Feature Plugin Chat on July 14

Hey everyone!

As I mentioned at this week’s dev chat, we’re going to have a feature plugin chat this coming Tuesday July 14 19:00 UTC.

If you have an idea that you’d like to propose as a feature plugin or if you have a feature plugin already in development, come to the chat and comment below with the following details:

  • A brief (one paragraph) overview of your feature plugin proposal.
  • Current status (e.g. idea, planning, early/late development, existing plugin, testing, stable, etc). If you’re just in the idea stages, list any existing plugins that are similar to your idea.
  • A list of those involved or already interested in your feature plugin (including you!).
  • A link to the plugin in the WordPress.org plugin directory and/or GitHub repository, if applicable
  • What you’d like help with (scoping, planning, wireframing, development, design, etc).

Please leave just one comment per feature plugin/idea so others can comment on the ones they’re interested in.

Current feature plugin leads: We want your feature plugins here too! Please post an update with the information above.

#chats, #core-plugins, #feature-plugins

Feature Plugin Chat on September 23

Last week we mentioned holding a feature plugin chat today, but that didn’t happen. Let’s have it next week on September 23 2014 20:00 UTC.

We’ve done this before, but just to recap…

If you have an idea for a new feature, this will be a great opportunity to bring it up and find others interested in helping out.

Please leave one comment per feature idea with the following information:

  • A brief (one paragraph) overview of your feature plugin proposal.
  • Current plugin status (idea stage, planning stage, under development, existing feature plugin, prior work, etc).
  • A list of those involved or already interested in your feature plugin (including you!)
  • What you’d like help with (scoping, planning, wireframing, development, design, etc).

This post and the accompanying chat are for posting ideas that you’d be interested in working on. It is not for posting every feature idea you have for WordPress.

Current feature plugin leads: Please post an update for your plugin here, along with the information above.

See you all at the chat!

#core-plugins, #feature-plugins

Feature Plugin Chat tomorrow

As mentioned at the dev chat last week, we’re having a feature plugin chat tomorrow, April 29, 2014 20:00 UTC in #wordpress-dev. That’s the same time, same place as the dev chat on a different day. (The dev chat will take place on Wednesday, like normal.)

Just like we did before, post your feature ideas here in one comment with the following information:

  • A brief (one paragraph) overview of your feature plugin proposal.
  • Current plugin status (idea stage, planning stage, under development, existing feature plugin, prior work, etc).
  • A list of those involved or already interested in your feature plugin (including you!)
  • What you’d like help with (scoping, planning, wireframing, development, design, etc).

Again, this post and the accompanying chat is for posting ideas that you’d be interested in working on. It is not for posting every feature idea you have for WordPress.

Current feature plugin leads: Please post an update for your plugin here, along with the information above.

We’ll go through current feature plugins at a brisk pace, then talk about the new ones that are forming.

See you tomorrow!

#chats, #core-plugins, #feature-plugins

Feature Plugin Chat on March 4

As mentioned at this week’s and last week’s meeting, we’re going to be holding a feature plugin chat on March 4 2014 21:00 UTC. If you have an idea for a new feature, this will be a great opportunity to bring it up and find others interested in helping out. In fact, just like we’ve done before, post your feature ideas here.

Please leave one comment per feature idea with the following information:

  • A brief (one paragraph) overview of your feature plugin proposal.
  • Current plugin status (idea stage, planning stage, under development, existing feature plugin, prior work, etc).
  • A list of those involved or already interested in your feature plugin (including you!)
  • What you’d like help with (scoping, planning, wireframing, development, design, etc).

This post and the accompanying chat is for posting ideas that you’d be interested in working on. It is not for posting every feature idea you have for WordPress.

Current feature plugin leads: Please post an update for your plugin here, along with the information above.

See you all at the chat!

#core-plugins

Features as Plugins: Register Your Interest

Three of the features in the upcoming WordPress 3.8 release were developed first as feature plugins:

  • MP6, the new visual style for the admin area
  • THX38, the new theme management experience
  • DASH, the refreshed dashboard screen

Feature plugins are regular plugins whose ultimate aim is to be put forward as new features for future versions of WordPress. This model allows for efficient, collaborative development over longer periods of time, and a certain amount of visibility among people who help develop for core. The status of existing feature plugins can be seen here.

This post is a call for people who are planning on working on feature plugins in the near future to make themselves known in the comments. People who would like to pro-actively help out should then comment on individual comment threads.

If you are a developer, designer, or curator who’d like to act as a project lead for (or at least take a primary role in) the development of a feature plugin, please leave a top-level comment on this thread with the following information:

  • A brief (one paragraph) overview of your feature plugin proposal.
  • Current plugin status (idea stage, planning stage, under development, existing feature plugin, prior work, etc).
  • Your role in the plugin (developer, designer, lead, etc).
  • What you’d like help with (scoping, planning, wireframing, development, design, etc).
  • A top secret magic code name for your plugin (optional).

Please note that this thread is not for putting forward ideas for things unless you are planning on taking an active and primary role in its development. This is an organisation thread, not an ideas thread.

Anyone who’d like to collaborate on any of the plugins listed in the comments should leave a reply to the corresponding comment indicating your interest and what you can help out with.

Bear in mind this is not a list of potential features for WordPress 3.9, or indeed any other particular future release. Feature plugins are not tied to any specific release and will only be considered for potential inclusion in core once they reach a certain level of completeness.

We’ll see how this list pans out over the next few days and go from there! It’s expected that we’ll organise some IRC meetings in due course.

#core-plugins, #feature-plugins

MP6 — 3.8 Proposal

The WordPress admin has not had a major visual overhaul since 2.7, and its age is starting to show. In a rapidly changing web environment where users are starting to expect good design, we need to make sure that our aesthetics match — better yet, exceed — their high expectations.

MP6 is a movement towards modernity. It is an exploration into the infinite possibilities that exist for improvement within our existing framework. It is a tenderly crafted visual update to the admin that we all know and love. MP6 is the future.

Screenshots

What problems are we trying to solve?

The current wp-admin has:

  • An outdated visual appearance.
  • Outdated technology.
  • Low contrast.
  • Suboptimal readability.

We’ve solved these problems with the following:

Modern aesthetics

  • Open Sans — a font as free as we are.
  • Cleaner styles — goodbye decoration, hello simplicity. Affordances still welcome.
  • Let it breathe — increased spacing between elements, which allow for better overall hierarchy and whitespace to guide the eye.

Improved contrast and readibility

  • Higher contrast dark default color scheme — great for eyes of all ages.
  • Lower contrast light default color scheme — helpful for those with dyslexia and sensitivity to light.
  • Refined typography — larger font sizes, crafted with better readability in mind.

Future-forward

Inherently HiDPI

  • Vector icons — beautiful and crisp at any resolution.
  • CSS effects instead of images — cleaner, faster, and more flexible.

Responsive

Why MP6?

Results

While we haven’t explicitly user tested this new skin, it’s been running on WordPress.com for months with minimal issues. The same old WordPress admin functionality is still there, just with a fresh coat of paint.

#3-8, #core-plugins, #feature-plugins, #mp6, #proposal

DASH – 3.8 proposal

Prerequisite: Must have latest version of MP6 installed and activated.
Plugin link: https://github.com/growthdesigner/wp-dash

Visual comparison

The existing dashboard (the page you see by default when you log into WordPress) looks like this:

It hasn’t been touched in years, leaving it feeling a tad bloated, and dated. Here’s what the dashboard looks like with our plugin enabled:

What’s changed?

We tackled 5 major areas, and made them each separate includes within our plugin (separate php, js, and css files).

  • We combined “WordPress Blog”, “Other WordPress News”, and “Plugins” to form the new simplified “WordPress News” plugin.
  • We merged “Recent Comments” into the new “Activity” widget, which now also shows you any scheduled posts and your most recently published posts.
  • We converted “QuickPress” into “Quick Drafts” putting the emphasis more on drafting ideas than publishing, and we merged in “Recent Drafts”.
  • We removed the “Number of columns” screen option. Instead the dashboard is now responsive, and shows the appropriate number of columns based on your screen resolution.
  • The Right Now widget was visually reduced.

Here are a few extras:

  • We removed incoming links (which doesn’t seem to really work anymore).
  • We replaced the “Dashboard” H2 title with a fun group of friendly welcome text and idioms.
  • We added a bunch more hooks for greater extensibility from any of the dashboard widgets.
  • There’s a fun little smiley if you delete all posts and comments

What problem is your feature plugin trying to solve?

While functional, WordPress’ dashboard page hasn’t kept up with the rest of WordPress. We mean to improve the experience of the first page of WordPress. Streamline it, clean it up looking at all the widgets, and make it responsive.

We’d also love to see future development in the new activity widget, where plugin developers can add more “activity stream” related content.

What other potential solutions did you explore?

If you work backwards through https://make.wordpress.org/ui/tag/dash/ you’ll get a pretty good idea. We met weekly in IRC, and brainstormed/iterated daily via our Skype channel.

Have you done user testing?

Nope, but if this get’s the “all clear”, we’re more than happy to do that.

#3-8, #core-plugins, #dashboard, #feature-plugins, #proposal

THX38 “Theme Experience” Overview

Re-imagine a theme experience that is beautiful, visually focused (able to display more/bigger screenshots), fast, and mobile-ready. Plugin url: https://wordpress.org/plugins/thx38/

Initially we were covering themes.php and install-theme.php. Time and dev resources constraints forced us to focus the last few weeks solely on getting themes.php fully ready.

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 5.18.19 PM

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 5.18.29 PM

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 5.18.44 PM

Problem Solving

Problems:

  • A very text and information heavy interface for something that is eminently visual.
  • Convoluted presentation of your current theme, your installed themes, and adding new ones.

First user test with current admin interface showed the amount of time between arriving at themes.php and understanding what was going on (which themes are installed, how to add new ones, etc) was quite big, going to the install themes screen took them ages. In contrast, tests ran with the THX plugin showed us the interface was grasped very fast, and people got to the install themes page in a matter of seconds.

Solutions:

  • Moved theme descriptions to a details overlay, and streamlined the presentation to its bare bones.
  • Removed tabbed interface and made adding new themes organic to the grid presentation.
  • Focused on perceived performance, made theme browsing and search faster, with a fully responsive design at all stages.
  • Added url triggers for opening specific themes, as well as arrow-keys navigation while browsing the detailed view.
  • Added basic support for multiple screenshots per theme, and bigger display.
  • Focus on the customizer as the primary action for your current theme.

The installing themes screen was left as a prototype for the future.

User Testing

  • https://make.wordpress.org/ui/2013/08/20/thx38-first-meeting-summary/
  • https://make.wordpress.org/ui/2013/09/05/update-on-thx38/
  • https://make.wordpress.org/ui/2013/10/23/thx38-0-7-1-user-testing/

Early user testing clearly showed understanding and interacting with the screen is not easy. One user eloquently said, “I was thinking I would have a screen with a bunch of themes to look at.” For install-themes, filters proved to be hard to use paired with the fact the words users think of to describe themes aren’t present in the theme keywords we offer.

#3-8, #core-plugins, #feature-plugins, #proposal, #themes, #thx38

Omnisearch / Global Admin Search, Final Pitch

Plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/omnisearch/
Diff: https://cloudup.com/cC6IbXxoHXN

Previous posts:
https://make.wordpress.org/core/2013/08/14/present-your-3-8-feature-idea-at-tomorrows-meeting/#comment-9948
https://make.wordpress.org/core/2013/08/30/omnisearch/
https://make.wordpress.org/core/2013/10/08/omnisearch-user-testing/

IRC chats in #wordpress-core-plugins:
https://irclogs.wordpress.org/chanlog.php?channel=wordpress-core-plugins&day=2013-08-30&sort=asc#m21304
https://irclogs.wordpress.org/chanlog.php?channel=wordpress-core-plugins&day=2013-09-12&sort=asc#m23506
https://irclogs.wordpress.org/chanlog.php?channel=wordpress-core-plugins&day=2013-09-19&sort=asc#m24911
https://irclogs.wordpress.org/chanlog.php?channel=wordpress-core-plugins&day=2013-09-26&sort=asc#m25942
https://irclogs.wordpress.org/chanlog.php?channel=wordpress-core-plugins&day=2013-10-10&sort=asc#m27386

We were a small, but scrappy group. It was mostly myself, @japh, and @lessbloat.

Omnisearch currently adds three ways to search.

  • A Dashboard Widget:
    Omnisearch Dashboard Widget
  • An admin page under the Dashboard:
    Omnisearch Admin Page
  • And as a search box on  the adminbar — when you’re on the admin side of the site:
    Omnisearch Admin Bar

All three turn up the same results page:

Omnisearch Results Page

And all is happy with the world.

We were trying to solve the proliferation of different search forms for different data structures in the admin.  When trying to find content, it’s inconvenient and difficult to always navigate to the right data structure and then search it — especially if you’re unsure if something was in a comment or a post (all too frequent in p2s)– and you just want to pull in all relevant results.

Other things we’d considered were potentially adding an Alfred-like pop-up modal where you could enter omnisearches, and see results from the menus on the page that happen to match — very much like WP Butler’s current functionality.  We opted not to add it in this pass, though, figuring better to keep a slimmer implementation.

Our user testing confirmed that this was a definite win.  In fact, the user even remarked that there should be a centralized search when we had them running through the initial steps where they were to search each data structure independently, before activating Omnisearch and seeing how that compared.

We’re eager to hear any feedback on code, methods, or even name.  I’ve had some people mention that they’d prefer it have a less ‘marketing’ name, and more of a generalized “Global Admin Search”.  I prefer Omnisearch for brevity, but would love to hear some discussion on the pros and cons of whether it would be better to use a more general name.

#3-8, #core-plugins, #feature-plugins, #omnisearch, #proposal

Preparing your feature for the 3.8 merge

Now that 3.7 RC has shipped – and the final release is coming soon – it’s time to talk a bit more about how merging to core will work for feature plugins. First, let’s talk about decisions.

Decisions

I’ve been asked a few times “who decides” what goes in core and variants of that question. There’s actually three decisions that need to get made. In order:

  1. Does the feature belong in core?
  2. Is the feature ready for core?
  3. Should the feature be in this release?

Core contributors and members of the community are strongly encouraged to help inform and guide each of these decisions. You may even want to offer some of your feedback in the form of answers to these questions. Each question is ultimately answered by a different group.

  1. Project leaders determine if a feature belongs in core.
  2. Contributing developers determine if a feature is ready for core.
  3. The release lead – for 3.8, @matt – determines if a feature belongs in a particular release.

We’re now at the point where these questions need to get answered. To do that, it’s time to present your feature plugins.

Present Your Feature

If you remember back when we first started the feature plugin process, each team had to present its feature idea and answer a few questions. We’re going to do that again, but with a bit more information. If your project thinks it’s ready for core – and specifically for 3.8 – your team lead should make a post to make/core with the following information:

  • A visual and written overview of your feature plugin, along with a link to your plugin.
  • What problem is your feature plugin trying to solve?
  • What brought you to this solution and what other potential solutions did you explore?
  • Have you done user testing of your feature plugin? If so, what were the results? What worked and what didn’t?

In your post, be sure to include links to previous posts and even specific comments that have helped form your decisions.

Be ready for feedback from across the WordPress community – especially UX and code quality  – and be ready to defend your decisions or change your mind if a better idea emerges. Everyone will be reviewing the make/core posts and feedback in their discussion threads to determine if the answers to the questions above are all “yes”. If so, the feature can land when the merge window opens.

#3-8, #core-plugins, #feature-plugins, #merge