Make WordPress Design

Updates from November, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Helen Hou-Sandi 12:21 am on November 16, 2012 Permalink  

    Coming soon: Weekly updates 

    Part of the duties of a team rep for each area of contributors is to be responsible for a weekly update on the group. At this moment, there is not an established UI team rep, but as a core development team representative, I’m happy to step in until new elections are done sometime in the near-ish future.

    Part of our UI group discussion at the Community Summit was about how we can make these weekly updates both informational and effective, especially when it comes to attracting and retaining contributors. Here’s what we’re thinking:

    • A breakdown of what we did this week, such as discussions held (with links to IRC as applicable), patches uploaded/worked on, and what’s changed in core in a more prose-y manner.
    • Links to ideas from the community at large, which would likely be blog posts on other sites, including your own. Discussion would be encouraged over on those posts rather than here – the creator should be able to really take ownership and pride in their idea and be centrally involved in the discussion. The idea is to both expose some of the great ideas that are happening and open up a platform for idea generation that isn’t “from the top” or carrying the official weight that gets associated with a post on the Make P2s, which are largely status-driven rather than hypothetical.
    • Weekly IRC chat summary with anything not covered above.
    • What needs to get done this week, including any assignments that have been made and ones that need volunteers. We’re thinking this will be a great step toward exposing more ways to get involved in case you’re still figuring things out.

    Thoughts? Love it, hate it?

    • karmatosed 10:11 am on November 16, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I really like this idea be great to keep up with things. The last point will help greatly in finding ways in for me and others also so that’s really cool. Not everyone can every time get to the IRC meeting so it’s a great way to keep up to date and involved.

    • McGarityDotMe 11:59 am on November 16, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      All of this helps me out, as I’m trying to get my feet wet and understand more about sub-groups like this I’m interested in participating with. The IRC chats have been where I’ve started, but that’s often like jumping into the deep end of a pool after a swim lesson. 🙂 I especially like the last bullet point, as it’s not immediately clear to this n00b what’s in flight, what’s about to start, etc.

    • lessbloat 12:19 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Yep. +1 to all of it. 🙂

    • Jane Wells 1:56 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I was going to post this proposal to the team reps blog, and will, but since you posted this, I’ll pre-empt myself and post my thoughts here as well.

      I’ve been thinking more about this since our team reps discussion at the summit, and I’m still thinking we should re-jigger the UI group. When we talk about core UI, it really seems like that discussion should be happening as a part of the core project, rather than sidelined as a separate group. When I started the UI group, it was because we weren’t a project that really had design contributors yet, and I wanted to change that, but it would have been disruptive to try to get that started on wpdevel (as it was called then). Now that it’s make/core, and now that there are a number of designers (members of this group) participating actively in core, I think it’s time for a change to recognize that core UI is not a separate project, it is an integral part of core.

      At the same time, there are design needs across the WordPress project, like for events, documentation, site improvements, etc. Just as developing a system of team reps was intended to put other contributions on a level with core, I believe it’s time to rethink the UI group altogether.

      What I’d like to see is the stuff going on as “the UI group” currently to be treated as a regular core component (with component owner, if that’s still the plan post-summit) rather than an entirely separate group. I’m thinking the same thing about Accessibility. If something isn’t a separate, sovereign group that gets to make decisions (in this case, UI decisions still are ultimately made by the core team/release leads, not by a standalone UI group), then it should be an active part of the main group. In other words, I think it’s time for UI contributors to level up to the main core team. Updates about what is happening with core UI would be part of the regular core team updates.

      Then, we’d create a Design Corps of all the designers (graphic, interaction, web, print, you name it) that would be contributing to the project as a whole, rather than just core, and to all design needs, not just UI. Each of the contributor groups would have its own embedded contributing designers (like the core ui contributors), while the design corp *group* would be a place to share resources, discuss design problems across teams, and for team reps to post requests for design assistance when needed. This would solve several problems (other groups don’t have design resources, and they see the UI group as limited to CSS or usability).

      I will admit that this is basically a ripoff of how Automattic handles design (just as our new contributor group blogs and team reps are a ripoff of Automattic’s team updates system). The Automattic design group system has been in play for three and a half years now, and I think it works really well. It allows designers to be integral members of project teams, while also being part of a broader design group.

      Anyway, I’ll be proposing this to the team reps for consideration, but would like you guys to be thinking about it, too. @lessbloat and @chexee, as UI Group members who have experienced the Automattic model first-hand may be the best able to comment on whether it is a good model.

      • Helen Hou-Sandi 2:40 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        +100000000000 to the overall direction of this group within the project as a whole. Siobhan’s post about handbooks earlier is in a similar vein – UI isn’t a separate handbook, but a component of each contributing area’s handbook. I also think it would be really helpful to promote areas beyond the core web application for folks to actively contribute to – it’s definitely different than ideas for, say, a website. I see plugin developers especially liking having a way to join forces with UI/UX-minded types 🙂

        P.S. Hey everybody, do get involved in the handbooks if you’re able and willing!

        • Siobhan 6:47 pm on November 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Yes! Handbooks are cool and awesome and people should get involved!

          Also, I think a design corps group is an excellent idea. I have been thinking that we’ll need design people to help out with making the handbooks look beautiful and I had no idea where to look. This would solve the problem for me 😀

      • lessbloat 5:17 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Love it. I think that’s a great idea.

      • Mel Choyce 8:06 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        This sounds like a great way to create more opportunities for designers to get involved. Awesome idea!

      • studionashvegas 11:13 pm on November 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Multidisciplinary groups like what you’re suggesting are very common in the agency setting, and (from what I’ve experienced) seem to work very well, as all of the parts know what’s going on (which leads to a more cohesive experience).


      • karmatosed 11:53 pm on November 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Sounds like a great idea and gives lots of scope for getting involved which is really cool.

      • Amy Hendrix (sabreuse) 2:26 pm on November 18, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Yay! Destroy the silos!

      • Chelsea Otakan 10:12 pm on November 18, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The Design Corps within Automattic work pretty well, IMO. We are a tight group and do our best to communicate well with each other.

        I really like the concept of spreading out the UI group to include design across the WP community. A lot of designers want to pitch in, but their skills might not be the best fit for core, but there’s currently no formal way to pitch in anywhere else.

        In short: Jane said all the things already 🙂 Sounds great to me! Weekly check in post for each group would be helpful.

      • Sheri Bigelow 4:39 pm on November 27, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        +1 I like the proposal. Seems to me developers would be more likely to reach out to a multifaceted design group vs. the current setup which is pretty intensely focused on Core UI.

    • acsearles 4:35 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ve sat on the sidelines for a long time, wanting to get more involved but not knowing where to get my feet wet. I’ve been following along, reading what I can and trying to stay up-to-date on the happenings of this group. So, I think this could help more people have an easier entry point into contributing. So I can continue to keep watching and when I see some low hanging fruit I’ll be able to pick a few things off. Eventually, as I get more of a grasp about what’s going on, I’ll be able to contribute in a more substantial way.

      Jane, I also really like the idea of designers becoming apart of other groups that are working on other projects. I know that in my line of work I do best when working on a team of people with different skill sets, then coming back to the group of designers to share ideas and critique.

      Sounds like so many good things came out of the summit. I’ll be excited to get started. And hopefully we can see everyone in Birmingham at our next WordCamp. Which reminds me, @saracannon, we need to get that started really really soon.


    • RDall 5:44 pm on November 16, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I really like where this is going… I also agree with what Jane said as well… The UI group should be more then just the core dev… As I have struggled to find a place that I can contribute too that both use my strengths and fits WordPress needs as well…

  • Helen Hou-Sandi 9:29 pm on August 15, 2012 Permalink

    Meeting summary for 8/14 

    Note: meeting on 8/7 did not really happen, as many were traveling or otherwise out of commission post-WCSF.

    Meeting was largely focused on status check of various items and really bearing down on assignments and breaking down tasks into what can be realistically accomplished within a given time period (the next week) so we can regularly check in. Setting the goal is not the maximum that can be achieved – only the minimum. Things finished early or with aplomb are highly encouraged 🙂

    Reminder: devs should ideally be focused on one large item at any given moment. Working on your own pet projects and roaming around is always fine, but would prefer to stay away from overcommitment, especially for point people. This includes me 🙂

    • Kurt Payne 6:51 am on August 16, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      @helenyhou I can help with #21391!

      • Helen Hou-Sandi 1:09 pm on August 16, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        YAY! I will hit you up soon, then. I’ve also got blobaugh, maybe jeremyfelt, maybe tw2113, and possibly tomauger (although I think he is on the ImageMagick stuff as well; trying to avoid doubling up).

    • Shane Pearlman 11:43 pm on August 16, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks Helen, stoked to participate in brainstorming. Will work on the document.

      Things that we often debate that would be fantastic to get guidance:

      • When do you combine content into a single meta panel in a post type vs create a new meta panel?
      • When do you create a new submenu vs combine into a submenu
      • What is the proper ux for condensing long settings / form content (tabs?)
      • Thoughts on advance form permutations > thinks like chosen and select 2 which are wonderful aids, but aren’t standardized
      • Inline documentation styles

      • Helen Hou-Sandi 12:38 am on August 17, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        To be honest, I don’t think it is possible to provide be-all-end-all documentation on the first four items. The documentation would amount to something like “do what feels right and makes sense for your situation” – we can’t possibly expect software-specific guidelines to actually teach what usability means and what creating usable interfaces entails. That’s the issue that I sense will be run into in the end: we can have guidelines for the WordPress community, and we can create awareness via guidelines, but they are not a proper medium for a crash course in human-computer interaction. However, I’d love to be proven wrong, so please do work on the document, and perhaps try to find a time to have an actual discussion beyond notes on said document.

        Inline documentation styles sounds like something that could be looked at, though, and current core usages documented and ideas proposed for extension cases those don’t cover. What we really need is to get bodies on http://dotorgstyleguide.wordpress.com/ (or move it somewhere we can put more people on) and work on items that fall under the current style guide umbrella directly.

  • Helen Hou-Sandi 10:30 pm on July 3, 2012 Permalink

    Discuss: Low hanging fruit, aiming for 3.5 

    What can we identify as low hanging fruit from the user tests run thus far or other experiences? What existing features can we quickly iterate on and make better?

    Let’s put one piece of fruit per comment, and then discuss each (or add your +1) in replies to that comment. Be as specific as possible – perhaps mention the item, what makes it not quite right, what can be better, and what we can do about it.

    • JarretC 10:40 pm on July 3, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Add Media Icon – Personally I think this should be a button with ‘Add Media’ as the value or something similar but leave it in the same area.

    • Kevin Miller 10:47 pm on July 3, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Definitive Admin UI Style Guide. We have this https://codex.wordpress.org/User:TECannon/UI_Pattern_and_Style_Guide, however it would be a huge help to developers to know how meta boxes/widget forms/etc should be styled and laid out. Knowing what tools and styles are in our toolbox would make things a lot easier to figure out.

    • Mel Choyce 11:39 pm on July 3, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      One problem identified in lessbloat’s user tests was the color picker. All three users had problems figuring out how to use it.

      The current color picker (farbtastic) has an outer color ring that lets you pick hue and an inner color block that lets you control value. However, changing the outer ring alone doesn’t change the inside block, so even if you’ve changed your hue from yellow to blue, the selected color remains yellow. Users were changing the outer ring, but didn’t notice that they needed to change the inside block to get a new color.

      One solution could be to use a different color picker. saracannon put together a list of different color pickers: http://sararcannon.dropmark.com/40150. Out of these, a few of us liked jQuery miniColors (http://sararcannon.dropmark.com/40150/388182). It is definitely easier to use, and when you change the hue, it also changes the selected color.

      Overall suggestion: Swap Farbtastic for jQuery miniColors.

      • lessbloat 2:03 pm on July 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply


        I was looking for a fun little project to work on over the weekend (an excuse to dig around in core). Should we decide to go this route, I put together a quick patch to replace farbtastic with MiniColors:


        I’ve not done any testing on it yet though.

        • Marty Thornley 9:42 pm on July 11, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          +1 for mini colors. Just added it as the only workable color picker I could find for a number of reasons. More straight forward interface and SUPER easy to add to any input.

      • helenyhou 11:35 pm on July 6, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        A related thing to hit while we’re at it: making them consistent across various uses. #19616

    • Brent Logan 6:40 am on July 4, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is an “other experiences” item. I would love to have the horizontal menu offset to the right a bit so it is not directly above the left-side vertical menu. When I aim for the Dashboard item and overshoot, going over the WordPress logo or the blog name, its menu drops down, covering where I really wanted to be. I have to retreat so the dropdown menu will hide before I can try again.

      • lessbloat 5:46 pm on July 7, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks Brent. One of the users we tested reported this on the other side of the toolbar (with the user menu) as well. I’m not certain that we’d want to move those items out from the side though. Anyone have any other thoughts on how to combat this effect?

    • Elio 1:19 pm on July 4, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The link to go to the site, maybe changing the label will do.
      The Add Media button could look more like a, well, button.

    • lessbloat 3:42 pm on July 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Figure out somewhere that we can add a visible link (not hidden under a dropdown) from wp-admin to view their site. IMO, this should be visible from any page of the admin.

    • lessbloat 3:43 pm on July 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Make “Insert into post” more noticeable – perhaps just add a class of “button-primary”

    • lessbloat 3:43 pm on July 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Is there anything we can do to give a better indication that the “Preview” button opens in a new tab?

    • lessbloat 3:43 pm on July 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Add button styling to “Customize” link on the themes page (Make it a bit more prominent – a la WP.com)

    • lessbloat 3:44 pm on July 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Make sure we add customizer link prominently in the welcome screen.

      • helenyhou 7:22 pm on July 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Also, perhaps as an item in the Appearance menu, maybe even as the top item? I don’t see changing the theme as the first task that comes to mind when managing the appearance of your site.

    • lessbloat 3:44 pm on July 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Could we take a stab at making the drop downs in the toolbar look more like drop downs?

    • lessbloat 3:44 pm on July 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thoughts on changing “+ New” to either “Add New” or “+ Add New”? Any other ideas on how to make this drop down stand out (without being overbearing)?

    • lessbloat 3:45 pm on July 5, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The blog drop down menu changes depending on whether you’re on the admin, or on your site. Could we try and rethink this behavior to keep it consistent?

    • saltcod 1:12 pm on July 6, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ve always had an issue with Settings > Privacy.

      I think it might be best housed somewhere else, or at least renamed. I was thinking last week that the bottom of the Customizer panel might be a good place for it—as it is only two radio options.

      If we’re not open to moving it, then I’d love to see it renamed “Privacy” -> “Site Visibility”


      • helenyhou 6:31 pm on July 10, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It’s important to note that settings can be added to the screen by plugins, so it’s not necessarily just two radio options. “Site Visibility” intrigues me, though.

    • saltcod 1:25 pm on July 6, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is extremely minor, I recognize, but I’ve found that there isn’t enough differentiation of sections in certain areas. Take the About and Writing Settings as two examples. Adding a little top padding and a border-top makes these pages much more readable for me—and defines the sections within much more clearly.


    • helenyhou 2:28 pm on July 11, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      There are a few tickets related to a consistency sweep for link/button text and colors in 3.5. Putting them here so we can reduce the chances of forgetting.

      #15956: Remove user link should be red
      #20426: Make Delete link red (media)

    • saltcod 11:10 am on July 20, 2012 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m not sure if this fruit is low-hanging, but I think the way menus are created could really use some love. I watched my wife change a menu last night and it wasn’t pretty. She already had a top nav menu (pages that she’d created got added to it automatically) and she wanted to reorder these pages. It went something like this:

      1. She went to Appearance => Menus and found that there was no menu to configure. But she already had a top menu! So this really didn’t make sense to her. http://cl.ly/image/3o1L0N2V2i1q

      2. I explained how it worked, and that she first needed to create a new menu. She added a “Top Menu”.

      3. She adds her pages to the newly created Top Menu, but of course they don’t show up in the front end. http://cl.ly/image/3V1J3J2Q0E1J

      4. I tell her to set the Top Menu as the Primary Menu and then we’re good to go.

      She was expecting to go in and re-order the items she already had in her top menu. I know that this really isn’t low-hanging at all, but I wonder if there’s a way to better convey the logic of what’s going on here: that WordPress, by default, adds existing pages to the top menu until you officially create a Top Menu and manually add and reorder pages.

      One last thing: she had no idea what “Automattically add new top-level pages” did. And neither did I =) http://cl.ly/image/2X1r1H0t1f1H

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