WordPress Theme Install/Customizer — Usability Test 1

I did a usability test on theme installs and 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. headers/widgets using WordPress r27493 with a beginner.


  • The “Add New Theme” box works wonderfully
  • No trouble adding headerHeader The header of your site is typically the first thing people will experience. The masthead or header art located across the top of your page is part of the look and feel of your website. It can influence a visitor’s opinion about your content and you/ your organization’s brand. It may also look different on different screen sizes. images
  • Misses how to install a new theme at first
  • Difficulty randomizing header images
  • Reasons behind picking themes are fascinating 🙂

You can download the full video here: a8d3a9a3.mp4.


Installs a new theme after search fails and she finds the “Add New Theme” box (Length: 1:05)

No trouble adding header images (Length: 2:06)

Points of Confusion

When asked to “install a new theme” with little other direction, she looked at the installed themes first instead of installing a new one—this clip is where she figures out the mistake (Length: 0:24)

Difficulty randomizing header images (Length: 6:04)

Other Insights

Reasons behind picking themes (Length: 2:07)

Survey Responses

  1. Have you used WordPress before? If yes, would you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate, or advanced WordPress user?
    I’ve used WordPress once or twice before but I never really stuck with it. I’m a true beginner.
  2. What worked well for you?
    The left navigation pane is really helpful and everything is grouped together logically. Installing and activating themes was really easy. I liked being able to preview changes. Saving changes and publishing was easy as well.
  3. Did anything frustrate you?
    It took me a long time to figure out how to randomize the top image. After figuring out how to do it, I still didn’t understand how to remove an image from that rotation. Figuring out that process was somewhat frustrating, but I finally did it.

(For Reference) Tasks Used in the Test

  1. Sign in.
  2. Go to Appearance > Themes and figure out how to install and activate a new theme. Pick one that looks really good to you and tell us why you picked it before you install it.
  3. Install the Twenty Twelve theme and activate it.
  4. You will need to add a header image in the next step. If you don’t have one on your computer you can use, you can right-click on the following image to save it: https://wptestervids.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/img_2495.jpg
  5. Go to Appearance > Customize and add a header image from your computer.
  6. Add another header image from the media library.
  7. Figure out how to make header images rotate randomly.
  8. While still in Appearance > Customize, add a Search 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. to the top of the 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..

User’s Computer Info

  • Operating System: Windows 7 6.1
  • Browser: Windows Firefox 28.0
  • Display: 1366

Testing Notes

  • I wanted to test discoverability when it comes to theme installs, so I asked testers to “figure out how to install and activate a new theme”—but it might be better to ask for a theme by name or re-word that to make it a little more clear.
  • I didn’t realize that right-clicking a link in a task within the usertesting.com environment doesn’t give the option to save it, so the wording in task 4 needs to be adjusted.
  • I forgot to remove the search widget from the top of the sidebar after testing the tasks, so it was already there when she went to add it. Totally my fault. We have other usability testing on widgets though, so it’s not a big loss in this case. 🙂

My Suggestions

The following suggestions are based on this test only.

  • Consider persisting the search text if “Add New Theme” is clicked from a zero results search on the themes.php page
  • Add a text label for the header image randomize button
  • Add an option to remove header images from “Previously uploaded”

I plan to do one more test on theme installs and customizer headers/widgets to correct the things mentioned in the testing notes section above. If you have any suggestions about the tasks or if there’s something you’d like to see more of, let me know.

#customizer, #customizer-headers, #customizer-widgets, #theme-install, #usability-testing-2