Admin Help Videos (round two)

Some interesting results. Keep in mind (if you watch these all the way through) that some of these had multiple users doing things at the same time, so there are a few occasions where theme or widget changes disappeared because someone else was doing it, too.

No change to the help tabs

User 1
This person didn’t have any issues. Never used the help.

User 2
This person didn’t have any issues. They did leave this comment:

I would want a help section for each category/section as well as a help search box so I can quickly find an answer

…and I can’t tell if they are saying that because they didn’t find the help, or if they are saying that because they *did* but it wasn’t how they expected. I assume the former (never found it) since they never clicked the tab.

User 3
This person did have problems, never found the help tab.

Help in the admin bar

User 1
This person commented on the lack of help documentation, but his LastPass bar was covering up the help button in the admin bar. (I guess that could be an argument against the admin bar being the final location of the help button/tab.)

User 2
This person found the help button, but it seemed to be because he was specifically looking for it (because the task said “use help if you need to”). It wasn’t natural.

User 3
Had problems, but they went to Google for help. Never found the help button.

Help tab a different color

User 1
This person never needed/never used the help tab.

User 2
This person didn’t need the help but they did find it.

User 3
This person found the help tab AND ACTUALLY USED IT (but it didn’t give him the answer he was looking for).


1. I think it’s safe to say the current help tabs are hard to see/find. Not one person even noticed they existed.

2. The admin bar solution doesn’t seem to work. Placement conflicts with popular password management browser extensions and it’s pretty nondescript sitting up there. The only person who did find it had to look for it.

3. The color seemed to make the help tab easier to find (maybe?). At any rate, 2/3 people found the help tab when we gave it a color. Maybe we can use MP6 themes to bring in a color that goes with the admin color scheme?

Next steps/ideas

I’m open. Here are a few things I’m thinking:

1. Replace the tab with a ? icon in the same location. Ideally colored.
2. Use a plugin that adds help in the sidebar (this will require someone to write up some help documentation for the tasks we are looking for people to accomplish for them to find).
3. Maybe another location? Like the Feedback tabs that hang on the right side of the window with GetSatisfaction stuff?
4. Possibly extend the color help plugin to pull in styles from the active MP6 theme, if possible.

Any other thoughts/ideas?

#3-8, #admin-help, #dashboard-help, #user-testing

Admin Help Meeting Recap

Here’s the highlights of today’s meeting:

New help option to test

@ubernaut & @jazzs3quence got a new plugin in the repo to test.
This one adds a color to the help link (and a background color in MP6) and bolds the text to make it more noticeable. issues…resolved?

@siobhan contacted support to ask about whether it’s possible to move the recorder thing by default. The answer is no. So we added a task in the list of tasks for the users to complete to move the recorder first.

Prepping for the next round of testing

@siobhan made the testing site a multisite so we can have separate sub-sites for each test. I created 3 sites on the network, one with the default install, one with my plugin that moves the help to the admin bar, and one with the color help plugin. I activated MP6 across the network, made all the sites use Twentytwelve, and removed all but the Meta, Search, and Recent posts widgets in the sidebar.

I set up 3 of each test, so hopefully it won’t be a problem with people trying to do things on top of each other (unfortunately I hadn’t thought of that…)

Next week we can talk about the results. (and see if I messed things up by doing more than one at a time :/ )

#3-8, #admin-help, #dashboard-help

Admin Help Meeting recap

Thanks to @dllh, @ubernaut, & @trishasalas who showed up today and contributed to the ongoing conversation. Don’t stress it if you meant to make it and forgot, I’m happy to use the P2 as a way to hash out these discussions, too, but do let me/us know if another time would work better if you *are* intending on making it.

Here’s what we talked about:

The user testing videos weren’t very helpful

This isn’t because there was anything wrong with them, per se, but rather because of the platform we are using and how their recorder works. We wouldn’t have known this without going through it as a user, either, so this is really sort of just growing pains. I encourage ppl to take a look at the user testing videos for what they are worth, but there really isn’t a whole lot that’s applicable to what we are doing because, as you’ll notice straight off and as I commented earlier, the recorder hides the help tab anyway. So we aren’t testing whether people discover the help tab naturally because the recorder makes discovering the help tab naturally impossible.

Back to the drawing board then…

So we need to do another round of testing to figure out if we’ve got our assumptions right before we can really move forward. /sigh

  • @trishasalas and @jazzs3quence (mostly @trishasalas 🙂 )will look at the user testing platform to see if we can add more tasks. If so, we’re going to make the first task be “move the recorder to the bottom right” or something to that effect and try to make it as innocuous as possible. If we can’t, we’ll need to try another tack, probably making the first task combine a bunch of smaller tasks (which also wouldn’t be a *huge* issue, but I think ppl probably respond better to smaller, more specific tasks).
  • @trishasalas is also going to look at other potential user testing platforms we could use instead.

Features as Plugins

  • @jazzs3quence took Trac #21583 and turned it into a plugin. It’s not much, certainly not a final solution, but it can be something we use to test location of the help.
  • @ubernaut wrote a plugin that changes the color/style of the current help tab and will work with @jazzs3quence on getting it up in the .org repo as well.


  • @dllh sent over some raw data (along with some notes) about the help tab usage from It isn’t pretty and you can’t really draw a lot of solid conclusion from it, but I have it and would be happy to share or post it to google docs or something if anyone wants to take a look.

And a final reminder that the next Admin Help meeting will be on Monday 16:30 UTC in #wordpress-sfd. And if the turnout is low, I’ll just spam your inboxes. You have been warned. 🙂

#3-8, #admin-help, #dashboard-help

Contextual Help plugin

I’ve turned the last patch in this ticket into a plugin and submitted it to .org. When it gets approved, it will be available to download here. If you want to take a look at it early, let me know and I can give you a direct link to the zip. It’s not anything special, it just moves the Help tab up into the admin bar, but I wanted to get it done before our meetup next week.


Plugin is live. Download here:

#3-8, #admin-help, #dashboard-help, #plugin

Admin Help Update — Labor Day edition

Greetings Admin Help Make-ers!

As was unanimously decided by all 2 meeting-goers at the admin help IRC meeting today, I, @jazzs3quence, have been elected as your brave leader.

Here’s what was discussed:

  • Test results are in. @siobhan will post the videos. The reader’s digest result is that no one clicked on the help tabs. This should surprise precisely no one, since that’s the reason we’re here, but it at least confirms the premise that this project is based on.
  • We’re going to shoot for implementing 3 new tests next go-round:

1) Help moved to the admin bar — @jazzs3quence will look into that as well as possibly implementing something along the lines of this Trac ticket
2) Help tab a different color — @ubernaut will cut his plugin development teeth with a simple plugin that will add an admin stylesheet we can use to just apply some CSS to the help tab to make it more noticeable
3) Help in the sidebar — We’ll just throw WP-Help into the test site. @siobhan may (or may not) be able to help writing some simple text to use for docs that would be added to the WP Help plugin that could walk the user through the steps the user tests are having the testers complete.

The theory is that we can try to have this stuff ready by the next meeting so the following week can be running the tests and talking about the results after that.

@siobhan has indicated that she won’t be able to do much until December but will still come to meetings and offer suggestions/advice. We’ll have to soldier on without her. 🙂

One final note, as we start getting into building some plugins and running tests — we should be using MP6 since that’s going to be integrated into 3.8, so on the test sites and in our own dev environments we should make sure we have that plugin installed and active.

That’s all, folks!

#3-8, #admin-help, #dashboard-help