturated with overly complicated themes with millions of options, Codestag works on refining the experience of it’s users, providing design decisions instead of options, without losing the platform’s flexibility. We focus on future-proof solid coding background, that plays well out of the box, and follows the best WordPress coding standards.

This does not mean that you will never see a portfolio theme from us again. Actually the one we are working on now, Higgs, offers a portfolio feature, but in a straight-forward, non intrusive way. Portfolio will be there if the user needs it, and it won’t if the user doesn’t. In short, the heart of all our themes from now on, will be WordPress, and not a theme options framework.

We changed our workflow tools

Daily Collaboration
How does a remote team stays synced on a daily basis? We use an awesome collaboration tool, Slack, for all our communication needs. And we couldn’t be happier about our choice.

Support Platform
An essential aspect of our team is of course customer support. And we were lucky enough to get introduced to Helpsout. Helpscout is an e-mail based support platform that really transformed our support workflow, with better organization, metrics, and customer satisfaction.

Although the user experiences the support conversation as simple email exchange, at our end we have a robust platform to keep track of ticket progress, statistics, and a bunch of awesome tools and integrations.

Wireframing & Prototyping
If you are a designer, you need to use Invision. No, really, you must. All our theme designs, before getting coded, are tested as hi-fidelity prototypes to ensure that the user experience is optimized and refined. We thoroughly test the UX flows and refine every little detail.

Codestag officially uses the Sketch app for all design purposes. Sketch is an application built for web/app design, and works great, providing all the necessary tools to get the job done, in a smooth workflow that beautifully integrates with invision for rapid prototyping.

We rebranded Codestag!

In this year, Codestag went through a major facelift. We got a great new logo by Graham Smith and redesigned our website. Our users also have a more consistent experience by creating a Codestag account, and have access to our support service and products purchased on codestag.com

We launched a theme outside of Themeforest

This was a bold and risky decision, but it truly showed us that if you are willing to risk the comfort of a marketplace and build a quality product, you will eventually be heard. We integrated Easy Digital Downloads plugin, and achieved an internal structure that allowed selling themes through our own site.

The result was launching Blink, our simplest and more robust theme so far, and the feedback has been more than encouraging. Does this mean that we are leaving Themeforest? No, at least this is not in our immediate plans. But we plan to experiment and iterate, based on the freedom and the marketing potential that selling outside a marketplace offers.

What’s in store for 2015?

Build. Refine. Grow. Expand. We are planning to expand to creating themes for WordPress.com when the submissions are open again. Also we are planning to continue creating themes for WordPress.org, with even more polished design and code, and pay special attention to mobile experience.

Our themes will not just be responsive, but mobile optimized. We will harness the power of A/B testing, user research, and content consumption optimization, to deliver themes where design and experience will be polished to an extend that will be hardly noticeable.

We have two themes in the making right now. Higgs, which is in the process of development and testing, and Alice, which is currently being designed. Stay tuned for more updates.

We’d like to thank our customers for the great support so far. It is really inspiring to see that doing what you love, and loving what you do has such a warm feedback by the community. We are a small team that takes what it does seriously. We will continue this way, with the same passion to motivate us. Thank you for your support. There are great things on the way.

Have an insanely creative year, and spend some time away from screen these holidays.



John Fraskos

WordPress designer and co-founder of Codestag.

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