AH-O₂ Update, the first

Hey 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. team!

@samuelsidler thought it would be good for me to post over here for the AH-O2 project. All the previous AH-O2 posts are over on make/docs, and I don’t want to try to recreate the entire history here, but I’ll try to either cross-post or post what would be relevant from a UI perspective over here.

What is AH-O2?

AH-O2 is the project to refactor/reinvent/revitalize admin help. The main plugin repository is here: https://github.com/jazzsequence/WordPress-Admin-Help and is updated weekly on WordPress.org here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/ah-o2/.

What it does

The AH-O2 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 WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party does 2 things:

1. It transforms the help tab into a help overview that appears at the top of the page.
2. It enables tooltips that appear when hovering over actionable elements on the page (buttons, links, headings, etc)

Both things are controlled by user metaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. settings from the user profile page.

Where we’re at

The help overviews have been mostly implemented, however whether the content stays the way it is now (pulling from the existing help content) or changes dramatically to fill the new space depends on whether we can get people to help write and shape the docs. @mdbitz has been responsible for most of that work and is currently working on making the overviews more responsive. Currently the help overviews will pull from the existing help content by default but can be overridden by the plugin (documentation here: https://github.com/jazzsequence/WordPress-Admin-Help/wiki/Help-Overview)

The overviews and help/screen options links have been based on some of @melchoyce‘s mockups, but we haven’t made any significant changes to what the screen options stuff does. (@melchoyce if/when you want to start looking at that again, let me know — I’d love to help)

We’ve built an APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways. for adding tooltip handles and tooltip content. Currently only a few specific areas have had the tooltips enabled (Add New button on the Plugins page, All/Published/Drafts links on the Posts page) and we haven’t done any real styling to those yet.

What we’re trying to accomplish

We did user testing early on in the cycle just to try to identify if, in fact, there was an issue. We asked users, specifically people who have not used WordPress, to complete a series of normal WordPress-y tasks like writing a blog post, changing the theme, adding 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. widgets, etc, to identify what happens when they run into problems — where they look for help. Uniformly, none of them found the help tab whether they had issues or not. We tried, briefly, changing the color of the help tab and moving the help to the admin bar and tested that. The admin bar help went completely ignored and, while no one clicked on the colored help tab, a few users at least seemed to indicate that they knew it was there if they needed it.

Our approach, therefore, has been to put help in front of people so it’s not hidden. Ideally, by default, on new installations, both tooltips and help overviews will be enabled by default. For existing installations, tooltips will be enabled but overviews will be deactivated.

When we meet

We’ve been meeting on Mondays at 17:30UTC, but we are looking to change our meeting time starting next week to next Monday 18:30UTC in #wordpress-sfd. Anyone/everyone is welcome to come and contribute!