Admin Help, week 21

A bit of a late write up, sorry about that I’m preparing to be gone for a week. The late update does mean we get to include what we got from Thursdays Docs meeting as well.

Chat logs here

We need a clear component list
Defining components to get a clear line on what we wish to focus on for each iteration will help greatly. The definition of a component is not necessarily just a single page in the admin, but the flow of a task. An example f a component would be “media in posts”, this would be the flow of users adding media to their post, from wanting to add it till it’s actually in their post, and would thus mostly involve the media modal, but some users may not know how to properly work it and go to the Media page to upload first (that would mean we failed at making the media modal obvious/simple enough to use, and it should be looked into).
An important element to this is knowing what core components each of our components relate to (if we can use core components for things even better, no relationship table required, but I know some components can be too narrow). Drawing relations makes it easier for us to trac what we discover.

Started planning for how local user testing can be performed, utilizing WordCamps or Meetups.
Being able to do actual testing with users should help leverage the problem we have with online user testing services and time constraints. How to record the data was discussed, and we touched on what kind of setup that might be the most appropriate for this in regard to sitting on your own laptop or looking over shoulders of users. When possible using your own laptop is the most beneficial as it will allow you to do screen recordings. Emphasis on getting users permission was made, as privacy is important, and if they don’t want it publicly posted we need to respect that.
@kpdesign suggested we check with meetup organizers to see what they often find their users struggling with, we should check in with @jenmylo to find a good way to keep that dialogue flowing, since meetups are a reoccurring event it would be beneficial to keep in touch with organizers there.

There was some interest for following the interview route. I’m personally not familiar with it but will be looking into what others have been doing here to see if it’s a viable approach as well, the more data the better, I like data.

I will be gone for week 22, from Monday 26th of May, for mandatory military training, but I hope you’ll keep up the good work for Monday and continue the great work we’ve begun. What I’d like to see happen during next week is a draft of the component list


Admin Help May 13th, 2014

Bit of a fleshy update!

@trishasalas has stepped down as project lead, feeling the project was moving in a direction she did not feel fully comfortable with leading. I’ll be stepping out of the shadows and taking point moving forward.

During our meeting we discussed what we see from the current set of tests. We chose to focus on the newly updated theme screen for these tests, and although more data points would be nice we did identify some consistent misconceptions on the users ends.

We then discussed how to best utilize our time when deciding what to look into and when, some ideas thrown out by yours truly were to focus on modules of the admin that have either recently been updated, or haven’t seen any love in a while.

Further more, @jerrysarcastic voulenteered to look into the process regarding credits for tests.

Another idea that was thrown out seemed like it might be very interesting; An opt-in plugin for dedicated users who wish to help further WordPress, which would do anonymous heat map data of the admin. I would certainly like to re-visit this idea at our next meeting and look into the viability of this.


Admin Help — User Testing, round three

I ran the first of 2 new user tests this morning based on the theme scenario we agreed on.
Update: Second test is up, too.

Notes are over here:


Admin Help – User Personas

Note: This is taken from a past Happiness Engineer meetup project focused on users, so there may need to be some editing here to better fit our understanding of users

Persona 1

Marci, 55
Married with children, one grandchild. Empty-nester. All her help for set-up comes from the web.
Husband, George, is the local pastor, and she has started a blog for his church, wanting to proactively be modern and support him. She is unwittingly about 5 years behind technological trends.
Enthusiastic, a bit flighty.
Located in the American Midwest – Ohio
AOL user


  • Upload videos or shortcode from the YouTube
  • Find the right theme
  • Add users/subscribers
  • Add posts
  • Create a custom menu

Tech-savviness rating: 1/10 (1 is least tech-savvy, 10 is most)

I’ve read the page for custom menus three times and been following it, and I can’t see my pages

Persona 2

Angelo, 40
Small business owner
He’s pretty successful locally
Someone told him about .Org, and he struggled with it, but learned about plugins and themes.
He doesn’t want to spend a lot of time on this – it has to just work. He will be stingy with his money depending on how much perceived value something has.
He has a teenaged son.
Married to his high school sweetheart
Hotmail user.


  • Theme
  • Upload a logo
  • Much more a static site, but will eventually branch into some light blogging.
  • Wants to have increasing traffic over time to increase business

Tech-savviness rating: 4/10 (1 is least tech-savvy, 10 is most)

“I’ve spent 5 hours of my time on this. I don’t have time, I need this done.”

Persona 3

Jessica, 20s
Personal blogger
A few years out of college.
Relatively savvy – grew up with technology. Has an iPhone.
Knows a little HTML, but not that into it.
Has been blogging on Tumblr for a few years, but now wants to be able to have more themes and a bit more control behind the scenes.
Stays on top of trends.
Gmail user.


  • Themes
  • Flexibility to change domains when hobby changes
  • Wants to curate followers/increase followers
  • Publicize on social media

Tech-savviness rating: 7/10 (1 is least tech-savvy, 10 is most)

“How do I pick the image that gets posted to Facebook”

Persona 4

David, 35

Does web design work professionally, but not on WordPress
Lost a bet on a basketball game, and now has to set up a site for a friend.
Very savvy, knows a lot about computers.
Thought that setting up the site on WordPress would be a 10 minute job, and now it’s been a few hours and he’s frustrated.
Comes in with very specific expectations that may not actually be accurate on how things should work.
Hosts his own email address through Gmail on his host.


  • Themes
  • Set up site structure (pages, maybe a blog)
  • Set up a home page
  • Where does the HTML go?

Tech-savviness rating: 9/10 (1 is least tech-savvy, 10 is most)

“I work with websites a lot, and I’m setting up a site for my friend and I can’t figure out this WordPress thing. How is this easy exactly?!?”


Existing User Testing Videos that Need Write-Ups

A write up should include:

  • A Summary of notable items/issues in the video (Bulleted list)
  • Points of Confusion with notes. (Bulleted list or screenshots, etc.  Whatever works to make the point.)
  • Observations (Not necessary but helpful)
  • Your Suggestions based on the specific video test results (Not necessary but helpful)
# Link Summary Available (yes/no) Link to Summary
1 Set 1 User 1  no  na
2 Set 1 User 2  no  na
3 Set 1 User 3  no  na
4 No Change to Help Tab Location – User 1  no  na
5 No Change to Help Tab Location – User 2  no  na
6 No Change to Help Tab Location – User 3  no  na
7 Help moved to Admin Bar – User 1  no  na
8 Help moved to Admin Bar – User 2  no  na
9 Help moved to Admin Bar – User 3  no  na
10 Help Tab a Different Color – User 1  no  na
11 Help Tab a Different Color – User 2  no  na
12 Help Tab a Different Color – User 3  no  na

Please comment with the number of the video you’d like to do a write up on.

#admin-help, #user-testing, #user-testing-videos

Admin Help Update for Week of 4/7/2014

We’ve had a quiet few weeks as I was busy building a resume, interviewing and rounding up code.  But yay for new jobs and time to move forward!

Thanks to @clorith and @jazzs3quence for picking up the slack! I’ve talked to @designsimply and we are going to start user testing asap.  In the meantime we can continue to watch the older videos and I would love to see some write ups like @jazzs3quence recommended. 🙂

Thanks for the patience everyone, back to weekly updates from here.


Admin Help User Task List

WordPress User ‘Tasks’

We are gathering a list of things (tasks) any user might do in the course of setting up a WordPress site.

We need your help to add to this list!!

Please feel free to add your ideas in the comments.

  • Upload and configure WordPress
  • Remove the default post and comment
  • Drop by the theme editor and find the right theme
  • Writing my first post
  • Make the site “yours”
  • Create some content
  • Create a new front page
  • Remove the default admin account or restrict its permissions
  • Add new user(s)/admin(s)
  • Setup Akismet
  • Search for and install a plugin
  • Setup pretty permalinks
  • Change the default tagline from “Just another WordPress blog”

You can read more about the purpose for this list here.


Admin Help Updates from 3/17/2014 Meeting

Thanks so much to everyone who attended this week.  If you were unable to make it to the meeting feel free to read the logs.  This weeks meeting was quite a bit more low-key.  We had fewer in attendance possibly due to the holiday and/or the time change.

The first few minutes we discussed meeting times and have decided to keep the meeting at 18:30 UTC until Europe changes time April 1.  We will meet at 17:30 UTC beginning with our April 7th meeting.

I would like to reiterate that this is almost a completely new direction from where this group started.  Our original goal was to make the existing Admin Help content more visible to users.  The goal now is to create a user experience that is more intuitive by discovering what problems users are currently having and addressing those with appropriate solutions.

Sheri Bigelow (@designsimply) has agreed to help with user testing ♥.  We are going to start with a few simple tests and see what that reveals.  We can use the information from that testing to move forward with additional tests.

@kpdesign created a Project Page for us, we’ll use that to link to external resources as well as any additional project pages that we need.  You can find that page here

What we need: People who love UX/UI and want to see new users succeed with WordPress.  Practical needs are people to help identify tasks, create storyboards, personas, user testing evaluation and any other tasks that might be relevant at this early stage.

We also need tasks added to our ‘User Task List’.  You can find the list here and read more about it here.

We will send out a call for developers when we know what kind of developing we need 😉

Join us on Mondays at 18:30 UTC in the WordPress-sfd IRC channel.


WordPress task identification

As @trishasalas mentioned, we want to identify what areas of WordPress people struggle with, and we’d like to do some user tests on this (both for new users, as well as seasoned veterans, we all have things that bug us at some point or another), and then focus on how we can improve these and help get more people to adopt it and use it on a regular basis.

Our previous user tests have some value to them still, but as mentioned some areas of them have changed quite a bit, and we are also skipping a major part of the getting started experience; the setup, and all the pitfalls it may include.

It was also discussed to make the user tests intentionally “vague” (although this hasn’t been fully decided yet), to avoid being too leading as we want to see how users interact, not how they follow commands.

To this end, we’d like input from various sources on what tasks you perform in WordPress when getting started to help us shape tests to get a broader view of it all.

Some examples to get the ball rolling;

  • Upload and configure WordPress
  • Remove the default post and comment
  • Drop by the theme editor and find the right theme
  • Writing my first post

From the list above many people will probably butt heads at the configuration because the wp root directory isn’t writable and they can’t get wp-config automatically configured, they couldn’t find the remove option for the default post, the theme they liked didn’t work well with their WP version (or they couldn’t install it because of permissions again?), and so forth.

We’d then take that list, and break it down into a “vague” list (if that’s the approach we go with) of something like this;

  • Here’s some FTP details, go add WordPress
  • Make the site “yours”
  • Create some content

The first task might be the most stressful I suspect, but it’s also an extremely important aspect of WordPress, it’s the initial step you take after all (we are also aware that many hosts have single click setups, but that’s a custom setup by the provider, and not part of core).


Admin Help Updates from 3/10/2014 Meeting

There are some big changes and a new direction for the team, new co-leads are myself and @Clorith.  @Jazzs3quence will still be involved in a supportive role.

The first part of the meeting was used to discuss the Feature Plugin Meeting and the helpful comments @jazzs3quence received regarding the current implementation of the plugin. The key takeaways are:

  • This really comes down to storyboarding, not building. Which is great, but it doesn’t really lend itself to a plugin model, at least until later in the process.
  • (but) Before even storyboarding I’d start with a list of goals, a list of problems. I’d run user tests on starting with WP and starting with features they’ve never seen and see where they trip up.

We agreed as a group that we need to not think about solutions at this stage but rather, to figure out what the problem(s) are. It was also mentioned that a singular solution will not be enough, we need to identify personas and do user testing as well as story boards.  (Not necessarily in that order.)

@Clorith Mentioned that the idea of guided tour had been mentioned before and @Sams reminded us that @Nacin recommended we look at the user testing again.

Our previous user tests can be found here:

@Sams suggested that “it’s better to have user tests of different user types and, if you’d like, build personas off of those” so that will be the initial direction we take along with storyboards.

We would like to expand on the user testing by identifying any and all tasks with WordPress so that we can identify as many ‘pain points’ as possible.  There have also been some significant changes in the theme screen and the widgets since our last tests so we would like to essentially start fresh with user testing.

The initial plan is to start a P2 post to gather task ideas for  user testing.  We would like to get input from as many of you as possible so that we generate a thorough list of all of the tasks within WordPress (multisite included!)

As always, we welcome more input and participation.  The meeting is on Mondays — 18:30 UTC