I’d like to propose the idea of an official “WordPress UI Advisory Group”.
As you may have already guessed, I’m a big fan of data informed design. You’ll notice that I didn’t say “data driven” design. There is a difference between being data informed and being data driven. If you’re data driven, you are being lazy by allowing the data to make decisions for you (bad). If you are data informed, you are using the data to help you validate your hypotheses and make informed decisions (good).
Let’s say your gut says you should move a signup button from the right side of the page to the left. In testing the button on the left, the biggest thing you should be looking for is to ensure that having the button on the left doesn’t completely tank signups. Even if the data tells you that having the button on the right is slightly better, you should trust your gut.
Summing it up
Use your existing knowledge to make a hypothesis. Use user testing as a safety check. As long as your change doesn’t sink the ship, trust your gut. Use data to help you make informed decisions, but don’t let data bully you around.
How does this “Advisory group” fit in?
Core WP provides a unique challenge, in that there isn’t a super easy way to gather usage metrics. We can’t just slap KissMetrics or Google Analytics into core to see how users interact with the software (and for good reason). We’ve got to be a bit more creative.
I’ve been trying to think of a few ways that we could get feedback from users throughout the design process. I’d like to start with a simple email list.
Why would people sign up
I’d like for this email list to be a venue for people to contribute (thus shaping the direction of WordPress) without having to commit to spending any specific amount of time. They’ll simply:
- Add their email to the list
- Receive emails periodically with either 1) short 1-3 question polls, 2) simple click tests, or 3) requests for feedback about a certain design
- Participate when they have time, and unsubscribe if they lose interest (or get too busy)
Where would we promote it?
Wherever we can get away with promoting it. But to start, we’d just add the subscribe field to the top of this blog (keeping it simple to start things off).
Where will the list live?
I’d likely just set the list up on Campaign Monitor (unless I hear objections to that idea).