Widgets, Aug 19 Chat Notes

We had our first meeting on Monday. If you were unable to attend, please check out the IRC logs.

Here’s a few key points from the chat:

  • RichardTape will do some data analysis on the 177 responses we received to our initial survey. (He’s finished: http://richardtape.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/results-from-widget-survey-2013/)
  • shaunandrews ran a user test with the simple task of adding a text widget to a sidebar: https://shaunandrews.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/themes-and-widgets-take-1.mp4 (widget stuff starts around 9:20)
  • Almost everyone agreed that drag-and-drag fails miserably when there are more than a 2-3 sidebars.
  • There’s a disconnect between the sidebars in wp-admin, and the way those sidebars are presented in a theme.
  • lonchbox breaks the concept of a widgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. down into peices: 1) Placement 2) Settings 3) User roles (maybe?)
  • Don’t forget about inactive widgets!

There was some general discussion about new UIUI UI is an acronym for User Interface - the layout of the page the user interacts with. Think ‘how are they doing that’ and less about what they are doing.’s for managing widgets:

  • Integration with the customizer for selecting and placing widgets. (melchoyce’s mockups: http://cl.ly/image/383v0l341J3w)
  • Media-like modal for browsing and sleeking widgets. (shaunandrews’ mockups: http://www.shaunandrews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Mockup-Widgets-Modal.png)
  • The Blogger model: http://s.hyhs.me/QtzH

Then, I mentioned a crazy idea.

“Sidebars” is a terrible name for the place that widgets live. “Widget Area” is a little better. But, what if we called it a “Content Area”. Then widgets (which is a pretty terrible name, too) could become “Content Blocks.” Sound familiar? The CEUX team is working on exactly that — blocks of content that can be dropped into a post or page. My crazy idea is that this same model could apply to widgets. Hell, maybe widgets become content blocks. A big advantage to this is that we have one less construct which users must learn. Instead of learning how to use content blocks AND widgets — you’d just learn how to use content blocks. I said it was crazy. I’d really love some input on this — what do you think?

Next Week

  • Review services/apps/sites which offer similar concepts as widgets. How do they do things, and what can we learn from them? If your interested in helping, this is a great non-technical way to do so! Find a “thing” to review, and post a comment below so we all know who’s doing what.
  • Run more user tests. What should we test? Any suggestions? I’m more than happy to run (and pay for) any tests we want to run — or feel free to setup your own tests (online, or in person!) and share the results.

Our next meeting is Monday Aug 26, 2013 at 20:00 UTC in #wordpress-ui. Tentative agenda includes: reviewing survey results, reviewing the services people have researched; discuss any new user tests; talk about prototypes that we can test against. I hope to see you there!

#core-plugins, #widgets