User Testing the Better Widgets 0.1 Plugin

Let’s keep going with the work on widgets! I’ve tested the Better Widgets 0.1 pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party with the Twenty Eleven theme on WordPress 3.7.1 and there is some interesting stuff in the results.


  • No problem at all rearranging or deleting widgets
  • Had trouble with the drag-and-drop target area at first
  • Suggests adding a way to add new widgets directly from the Widgets page
  • Uses the wrong 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. area, completely misses the pre-expanded “Main SidebarSidebar A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme.
  • CustomizerCustomizer Tool built into WordPress core that hooks into most modern themes. You can use it to preview and modify many of your site’s appearance settings. is slow


No problem rearranging widgets:

No problem deleting widgets:

Points of Confusion

Unsure where to go when asked to add a bio to the sidebar:

Drag-and-drop misfires:

Completely misses the pre-expanded “main sidebar” widgets (longest clip at 4:11):

Other Insights

Wants to know how to add more widgets from the Widgets screen:

Reasons for picking search and calendar widgets:

Unrelated to Widgets

Slow customizer is slow, takes ~24s for this user to load it up:

If you’d like to see the full video, you can download it here: Better Widgets v0.1

(For Reference) Tasks Used in the Test

  • Add a bio to the bottom of the sidebar.
  • Look through the widgets and pick two that you like. Add both of them to the sidebar and say why you picked them.
  • Rearrange the widgets so the bio appears at the top of the sidebar.
  • Remove all of the widgets except the bio and one other widget you think is the most important to keep.
  • The test website is using the Twenty Eleven theme. It has a widget area called “Showcase Sidebar.” What do you think that’s for, and how would you go about figuring out how to set it up?

User’s Computer Info

  • Operating System: Windows NT (unknown) 6.2
  • Browser: Windows Chrome 30.0.1599.101
  • Display: 1366

My Observations & Suggestions

  • The drag-and-drop misses in this video are interesting, makes me wonder if having widget areas side-by-side is good or not—or perhaps arranging them more masonry style instead of in a grid would be better
  • Interesting that she didn’t connect “sidebar” and “widgets” right away, but getting into that label is tricky business and I’d like to watch that area with more users in order to spot trends
  • Love the suggestion to have an “Add New” button on the widgets page
  • Different sidebar areas for themes is tough, I think it’s pretty hard to tell what in the world the “Showcase Sidebar” is for if you’re not familiar with Twenty Eleven
  • It’d be great to focus on customizer performance speed

Next up: same test, except run it on WP 3.8 trunk. What specifics are you interested in finding out from tests like these?

#user-testing, #widgets