Screenshot requirements came up the other day on TRT Slack, and as usual I had to open up my big mouth and get into it with a few senior TRT members.
Here are the Requirements for the screenshot, submitted as part of the theme to WordPress:
- The screenshot should be a reasonable representation of what the theme can look like.
- The screenshot may optionally show supported plugins, settings and templates.
- The screenshot should not be a logo or mockup.
- The screenshot should be no bigger than 1200 x 900px.
The following screenshot was challenged as not meeting requirements:
The accusation was that it was a mockup, and not something the theme can generate. The theme website can be found here : https://oceanwp.org/. Now when you visit the theme site the landing page is almost identical to the screenshot supplied by the theme.
- The screenshot should be a reasonable representation of what the theme can look like – Well the theme site uses the theme and the landing page is very similar to the screenshot – Check
- The screenshot should not be a logo or mockup. – It can’t be considered a mockup because it is used as the landing page – Check
- The screenshot should be no bigger than 1200 x 900px. – Screenshot is 1200 x 900px so – Check
- The screenshot may optionally show supported plugins, settings and templates – Now the author of the theme responded that they developed the landing page and screenshot by using a page building plugin called Elementor available in the .org plugin repo. In fact the theme recommends installation of this plugin on initial activation – so one would assume it would be OK?
Wrong ! – turns out there is an un-written rule at TRT that you can’t use a page builder to set up a screenshot. What? But the requirement says plugins can be used for the screenshot if supported, which is the case here. A little puzzling I would say 🙁
Here are some of the arguments presented.
1. If I can’t easily build the screenshot it should not be allowed.
The author gave a simple step by step procedure to do that.
2. If I can use page building plugins I can build any screenshot I want, even your Canuck theme screen shot Kevin!
I found this an interesting but totally irrelevant argument. I could build any screenshot on a page in just the content area using HTML and CSS. And what does that have to do with any of the four requirements anyway? Sure my screenshot should not be copied, but that is just common sense, isn’t it? The fact is the screenshot was developed using the guidelines.
3. Screenshots would be developed that do not represent the theme, and it would mislead users.
Now that comment is just silly. If you want to mislead the user, do you really need a page builder plugin? The authors here are all very talented or they would not be submitting a theme in the first place.
Again, this screenshot was developed by the theme using Elementor. So it is not misleading anyone. If a user gets upset about the screenshot because they can’t build one, then the author needs to help them with that. If they don’t the author should get a deserved 1 * rating and a bad review. Did anyone not think that a user might want to build a similar screenshot for their site?
I requested that the requirement that stated using plugins should be rewritten to indicate that pagebuilder plugins can’t be used. In response I get that this screenshot was an edge case, and because it is an edge case, the requirements do not have to be changed. An Edge Case!!! Can you believe it! Look at the screenshot.
None of the arguments hold water in my opinion.
The TRT develops requirements and then chooses to ignore them, and on rare occasions, it might make sense. But this is definitely not one of those cases.
I asked another simple question and of course no answer. If a screenshot was developed using the Guttenberg Plugin would it be allowed? Guttenberg is the new WordPress.org flagship page builder plugin, that will ultimately be introduced to core as a new content editor. So effectively it is a page builder plugin as well. I know the answer will be yes, it can be used, because it is being developed at .org. Some will say well you know it’s not really a page builder plugin, or here is one I suspect will come out: that screenshot built by Guttenberg is not a edge case 🙂
This is a perfect opportunity to relax requirements and let the user decide. Or keep the requirements and interpret them as written, that would be a novel idea, follow the rules 🙂