Learning about site builders (Site building study #4)

These are the results of a user research study investigating mental models related to building and customising a website. Results are split across five posts:

Background | Segments: Bloggers · Small Businesses · Site Builders | Conclusions

The research group sorted participants into three segments, based on their current understanding of how people use WordPress. These segments are based on a handful of data points and warrant further study to confirm the categories. For now, these segments allow researchers to group WordPress’ extensive userbase into behavioural categories and learn characteristics specific to each group.

For this study, we focussed on three segments: bloggers, small businesses, and site builders (people who build sites for others). Today we’re going to learn more about site builders.

Site builders are people who make sites for others. Site builders often start as bloggers or small businesses. Having taught themselves to build websites, they are now progressively leveraging their skills to earn additional income. They tend to work for friends, acquaintances, or people in their professional networks and often barter or don’t charge much for the websites they build.

Let’s learn more about site builders!

#gutenberg, #research

Learning about small businesses (Site building study #3)

These are the results of a user research study investigating mental models related to building and customising a website. Results are split across five posts:

Background | Segments: Bloggers · Small Businesses · Site Builders | Conclusions

The research group sorted participants into three segments, based on their current understanding of how people use WordPress. These segments are based on a handful of data points and warrant further study to confirm the categories. For now, these segments allow researchers to group WordPress’ extensive userbase into behavioural categories and learn characteristics specific to each group.

For this study, we focussed on three segments: bloggers, small businesses, and site builders (people who build sites for others). Let’s learn about small businesses next.

Small businesses are the most varied group since businesses range widely depending on their nature. This is a difficult group to generalise about and researchers observed a diverse range of experiences.

Let’s learn more about small businesses!

#gutenberg, #research

Learning about bloggers (Site building study #2)

These are the results of a user research study investigating mental models related to building and customising a website. Results are split across five posts:

Background | Segments: Bloggers · Small Businesses · Site Builders | Conclusions

The research group grouped participants into three segments, based on their current understanding of how people use WordPress. These segments are based on a handful of data points and warrant further study to confirm the categories. For now, these segments allow researchers to group WordPress’ extensive userbase into behavioural categories and learn characteristics specific to each group.

For this study, we focussed on three segments: bloggers, small businesses, and site builders (people who build sites for others). Let’s learn about bloggers first. (Hat-tip to @jarahsames who studied this segment!)

Bloggers wear many different hats: they are the writers, admins, and IT for their websites.

Learn more about bloggers

#gutenberg, #research

Background (Site building study #1)

These are the results of a user research study investigating mental models related to building and customising a website. Results are split across five posts:

Background | Segments: Bloggers · Small Businesses · Site Builders | Conclusions

Results have been compiled from the sitebuilding research conducted at the end of December, and a report is ready. Make a cup of tea, it’s a long one! 🍵

Huge thanks to @jarahsames, @alexislloyd, @bengrace, @benrearick, @bph, @cathibosco, @chrisvanpatten, @designsimply, @evawong, @johngough, @joshuawold, @karmatosed, @lilibet, @lonelyvegan, @mapk, @melchoyce, @mkaz, @msdesign21, @nao, @paaljoachim, @pento, @thedezzie, @tmmbecker, @tobiasziegler, @xarisgn, and Melissa Vander Wilt for helping to make this happen. Research like this takes a village, and it was fantastic to have so many people jumping in to lead sessions, take notes, share insights, and sift through all the data. Thank you for all your hard work! 🌟

If you have any questions about these results or would like to conduct your own research, please drop into the #research channel in Slack and say hello.

With that said, let’s dive into the full report! There’s a lot of information to digest, so this will be split into five sections (see discussion), to be shared here over this week and next.

Background information

#gutenberg, #research

Discussion: where do we publish and store research results?

The research group has a report ready to share as part of the sitebuilding research. Since it’s quite long, the group would like to choose the best place to publish it.

This report should be stored with other research results in the future, since these are likely to build upon and enhance one another. It’s best if these resources are easy to find and access. They should be something that everyone contributing to WordPress can refer back to in coming months and years.

This was discussed in Slack, but let’s open the conversation to more people.

Where should this type of content live?

  1. In a series of posts on make/design
  2. On a static page on make/design, announced with a post on make/design
  3. In a static Google document linked to make/design post
  4. Somewhere else?

This research is ready to publish, so please share your preference by leaving a comment on this post no later than Thursday, 31 January 2019. Thank you!

#gutenberg, #research

Gutenberg Phase 2 Friday Design Update #2

January is halfway done and Gutenberg issues are gaining traction and feedback from a variety of people. Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts, and opinions!

Widgets to blocks

There’s been several concerns about widgets from people in the slack feeds, so thought to address it here briefly. While Gutenberg is converting all core widgets to blocks, they won’t be going away completely quite yet. 😉 There is a “Classic Widget” block being built to support the widgets that haven’t yet converted to blocks. If you’re looking to get involved, please check out the GitHub project board.

In relation to this, the widgets screen in wp-admin will be changing over to blocks. There’s concern around this for good reason. But ultimately as everything becomes a block, this paradigm shift needs to be communicated in smaller steps to help all users make the transition.

Navigation block

The navigation block and the interface for creating navigation menus is being discussed with some innovative concepts. What if the “Pages” screen was where you built your nav keeping the nav block simple? Or should the nav block be where you create the entire menu? Share ideas in the ticket!

Tightening up

If neither the widgets blocks, nor nav blocks are your thing, there’s a whole list of Gutenberg related issues that need tightening up. As mentioned in the State of the Word, “tightening up” is a focus for Phase 2. There’s a lot that needs work! Come help.

Research work

Yep, research is still ongoing. Some themes are beginning to emerge as they work through the data. Help out in the #research channel in slack.

There’s also conversation around how to present the data, and where to store it; a site, a PDF, Google Slides?

Share your work

Many like to post their thoughts and explorations on their own blogs. Unfortunately this isn’t always highly visible. Well there’s a whole project board dedicated to research with a column specific to “explorations.” Give a shout out in either the #design or #research channels in slack to get your work added there. Every little bit helps inform decisions going forward.

#gutenberg-weekly, #phase-2

Gutenberg Phase 2 Friday Design Update

Happy New Year everyone! As mentioned in the Gutenberg Design Flow post earlier, this is Friday’s summary of the week’s work regarding Phase 2 design.

If this was a short distance race, everyone would bust out of the gate at full speed, but it’s a marathon here, so out of the gate, setting a comfortable pace is necessary.

Widgets to blocks

There’s a better understanding of how to move forward with widgets thanks to @melchoyce. Most are ready, but there are a few PRs that need some help to completion.

Progress Post
https://make.wordpress.org/core/2018/12/17/status-update-porting-widgets-to-blocks/

Github Widget Project Board
https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/projects/20

Navigation block

This is in early exploration mode right now, so if you’ve got some thoughts around this, please share! Please drop your ideas and designs in the relating issues themselves.

Explorations from WCUS
https://make.wordpress.org/design/2018/12/18/exploring-a-nav-block-at-wordcamp-us/

Github issue – block
https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/issues/1466

Github issue – wp-admin interface
https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/issues/13206

Research work

@tinkerbelly and @jarahsames have been leading the efforts here. More can be read in Sarah’s latest post, Sitebuilding research. The synthesis of this research will help influence future Gutenberg decisions. If you can lend a hand, the research synthesis needs some people power, so please volunteer in the #research channel on slack.

Get involved

This Friday’s post is meant to help surface the information. If you see any questions from people, or have any yourself, please share in the comments below. If you’ve got some ideas, or have been designing some thoughts around the Gutenberg projects listed in Matt’s 9 Projects for 2019 post, don’t hesitate to provide some links, or jump into the Github issues and PRs. Looking forward to everyone’s contributions!

#gutenberg-weekly, #phase-2

Sitebuilding research: what’s next?

Happy new year, everyone! In December, a team of intrepid designers, developers, and WordPress people banded together to learn more about WordPress’ end users. In total, the team chatted with seventeen different people over seven days. Huge thank-yous to everyone who joined in—you’re all 🌟s!

Now it’s time to sift through the data and pull out some insights. This will happen over the next two weeks. Here’s the current plan:

Timeline

Deliverables

  • Key takeways (no more than ten)
  • Recommendations (to inform product decisions)
  • A mental model of sitebuilding for each identified segment
  • A customer journey for each identified segment

These artefacts will be used to guide the product direction of Gutenberg Phase 2—and possibly beyond!

Want to get involved?

Many hands make for light work, and many brains make for more insights and less bias. You don’t need to be a designer, and no prior research experience is necessary. Pop into the #research channel in Slack, ping @tinkerbelly or @jarahsames, or comment here if you’d like to join in on any of the stages.

#gutenberg, #research, #site-building

Iterating on the Gutenberg design flow

As phase one has wrapped up it’s a great time to look at iterating how designers can contribute and get involved in the ongoing work for phase two and beyond. 

GitHub projects

The Gutenberg plugin itself is on GitHub and this is the cornerstone of the project. All designs being worked on will have a corresponding issue within GitHub. During phase one projects began to be used and this will continue. Here are the projects to follow for design:

Note: like widgets other specific boards may be created to focus on the 2019 projects mentioned here.

Research

Everything starts with research. There have been a lot of insights from usability testing and feedback during phase one. Phase two is starting with a dive into research and interviews are underway. For more details on this you can join #research in Slack and follow the #research tag on this site for posts.

Explorations

Once the areas to be designed are identified into tasks (listed in GitHub projects), then exploring happens. There are a few tools to use for sketches, mocks and prototypes:

  • InVision: A great place to collect ideas and sketches on a board.
  • Figma: This is a great tool to use to sketch and share.

If you are looking to find something to work on? You can follow the ’needs design’ label in GitHub for issues already discussed that need a designer, or any of the projects mentioned.

Feedback

Designs grow through feedback. Sharing early and sharing often is the mantra to follow when working together. There are a number of channels within Slack you can drop in to get feedback async:

  • #design is the home for designers in Slack, feedback can be asked at any point here.
  • #core-editor this isn’t just for developer feedback, this channel has editor focused designers ready to give you feedback.
  • #accessibility is your first port of call to get feedback on even the earliest sketch.

Before development starts any design should be made into an issue or attached to one that already exists in GitHub, this is where most of the feedback will happen. There are a number of useful labels to get even the earliest feedback on an issue:

Potential design flow

Whilst it will be up to each person, a flow using the tools available could be:

  • An issue is created in GitHub, added to a project. This sets the foundation of the problem with some basic information and updated over time. A label of ‘needs design’ is added.
  • Research is added to the issue and then once designs are being produced in Figma, those also are added to the issue. Commenting can happen both in Figma and on the issue. InVision may be used to collate research for example.
  • Once there is an agreed design ‘needs design’ is removed and ‘needs design feedback’ added. 
  • Iterations continue based on feedback until a point is reached where the design is ready to be developed. At this point ‘needs dev’ could be added and work begun.
  • During development those that helped with design will give feedback.
  • At all stages getting real feedback through usability testing will crucial.

Staying connected

There is a lot going on in quite a few places and following along isn’t always as easy as it could be. With the new phase of Gutenberg this is something to iterate on. There are a number of changes being made to ease this:

  • Weekly #design meeting updates in Slack. The current phase design lead will give a summary update during this meeting.
  • Weekly #design meeting feedback opportunity. There will be time within every meeting for specific feedback or to call attention to issues. Please add those as a comment on the meeting agenda.
  • Weekly #core-editor meetings will still continue, designers are welcome to join. Notes will also be taken going forward to catch up async.
  • Friday is summary day from the New Year! 
    • The current phase lead will post a design update on make/design.
    • Those who are working on specific areas such as research, projects or features and have reached a point to update or get feedback, are encouraged to do that on make/design.

Sharing ideas

In this post, existing planned ideas have been covered, what if you have a great idea for something? The same feedback channels mentioned of #design in Slack, #core-editor and the GitHub repo are great places. You can also add to the ‘Phase 2 Research’ board ‘explorations’ column. Creating a blog post and sharing in those channels is also a great way to share a vision. If it’s just an idea without a sketch you can also discuss in Slack or make an issue.

Collaboration across teams

Designers should never go alone. Collaborating together is important but collaborating across teams is how the best product is made. As the next phase approaches it would be great to hear people’s ideas for how more collaboration can happen. Please add them in the comments.

Get involved

As phase 2 begins, now is a great time to start getting involved. Expect to see posts and announcements calling for specific involvement outside the ways mentioned above. There are going to be opportunities for all different types of designers to contribute along the way.

It would be great to hear any ideas people have for other things to iterate on. All of these iterations came from feedback so keep that flowing! All of this information will also be added to the handbook to ensure it’s easy to discover.

How to participate in user research

With user interviews for the sitebuilding study kicking off soon, lots of preparation is underway. (As a reminder, you can view the research plan here.) Here’s an update on where things stand right now, and how you can help.

Sessions are being scheduled with approximately twenty users during between 12 December and 21 December. The interviews will be conducted remotely via Zoom. They will be an hour long and will follow this script (subject to change as we iterate on it).

Each session will be lead by a moderator, who’ll be responsible for guiding the interview and asking the questions. A notetaker will be responsible for taking notes and recording their impressions. There may also be some observers on the call, who’ll just be listening in. Once the interview is finished, the moderator, notetaker, and any observers will convene (either on Zoom or in Slack) for a brief debrief session to discuss insights and things learnt.

User research is an art, not a science, so it’s great to have lots of different people represented in these sessions and analysing the results. This means we can get more insights. If you’re new to user research and would like to participate, @jarahsames and I would like to help you!

First of all, we’ve put together some guides for each of the roles:

Feel free to leave comments if you’ve any questions on these documents, or ask in the #research channel in Slack!

On top of this, @jarahsames and I will be hosting a dry run of the interview script as well as answering all your burning questions so that you can see how everything will work on Tuesday, December 11 at 17:00 UTC. If you’re interesting in joining in with the research efforts next week, we’d love to see you there! If you can’t make it, you can leave any questions you may have here, or pop them in Slack #research. We’ll also record the session and post it here.

And as a reminder, you can sign up to register your interest in participating in these sessions by filling in this form, or pinging in the #research channel.

#gutenberg #research