Widgets Chat Today

Hi everyone — I’ll be in the middle of some in-person user testing today, and won’t be available for our chat this afternoon. Please feel free to meet without me, and I can catch up via the logs. I’ll be testing the tabbed prototype today, along with the existing widgets 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.. If you can’t (or don’t want to) make it to IRC this afternoon, please leave any notes you have as a comment below. I’d love to hear how things are coming along with the other prototypes. Thanks!


Widgets, Sept 2 Chat Notes

The Widgets team had a short chat yesterday: IRC logs

bobravo2 shared his research into Joomla’s handling of “widgets:” https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1u7NXNNNdU7dt1jE1GA4bjnfz9BQymIlavRd2PUHI95E/edit?usp=sharing

PaalJoachim shared another mockup for a more visual way of managing widgets: http://easywebdesigntutorials.com/wp-content/uploads/Widgets-area.jpg

Work continues on the four prototypes described in the previous meeting, with the goal of having them all ready for user testing (hopefully) in the next week or so.

In Attendance:

  • shaunandrews
  • bobbravo2
  • helen
  • PaalJoachim


Widgets, Widgets, Widgets Meeting – Aug 26, 2013

Team Widgets3 held it’s second meeting this past Monday (Aug 26) in #wordpress-ui. Feel free to check out the IRC logs.

Spurred by the results of our initial survey results, we discussed the benefits and failings of drag-and-drop. The consensus seems to be that drag-and-drop works well for re-ordering existing widgets, but its less than ideal for placing new widgets.

We reviewed the concepts that have been brought up so far:

The plan right now is to build a simple prototype of each of these concepts. Keep in mind that a prototype doesn’t have to consist of working code — a clickable wireframe is a perfectly acceptable prototype, and can provide just as much data as a working pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party.

  • shaunandrews will focus on the tabbed concept
  • RichardTape will focus on the 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. concept
  • jtsternberg will focus on the menu-like concept
  • The front-end editing concept will use the plugin as the prototype

We’ll test each prototype (and the current 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.) against the same set of tasks and see which one performs best against our goals. By simply building the prototypes we’ll hopefully learn which ones “feel right” and which ones don’t. And, by performing user tests on each, we’ll hopefully see where each succeeds and fails with regards to our goals.

This information combined will help us take the next step and either drop a concept, or rethink it and test again. We’ll continue with this process until we have something that feels “right.”

Or next meeting is schedule for Monday, September 2, 2013 at 20:00 UTC in #wordpress-ui.


  • shaunandrews
  • melchoyce
  • helen
  • jtsternberg
  • gregpabst
  • RichardTape
  • ipstenu
  • coreymcollins


Widgets, Aug 19 Chat Notes

We had our first meeting on Monday. If you were unable to attend, please check out the IRC logs.

Here’s a few key points from the chat:

  • RichardTape will do some data analysis on the 177 responses we received to our initial survey. (He’s finished: http://richardtape.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/results-from-widget-survey-2013/)
  • shaunandrews ran a user test with the simple task of adding a text widget to a sidebar: https://shaunandrews.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/themes-and-widgets-take-1.mp4 (widget stuff starts around 9:20)
  • Almost everyone agreed that drag-and-drag fails miserably when there are more than a 2-3 sidebars.
  • There’s a disconnect between the sidebars in wp-admin, and the way those sidebars are presented in a theme.
  • lonchbox breaks the concept of a 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. down into peices: 1) Placement 2) Settings 3) User roles (maybe?)
  • Don’t forget about inactive widgets!

There was some general discussion about new 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.’s for managing widgets:

  • Integration with the customizer for selecting and placing widgets. (melchoyce’s mockups: http://cl.ly/image/383v0l341J3w)
  • Media-like modal for browsing and sleeking widgets. (shaunandrews’ mockups: http://www.shaunandrews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Mockup-Widgets-Modal.png)
  • The Blogger model: http://s.hyhs.me/QtzH

Then, I mentioned a crazy idea.

“Sidebars” is a terrible name for the place that widgets live. “Widget Area” is a little better. But, what if we called it a “Content Area”. Then widgets (which is a pretty terrible name, too) could become “Content Blocks.” Sound familiar? The CEUX team is working on exactly that — blocks of content that can be dropped into a post or page. My crazy idea is that this same model could apply to widgets. Hell, maybe widgets become content blocks. A big advantage to this is that we have one less construct which users must learn. Instead of learning how to use content blocks AND widgets — you’d just learn how to use content blocks. I said it was crazy. I’d really love some input on this — what do you think?

Next Week

  • Review services/apps/sites which offer similar concepts as widgets. How do they do things, and what can we learn from them? If your interested in helping, this is a great non-technical way to do so! Find a “thing” to review, and post a comment below so we all know who’s doing what.
  • Run more user tests. What should we test? Any suggestions? I’m more than happy to run (and pay for) any tests we want to run — or feel free to setup your own tests (online, or in person!) and share the results.

Our next meeting is Monday Aug 26, 2013 at 20:00 UTC in #wordpress-ui. Tentative agenda includes: reviewing survey results, reviewing the services people have researched; discuss any new user tests; talk about prototypes that we can test against. I hope to see you there!

#core-plugins, #widgets

Widgets, Widgets, Widgets

Howdy everyone! I’ll be leading Team Widgets3 as we work to update widgets in WordPress. Our project overview explains some of our overall goals and the problems we’re trying to solve. We’ll be holding weekly IRC chats every Monday at 20:00 UTC in #wordpress-ui.

Current Team

As of now, our current teams is: @shaunandrews (lead), @jtsternberg, and @richardtape.
The following people have expressed interested in helping: @yoavf, @gregrickaby, @helen, @lonchbox, @kelderic, @ipstenu, @celloexpressions.

If you’re interested in helping, please leave a comment on this post and let us know.

Initial Survey

We’re running a small survey to get some more feedback. As of this morning we have 132 responses. I’ll be wrapping up the survey and sharing results early next week. Feel free to share the survey with anyone: http://shaunwp.polldaddy.com/s/working-with-widgets

Ideas and Feedback Flowing

We’re still early in the design discovery and research phase, and have had lots of ideas flowing around. Some old, some new:

  • http://www.shaunandrews.com/wordpress/widget-redesign/
  • http://webdevstudios.com/2013/08/14/webdevstudios-take-on-a-wordpress-core-widget-ui-refresh/
  • https://github.com/WebDevStudios/WordPress-Widgets-Refresh/issues/6
  • https://make.wordpress.org/core/2013/08/08/excellent-3-8-brainstorm-session-today-people-talked-about/#comment-9859
  • http://jesserfriedman.com/a-call-to-change-wordpress-widgets/
  • http://www.shaunandrews.com/wordpress/widget-redesign/widget-links/

Thats all for now — we hope to see you in #wordpress-ui on Monday, August 19, 2013 at 16:00 UTC-4 for the first Widgets3 chat.

#3-8, #widgets