It’s not uncommon for both existing and potential contributors to feel like they don’t know what to work on. Let’s try listing a few UI/UX items that have come up on wishlists in this post, both as a temporal call for interested parties and to reference later. If you’re interested or have another frequently-requested item in mind, sound off in the comments or join us in the #design channel in the Make WordPress Slack.
When changing UX, it’s important to be running user tests and surveys. These can be done lo-fi, such as with index cards or a questionnaire, or as high fidelity as using a functioning plugin and a user testing service. It’s also important to assume that it will take multiple iterations to get there and to avoid becoming too attached to a single approach.
When running user tests for post formats during the 3.6 release cycle, one of the most striking observations was that a majority of users had a hard time locating the Publish button at all. Because it’s typically in the top right, it’s possible it’s not on the screen, and is very disconnected from the general content workflow of writing and then publishing. The most common idea is to put the buttons in the bottom bar of the editor, since it pins and makes sense within a writing flow. There are, as always, other considerations to make, such as post types without an editor or various post statuses (another problem in the current box – you can’t actually have a private draft, because it’s the same field in the database). This project would likely involve multiple approaches, storyboards, mock ups, and lots of user testing through all stages.
Comment Management Overhaul
A lot of strides have been and are being made in the Comment API behind the scenes, but we still have a generally dated comment moderation experience, from the list to the edit screen to the moderation screen shown when following a link from notification emails. This is a good project for a team to brainstorm on before attacking: What does a good comment management experience need? How do we accomplish that within WordPress?
There are also some smaller tasks that could be tackled, such as UI improvements. For instance, right now comments are presented with an interface that is very similar to post editing and without much context. What if comments looked and felt like comments while editing (showing an avatar, a better general layout, etc.)? What kind of contextual information would be helpful to show?
Small screen flow
The admin adapts fairly well to small screens. There are some places where what’s critical or important on a given screen is overwhelmed by other items. Some particular offenders are the theme/plugin/media filters, filtering and navigation on content lists, and the additional buttons that often appear next to the “Add Media” button above the editor. The content in those areas stacks up and pushes down the primary content below, sometimes completely off the initial screen. We want UI to direct user focus to what they want or need to be doing, and these particular visual components are major offenders against that.