Design Meeting Notes for 12 June 2019

These are the weekly notes for the design meeting that happens on Wednesday’s. You can read the full transcript on our Slack channel and find the meeting’s agenda here.


Meeting was lead by @boemedia

There will not be a Triage or Design meeting next week (17-19 June) due to most members traveling to WordCamp Europe in Berlin.

There may be some #design channel activity on Thursday 20 June during Contributor Day at #WCEU.

Triage will resume on Monday 24 June after #WCEU.


@mapk cannot attend our #design meeting due to a schedule conflict. Gutenberg updates will resume after #WCEU.

Open Floor

We moved to a ticket review, which @boemedia will comment

@hedgefield reported that the 13xp body text used by WordPress is becoming too small for accessibility reasons.  As resolutions and monitors are increasing, most of the web has embraced 16px as the default standard for text. He would like to explore further, perhaps during #WCEU Contributor Day (aka creating a plugin instead of fiddling with the inspector) so we can see where the bottlenecks are.)

For example some columns in the post overview would be fine with smaller text for the less important properties to save space.

@boemedia asked if someone would be available to develop such plugin and @clorith was mentioned. He collaborated on Site Health with @hedgefield.

@azaozz cited the “design experiments” new plugin that could help out.

@boemedia suggested to open a ticket and if it is not discussed during #WCEU, perhaps could be brought to the table at a later #design meeting.

Next ticket that was introduced by @pbiron, will be added to the call for design to be explored during #triage at a later meeting.

@azaozz brought the attention to another ticket that deals with “inclusive design” around user’s name settings. This is a very culturally diverse topic and there is a link to a really good article on about it. I’ve tentatively set it for WP 5.3, would be great if we can do something for the User Profile screen
Although the topic is an interesting one, we recommended he gather more information as to what are the user needs in reference to name fields and perhaps a discussion with #polyglots is a good start. There is a link from that discusses the issue


Design Meeting Notes for 5 June 2019

These are the weekly notes for the design meeting that happens on Wednesday’s. You can read the full transcript on our Slack channel and find the meeting’s agenda here.


Gutenberg phase two

@kjellr let us know that The ability to Group and Ungroup selected blocks was merged in today. Also, temporary “Snackbar” notices have been introduced.

A reminder that the experimental Gutenberg widgets page is live and in the plugin, feel free to leave feedback or follow along.

@mapk would like some more thoughts on category labelling and grouping for blocks.  

And finally: @joen’s “clickthrough” PR to help improve nested block interaction is sorting out some technical details, and will land soon.

For further reading on these points, check out Friday’s update.

@karmatosed reminded us of an additional plan to run a usability testing table for Gutenberg at WCEU, as planned at the WCUS table last year.

Block directory

@melchoyce mentioned there are lots of chatter going on regarding block directory and the comments are helping updating designs in Figma. A new post on this will be up at the end of the week, in the meantime, keep commenting on GitHub.

On the same topic, @marybaum volunteered as a copywriting organizer to audit all the new strings. The audit will be helpful when handling the temp strings to dev, as G 5.2.2. is expected to launch by June 25 or 26. And testing of the new strings should start by early July.


WCEU contribution day tasks

@karmatosed came up with plan based on feedback for the design table at #WCEU.


  • Welcome and guide to everything you need to know to contribute to design: quick under 30 mins – @karmatosed
  • Split into groups!
  • Gutenberg design group – @mapk
  • Figma library organizing group – @tinkerbelly
  • Possibly a testing group for block directory – by itself or done at the same time as triage facilitated by @karmatosed
  • Triage group: this will be done through Slack to give others an opportunity to join in/be visible – @karmatosed

Late afternoon

  • Get back together and have a chance to talk about what was done.
  • Wrap up.

Participants are free to sit in any group and change in between if they want to learn about something else.

Open floor

Experimental plugin

@kjellr developed a plugin that will allow us to experiment with designs. Figma is great for making static comps and simple prototypes. Trac is great for getting polished code published. But as a design team, we don’t have a great place for work that lies in between those two poles. This plugin + repo is a place to try out half-baked ideas in the context of WP-Admin

It works as a plugin – download & Install it – and can be used to:

  1. Try experiments. Download & install the plugin on a test site to give existing experiments a try. They can be activated on the settings page (`General > Design Experiments`). Each experiment includes a link to a GitHub page for discussion and feedback.
  2. Build and submit your own experiments. There are instructions in the repository for this.
  3. Share ideas. Submit mockups or written ideas, and maybe someone will run with it and build out a prototype.

The use of italics

As designers, we are exploring how to build a better text hierarchy for WP-Admin and Gutenberg.

Today we discussed italics and @kellerj mentioned a ticket with examples as to why Avoiding italic text is better for accessibility and readability and there are also talks about changing the use of italics in Gutenberg.

Our next steps are to define when the use of italics is appropriate – @melchoyce and to get a definite consensus on the text treatment for help text underneath form fields

Figma Library Organization

@drw158 gave an update on the library organization in Figma and they are almost done with all of the base UI components in WordPress/components.

Feedback and evaluation would be great (accuracy, consistent naming, constraints testing, etc). Next documentation will be added and deprecate the existing libs and publish new ones. @karmatosed mentioned that deprecated links need to be fixed or relinked also in the handbook.

Icons from dashicons GitHub have been added and there should be a new library called  ‘WordPress Meta’ for Meta components in Gutenberg.



The design table at WordCamp Europe Contributor Day 2018

On Thursday, June 14th, WordCamp Europe 2018 kicked off with contributor day in Belexpo Centar in Belgrade, Serbia. It was the first time @joshuawold and myself co-lead the design table on this scale. With over 30 people signing up for contributing to WordPress design, we were pretty excited to start the day!

Preparing for contributor day as table leads

So how do you prepare for contributor day as table leads? As Monique had some experience from leading a design table at smaller WordCamps and Joshua had none, we were looking to find a way to prepare and make contributor day for design succeed. We had a few pre-contributor day chats with @karmatosed, an experienced design table lead. She really helped us to get started, thanks again for this. Besides Tammie, Milana who was involved in organising WordCamp Europe reached out to us and provided us with answers to questions we had. Besides this, we reached out to other table leads to see if they would benefit from having a designer at their table during contributor day to work on specific questions.

But what exactly does the WordPress design team do?

Two questions often asked are:

  • But what exactly does the WordPress design team do?
  • How can I deliver something tangible regarding WordPress design?

As a new contributor (I’ve only been active for less than a year), these were questions I had as well. Working on WordPress design isn’t often as tangible as resolving tickets and fixing bugs. It’s often more about discussing stuff and giving feedback on issues from a designers eye perspective. Sometimes, issues are years and years old and may never be implemented at all. This can be discouraging and frustrating, so one thing we worked on was setting expectations.

With design not being one of the first choices of people attending contributor day, we were still pleased with the 20+ people who took the effort to join the design table.

So a big thank you to Volker, Michiel, Marius, Tim, Estela, Davide, Ivan, Jayman, Tsotne, Roberto, Vincenzo, Rich, Daijel, Giuseppe, Jasper, Vasilis, Ana and all the others whose names we didn’t get. We loved working with you and hope to see you around online or at other contributor days.

People working at contributor day wordcamp europe 2018

Contributors to the design table at WordCamp Europe Contributor Day discussing some ideas

New contributors and experienced contributors

To have a quick start for attendees who contributed before, we decided to split the group in two: while Joshua onboarded new people, Monique discussed some existing tickets with contributors with more experience. To save some time and make people more familiar with Slack, we asked the contributors to introduce themselves in our Slack channel. Unfortunately, the wifi broke, which sort of sabotaged our ideas. However, Joshua started a sketching excersise to get the new group going. In the meantime, Monique remembered a ticket that was discussed with the accessibility team online. Together with the accessibility experts present in Belgrade, Tim, Jayman, Vasilis, and new contributors Rich and Jasper worked on some suggestions for a new way to display update notifications in a more accessible way. Together with Davide and David Needham from the training team, Estela gained some new insights on the infographic she had already been working on online.

So instead, we went for a different approach: we broke the group into two smaller groups and asked them the following questions:

What’s your biggest WordPress frustration? 

This resulted in some overlap, from where we got smaller groups of people started discussions and working on some ideas to improve parts of the WordPress user experience and user interface:

Why do you love WordPress?

  • Easy to use, anyone can work on WordPress in less than a day, very easy to do whatever we want because it’s open source
  • Despite the inconsistency, lots of things the users can do in the admin
  • SEO optimization is easy
  • Translating
  • Easy to work with customers/writers

What do you need to contribute?

  • Looking for a library for Gutenberg designs to build stuff around it.
  • We would want the editor to look the same on the front as it does on the backend.
  • We’d like a sketch file with all the possible design elements possible in Sketch for Gutenberg (it’s here, please take a look at SketchPress)

After lunch, wifi still wasn’t back online, which was a bit of a problem, since we wanted to introduce people to giving feedback on WordPress tickets from a design perspective, as this is a big part of the work we do. However, we still got the group to work on 4 tickets and moved the following forward: #35554, #40218, #29875, #42649.

Lessons learned from leading contributor day design table

We gained some valuable insights during our first time as design table leads we’d like to share here.

  • The interest we had from those who joined our tables was really encouraging
  • The ways we were able to support new folks (onboarding) as well as folks who have been here before (working on tickets that don’t get enough TLC online because of time issues)
  • The ideas we had for improving WordPress
  • How well things worked even without Wifi, lessons learned for next time (print out some trac tickets to bring with us)
  • The mini sketch workshop we were able to do – this really helped to get the right mindset and would be valuable to start with on other contributor days (bring sharpies & paper!)
  • The enthusiasm in the room (and for Joshua this was my first time at a major WordCamp, so he loved being able to get involved)
  • The continued challenge with how to get involved in Design when you don’t know what to do.
  • “Design” wasn’t on the list of top things or secondary things anyone wanted to help in. We think it’s ambiguous what we do, how can we make that more clear?
  • For non-native English speakers, contributing can be a problem since people are insecure and the language barrier can lead to misunderstanding. We should keep this in mind.

Again, thanks to everyone who attended. If you have anything you’d like to add to this post, please feel free to add a comment.



#contributor-day, #wceu

The current state of Dashicons

Dashicons got a huge push forward on contributor day at WordCamp Europe. Members of the WordPress community interested in design and, more specifically, iconography, met to discuss the state of the icons that appear throughout the WP admin experience.

We started by reviewing each issue listed in the repository for Dashicons, many of which were requests for new Dashicons.  In the spirit of keeping the core set of Dashicons as lean as possible, most of the requests were closed. However, several issues warranted action, and are now being resolved.

Dashicons is evolving. From its earliest inception, to a major redesign, to now, Dashicons is filling a demand for icons that communicate fundamental ideas, render clearly on all resolutions, are accessible by and inclusive of everyone.

New projects are constantly emerging as WordPress grows. And new WordPress projects need new Dashicons. Take Project Gutenberg, a major focal point in this year’s #wceu, for example. There are many areas where the iconography it utilizes could be improved. That’s where we need your help—to define the appropriate design and function of new icons that are needed, and to examine and critique the icons it currently uses.

Get started by visiting the Dashicons Github repository, and joining the discussion in the #design-dashicons channel on Slack. Come join us!