WordPress Theme Install/Customizer — Usability Test 2

I did a 2nd 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 r27502 with an intermediate/advanced user.


  • Users love the theme install process. Well done!
  • No trouble installing a theme
  • 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
  • Difficulty randomizing headers
  • I’m fascinated about the reasons people give for picking themes. 🙂

You can download the full video here: b692a9a3.mp4.


No trouble installing a theme: “I love love love how easy you make the whole installation process. You guys have really streamlined that. It’s one of the things I really appreciate about WordPress.” (Length: 0:58)

No trouble adding header images (Length: 2:25)

No trouble adding or reordering widgets (Length: 1:30)

Points of Confusion

Difficulty randomizing headers, goes back to the Appearance > Header page to get it to work (Length: 1:57)

Other Insights

Reasons for picking a theme: “I’m looking for something that I can use that looks very customizable and has a lot of color and pictures.” Looks at Ridizain and Virtue. (Length: 3:12)

Survey Responses

  1. Do you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate, or advanced WordPress user?
    At one point I was an advanced intermediate but haven’t used it in a while so I would so I’m a relearning intermediate.
  2. What worked well for you?
    installing new themes, and uploading images was really nice
  3. Did anything frustrate you?
    there was a weird separation of the things you can do in the ‘customization’ section and out of it. Also figuring out what 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. is what is a bit weird.

(For Reference) Tasks Used in the Test

Introduction: You have just setup a brand new WordPress website. Your first priority is to make it look awesome.

  1. Sign in.
  2. Go to Appearance > Themes and install a new theme that isn’t already listed. Tell us why you picked it.
  3. Install the “Ever After” 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, open the following image in your browser and right-click on the image to save it: https://wptestervids.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/img_6655.jpg
  5. Go to Appearance > Customize and add a header image from your computer.
  6. Add another header image, this time from the media library.
  7. Make the header images rotate randomly.
  8. While still in Appearance > Customize, add a new text widget with a short paragraph 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: Macintosh Chrome 34.0.1847
  • Display: 1366

Testing Notes

  • The tester made a note that no direction was given about what kind of blog or website it is, which he would want to know for picking a theme. Fair point! That should be in the intro.
  • Darn! I messed up the widgets section again!! I picked a theme that had a nice header image area and that was also a child themeChild theme A Child Theme is a customized theme based upon a Parent Theme. It’s considered best practice to create a child theme if you want to modify the CSS of your theme. https://developer.wordpress.org/themes/advanced-topics/child-themes/. so I could see how installing a child theme went in the theme install process (it went very well!), but I failed to change my widget instruction from saying “sidebar” to saying “footer.” Sorry widgets!

My Observations

  • 2 out of 2 users so far have gone straight to the inline “Add a Theme” box and have not used the link next to the admin title. Well done on the 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. for that, it’s working very well for users.

My Suggestions

The following suggestions are based on this test only.

  • Add a text label for the header image randomize button

This is a great start for testing theme installs and customizer headers/widgets. Next up, I will test images/galleries and audio/video in the editor.

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