WordPress.org UX Research

Over the years, with a lot of resources being put into core, the WordPress.org network of sites has been interated upon without much structural or art direction. As we take on efforts of documenting and creating more polished and art directed design foundations for the WordPress project as a whole, the .org sites need to get some love as well.

The first step is understanding what can be improved, what the real pain points are. So I conducted a survey a few months ago to better understand how contributors and other community members interact with WordPress.org sites. The survey was sent to a select group of people – project leads, team reps, highly active community members, etc. The sampling was small (32 participants) and so the survey had a lot of open-ended questions, allowing the participants to write their thoughts freely, revealing the biggest pain-points. The survey was divided into sections for better understanding of the usage of the several parts of the website.

This survey will help us get a better idea of the direction we need to go on a long-term plan to make improvements to WordPress.org, building a more solid and thought-out foundation so the community can grow and thrive for years to come.

The survey was anonymous (which I personally found important in order to encourage more honest feedback), so I’m including here some of the most constructive feedback provided.

This is quite a large post, with the survey results and relevant comments – 15 sections with a total of 55 questions. So brace yourself and continue at your own risk 😛


Section 01 – General Questions

Q01. What is the primary reason you visit WordPress.org?

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Most of the interviewed individuals were contributors to core, so there’s no surprise here. The “Other” allowed them to insert whatever they wanted, one was for someone who deals with events “vetting organizers and contributors” and the other simply added two options in one (Contributing and Documentation).

Q02. What type of devices do you use to visit WordPress.org?

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We were interested in understanding how mobile stacks up to desktop here, they could select multiple options here. Again, there’s not much surprise here. The majority of access being on desktop/laptop, since they are mostly contributors. I did think some comments were interesting as to for what they use their phone for vs desktop:

“Very rarely (e.g. responding to comments on a “Make” site), I will use my phone.”

“I’ll use a phone and tablet when testing changes I’m making, but it’s rare that I use them for regular visits.”

“I occasionally check the forums on my phone. Most of the rest is on the laptop.”

“I often end up reading issues and checking documentation on my phone.”

“I mostly use my laptop, but I try to look at trac a lot on my phone.”

Q03. How easy is it to navigate WordPress.org?

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Only one interviewee thought is was “a breeze” to use, mostly were on the “meh” side. The one who said it was “a breeze”, left this comment:

“I’ve been a member on WordPress.org for 10 years, so I’m not the best judge. I just know where things are.”

Other interesting comments:

“There’s a *lot* of stuff, and I’m frequently like, “I saw this thing… Where did it live? Where do I find it again?” I can never remember where anything is so I spend a lot of time clicking around absentmindedly going ‘here…? here…?’ ”

“The tabs in the header take you where you need to go. But navigating _after_ that point is hard.”

“I mostly use make.wordpress.org, so this isn’t a reflection of wordpress.org itself. However, the make network’s navigation is sometimes a little haphazard. If you don’t already know what you’re looking for, it’s probably hard to find it.”

“WordPress.org is huge, so it’s understandable that it’s confusing. However, the fact that your ‘profile’ link doesn’t always take you to the same place, that there are multiple sections for documentation (developer. and codex.), that the theme page UI is radically different from the plug-in page UI, that you can get an easy link to merged plug-in support form for all plug-ins you contribute or commit to, but there’s no equivalent for themes; that when viewing the plug-in directory, you’re welcomed in the right corner, but *not* in the themes directory. Etc. There are a lot of inconsistencies that make the site considerably harder to use. Taken as individual pieces, those pieces are generally good; taken as a whole, it’s kind of nightmarish.”

“(…) Overall, the w.org resources could probably use some better high-level navigation, and connecting more relevant things together – primarily, the “Make” sites and documentation.”

“The use of mobile devices on various parts of w.org really drag down the overall enjoyment of using the site, this also kicks in when using multiple windows when I like to reduce the sizes to use multiple resources at once and dodgy responsive styling kicks in.”

“I find the desktop experience works but it’s hard and broken on tablets and mobile.”

Q04. Compared to other websites you visit, how would you describe the overall design and flow of WordPress.org?

30 out of 32 people answered this. I did a search for the most used adjective and the word “dated” (and second and similarly, “old”) was the most used. Some comments:

“(…) If you compare to other modern websites, WordPress.org’s design is tired and old. It doesn’t flow at all. Most things feel “tacked on” to the header and throughout the site.”

“Outdated. Specifically the design. Looking at wordpress.org/news, there are so many things that did not see the attention of a designer and you can tell. wordpress.org itself and /news/ are probably the worst sites of all.”

“Old and slow (sometimes). The corporate design could be better. Use the same icons, same fonts, same colors; each sub site has its “own design”, like developer.w.org.”

“I don’t think that WordPress.org really *has* a flow. Different parts of WordPress.org have flow within their discrete pieces, but as a whole, it’s a mess.”

“The responsive views are usually just the old desktop views that were quickly patched to be usable, but not a true mobile-first design.”

“WordPress.org has a lot going for it – and against it. I’ve often thought there is sometimes just _too much_ information. We need to make it more obvious how to get around the site – the primary navigation feels a little bit stilted, but it’s realistically the only thing that ties all of the parts together.”

“Feels kinda old-school. A lot of the stuff I use most frequently is buried inside the information architecture (or at least, I perceive it to be buried). This doesn’t pose a problem for me personally, though it’s possible that it affects discoverability for newer community members. TBH, I don’t often think of wordpress.org as being a single resource. I think of the Codex, developer docs, Make, Support, etc as being separate resources.”

“There’s a lot of parts/sections of .ORG. It feels more like a group of multiple sites rather than a single site. If anything, making it feel more like a single site would probably help.”

“It’s starting to feel a bit dated, and there’s a lack consistency between the various parts – Make, Trac, Docs, Codex, Mobile, Forums, etc.”

“It feels dated, cluttered, hard to navigate, and everything is very small. The hierarchy is all over the place. It doesn’t make it easy for new users, developers, or contributors to find what they need. It feels like old trends are still maintained. There is a bunch of cruft that helps no one. “WordPress Users” widget and the “Showcase” page.”

“The visual design needs some love.”

“It’s dated and long winded. I find it hard to filter through the dense information. It feels a lot like it’s trying to show everything at the top level and please everyone. In doing so, it doesn’t really please anyone. I also don’t think it acts as a strong advert for how awesome WordPress is. The front page doesn’t call me to download and the design is not as human as it could be. It’s not at all welcoming. This gets even worse when you delve deeper down into trying to contribute. You then get lost in a sea of handbooks.”


Section 02 – Search

Q05. How often do you use the on-site search to find what you’re looking for (instead of navigation)?

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A large majority “never” or “rarely” uses the WordPress.org global search (the one on the top of the header of the site).

Q06. What is your overall on-site search experience?

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Again no surprises here. Since most never used it, it makes sense to leave this with no answer (“N/A”). Some comments to shed light on what they actually do:

“I use search engines with “site:wordpress.org” to find topics with code examples in it.”

“The search function is pretty broad, so you can always find what you need eventually. There’s just a lot of information on the site which makes the volume hard to sift through.”

“It’s normally pretty bad because of the difficulty of having a single index sorting entirely unrelated types of content across Trac, P2s, Plugins, Themes, News, etc. Understandable, just unfortunate.”

“WordPress.org is huge, and the global on-site search *only* has the option to search everything. Being able to filter those results to documentation vs. support vs. etc. would help a lot. If I’m using the global site search it’s because I’m not successfully finding what I want elsewhere – getting 4000 results with no filtering isn’t helpful.”

“The global search is often useless to me. I tend to use the search specific to whatever part of .org I’m visiting, be it trac or a make blog. The make blogs don’t consistently locate their search boxes in the same spot in the sidebar. Search is often at the bottom of the sidebar. On phones, search and the sidebar are at the bottom, requiring scrolling to get to search.”

“Understanding the basic structures of the .org site help but I believe it could be better with more auto-complete style searches to speed things up.”

Q07. How helpful is the search results page?

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The answers to this question in a way expand to what was already said on Q06.

“The search result page lacks specificity. You do get the page or forum post you are looking for but it’s buried in other listings.”

“The sitewide search has a problem with specificity of results because the same terms are being used everywhere throughout the site.”

“It searches everything, no way to filter the results.”

When wanting something from the codex, the global search can be helpful and relevant. I’m not a big consumer of search outside of searching trac and the make blogs. The results page is not responsive on phones.”

“https://wordpress.org/search includes anything on the domain, but that’s actually a half dozen separate systems (plugins directory, forums, etc), and users won’t know that. So, there are probably situations where a user would get better results from using the search functions on the individual components, but they won’t know that’s possible. It might be good to have a dropdown that they could select to search plugins, themes, forums, etc, or everything.”

“The main search is a Custom Google Search Engine, which works, but is kind of a shotgun approach. It gives lots of peripheral information. However, short of building a real custom search engine covering the whole site, this is currently better than using the built-in searches. As we migrate to more WordPress oriented pieces, this will become more possible to do well.”

“Personally I would prefer more emphasis on documentation in general or at least for the search to stay in the same hierarchal path … for example, searching in the forums should stay in the forums; searching from the home page should have more emphasis on documentation but often returns forum topics instead.”

“Try searching the forums for anything. Get back to me. You can’t search per forum. And searching per make site relies on me knowing WHAT I’m looking for.”

Q08. What are the pain points with on-site search and how would you improve the experience?

Only 22 out of 32 people answered this question. Even though a lot of the pain-points are already identified in the previous answers, we thought it would only be educational to ask specifically. The general pain points revolve around allowing the search results to either be filterable or limited to a sub-section. There are mentions (like on the previous question) to wanting the global search to act as the contextual search (ie.: search forums if you’re in the forums, instead of searching for the whole network of sites by default).

“I get the feeling that the Google Search bar doesn’t search _everything_ or, if it does, doesn’t give priority to certain things. For example, devhub should have priority to the Codex, recent make posts should have priority over old make posts, etc.”

“Pain point: Too much information from all over the site pops up for too many searches. Improvement idea: Filters to allow for different sections of information to be excluded/included after you’ve done a global search”

“Same as above, try to get rid of Google. Make it context-dependent, provide suggestions.”

“I’m assuming for these search questions that we’re only talking about the global search, not the plugin or themes searches. The single biggest pain point is that there’s no support forums search. There’s a search form on the support forum page, which performs a global search. It even includes a forums=1 URL parameter, but that doesn’t apparently do anything. As a plug-in and theme author, I’d *like* to ask users to search the forums before asking a support question – but realistically, I know that there’s no real way to do that.”

“Contextual search: codex/function reference, forum topics, Themes/Plugins, “Make” sites, etc. should return results relevant to the given context.”

Search is incredibly unreliable and results often do not reflect key words searched for. Performing a search on WordPress.org typically lends very few relevant results while the same exact search on Google does lend good results.”

“It _is_ kind of annoying that since wp.org is essentially a mishmash of software that we have so many separate opportunities to search different areas of the site. I hesitate to suggest a master index for all the things because I recognize the complexity of that, at the same time, I think we could combine a few resources to centralize a little bit.”

“wordpress.org has lots of different kinds of content – user docs, dev docs, support content, news, etc. It’s hard to provide a single way to search all of this, and to present the results in a way that makes sense, especially for different audiences. I guess this seems like the main challenge, though I’m not sure I have any dynamite suggestions for how to improve it”

It doesn’t always show other sections of WordPress[.org]. A good example would be if I wanted to find information from a particular make blog. Often times the results are mixed. It would be great if they were grouped together somehow.”

“It’s just an uglier version of Google. I’d either go full Google or hook up Elastic Search to make the results more relevant. Show large theme thumbnails. Show snippets from the docs. Things like that. Search is hard.”

Q09. Do you use section-specific searches? Which ones?

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Since most are contributors, it makes sense to observe a strong use of the “trac” specific search. “Others” included:

“Documentation needs section specific searches … (*grin*)”

“codex/function reference”

I don’t think the person who wrote this last one knows about the code reference search on https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/ 😉

Q10. What are the pain points with section-specific searches and how would you improve the experience?

23 out of 32 answered this. Some of the answers:

“I really don’t use them, except to test. I’ve used in-product searches, but not on-site ones. Trac, especially, is really bad. I use google to find tickets because it’s better at finding them…”

“Pain point: It’s easy to miss that you can do section specific searches of the make sites. Improvement idea: Label this search functionality and possibly move it from the sidebar to be in the subheader, which would be more consistent with the location of the section specific search on other parts of .org.”

Search on Trac is extremely unspecific and hard to use. Actually getting the result you’re looking for is almost like playing the lottery. Themes search is okay, as is make/blogs search. They’re wp so they have its limitations.”

“Most of the section-specifc searches are using the default WordPress search which isn’t the best. Something like Elasticsearch would help.”

I’m not aware of a way to search just within make blogs or within the forums. If these really exist, they could seriously stand to be more obvious.”

“The make sites each have their own search. Being able to search the entire make network without getting codex, support, plugin, and theme results might be handy.”

“Trac and Forums searching is pretty terrible on .org. Google site search does a better job and gets me there quicker. I wonder if the forums upgrade will improve search-ability for the forums? As for trac, we’d probably be better off integrating Elastic search or something.”

I find “trac” searches to return many results that are not immediately relevant … often times the results are for many tickets but not the primary ticket (which is often buried several results into the search). Forum searching … I’ve pretty much given up on that … it really needs to be much more robust in many areas; perhaps a complete refactor of the forums may be in order?! My pet-peeve with documentation search is that it too often includes many forum results first before references to the codex (still my preferences, and possibly many others as well) or the developer handbook.”

“Trac search, when I’m JUST looking for tickets and not patches, can be a pill. I’m not Nacin. I can’t remember everything. Searching for a theme is hard since that’s so damn visual. Searching for a plugin is munged because they’re all idiots with their tags.”

“Trac search is just… totally inscrutable. I think there are complex ways to search but they are all way, way over my head. Plugins and theme directory search are mostly fine, though it sucks that you can’t search for authors, just titles.”

“I find trac itself not that easy until you learn the quirks. Which in saying that probably isn’t great. We should find ways to have less things you need to learn around to contribute.”


Section 03 – Login & Profiles

Q11. How do you login to WordPress.org?

I asked for people to be as specific as possible in the notes, and include links to where they usually login. The vast majority mentions they login wherever they’re asked to login (to do specific tasks: be it to comment on a make site, or to do anything in trac, etc). Not a lot of the answers point out specific entry points to logging in, but the ones that do I’ll paste below. Also interesting to observe is that a 3 answers mention the use of 1Password, but nothing else – meaning wherever 1Password saved their first login, that’s where they login constantly and don’t really rely on any form on the website. 13 login through trac. 5 login through forums. Some of the results include:

“I visit https://wordpress.org/support/ and login on the top right section.”

“I wait for it to tell me that I need to login, then I click the login link. Or, I go to whatever site I’m on /wp-admin/ and logon there.”

“Most often I’m logging in at https://make.wordpress.org/training/wp-login.php”

“Mostly via WordPress (/wp-admin) on a make blog. Sometimes https://wordpress.org/support/bb-login.php because Trac links to it.”

“Usually where Trac sends me: https://wordpress.org/support/bb-login.php.”

“I end up on .org through either a make blog email, or a trac ticket, or some other link, and log in wherever I land. Unfortunately I get logged out every couple hours, it seems, so I feel like I’m always logging in.”

Q12. Why do you login to your WordPress.org account?

The vast majority here mention working on trac tickets or commenting/posting on make blogs. A smaller percentage mention forums. Some of the more thorough replies include:

Commenting on a make blog
Creating a new make blog post
Commenting on a trac ticket
Creating a new trac ticket
Commenting in the forums
Replying to theme support questions
Submitting a theme

Q13. Do you know how to find your WordPress.org profile?

Now, I admit this was a trick question… the reason I ask it is because I know there are actually two different WordPress.org profiles – a regular one, and one for the forums (one person mentioned a third, a “codex profile” but I couldn’t confirm it). I just wanted to know if the answers would confirm if these people (again, remember they are active members of the community) know about this, or if they can only identify one and how they get to it. For reference, the two profiles live in https://wordpress.org/support/profile/username and https://profiles.wordpress.org/username. 7 people mentioned the two (or three) profiles. 16 mentioned only profiles.wordpress.org/username. 1 mentioned only wordpress.org/support/profile/username. Thes rest didn’t remember/know how to find it.

Some answers:

“Yeah, I manually type it in every time and it autocompletes.”

“I know the URL off the top of my head, so I really just type it in when I need it. I don’t know how to get there through navigation, though. If I didn’t know the URL, though, I would use a site specific search on an external search engine. profiles.wordpress.org/##redacted##”

“Yup! It’s here: https://profiles.wordpress.org/##redacted## – I think I originally found my profile by copying the link structure I saw in another person’s profile. In the beginning I remember that I was surprised it existed.”

“Which one? Usually, when logged in, you can click on your name in the upper right corner, though this isn’t available on all pages, and links to different profiles in some contexts. The support profile is generally fairly useless, so I always have to remember when I’m in support forums that if I want to go my profile, I need to first leave the support forums.”

“Since I’m usually on my make blog, I hover over or tap an avatar to get the url scheme profiles.wordpress.org/username and fill in my own username. Note that I can’t do this trick using my own avatar next to the p2 publish box. That links to gravatar, not profiles.wordpress.org. Occasionally I click over to /support/ and hit the View your profile link in the header, but given my make centric view of .org I usually do the url hacking trick.”

“to find any profile type in https://wordpress.org/support/profile/PROFILENAME – I don’t think most folks know this. I only know because it’s something I frequently use.”

“If you’re on specific page like https://themes.trac.wordpress.org you can easily find it, if you’re not it’s hard to see and mostly doesn’t even show at all.”

“It depends on which part of the site I’m on since it’s not the same every where. If on Plugins, it’s available in the top right. If on Support, it’s available under my name on forum posts. Other places tend to vary but is typically in the top right.”

“http://profiles.wordpress.org/##redacted## I know this off the top of my head only anecdotally, because I know that it runs BuddyPress. I’m aware of the fact that the profiles are linked in various places (like, I think, commenter names on Make blogs) but I don’t know how to get to my profile through the persistent navigation.”

“Yes. Yes, I know how to find my profile. It would depend from where you are trying to reach it as well. From the forums it can be done by clicking the avatar and it takes you to the profile. The downside is that you have do that from a thread you have posted in. In most other sections of WordPress.org all you have to do is click on the avatar. https://profiles.wordpress.org/##redacted##”


Section 04 – Download WordPress

Questions about WordPress.org/download  (page you get by clicking “Download WordPress” big blue button on the header from any part of the websites)

Q14. How often do you use the “Download WordPress” page on WordPress.org?

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Q15. Thinking about the “Download WordPress” page, what do you like, what do you hate, and what would you improve?

Received 27 out of 32 answers to this. Quantitatively, since most of the answers are from contributors (a lot of them for core), not a lot of them actually use it. But there are some interesting answers to look at:

I’d like to add hosts to the page. Now that you’ve downloaded, perhaps you want more information about hosting. Seems like a natural merger.”

“The actual download button is rather small.”

“There’s a lot of copy, links, etc; it feels kind of cluttered. The download button, which is the most important thing, is stuck off on the side, instead of being in the center so and highlighted so that your eye is immediately drawn to it. Maybe it should be redesigned so that there’s less copy and it’s more obvious how to get what you want quickly. Here’s a rough idea[…]:

Download WordPress
[big bright Download button to zip file]
[Download tar.gz format](http://)
[Installation Guide](http://) | [Upgrade Guide](http://) | [Support Forums](http://)

One-Click Install
If you have no idea what to do with this download, we recommend signing up with one of our web hosting partners that offers a one-click install of WordPress or getting a free account on WordPress.com.

Download Mobile Apps
links to android, ios similar to the /mobile page. (it should be right here, rather than having to click off to a new page)”

“It’s very text-y, there’s nothing really “selling it” on that page. There’s currently 3 “identical” buttons on the page, one is called “Download WordPress” and takes you to the download page (in the header), another is for actually downloading the WordPress zip file, and the 3rd is to go to the mobile page, nothing indicates which one is the best option, as well as having two download buttons with different behavior being less than ideal. Also include the requirements with it, don’t force the user to jump through hoops to find out if they can or can’t run it when they want to download it already.”

“Most people don’t need to know how to download WordPress – we’re better off making links to WordPress.com and host partners more prominent.”

“I hate the Download button on the home page that doesn’t actually download anything. It sends me to the download page. I hate that we say setup is five minutes, famous, and simple. All of those are BS from what I’ve seen helping others. The instructions for install should be super clear, well-designed, and extra specific on the download page.”

“I never read the text, I just click the button. Although, I kind of always expect the header download button to actually download WordPress, and am slightly surprised when I’m brought to the download page.”

“It doesn’t encourage me to download it and it appears on mobile – which it shouldn’t.”


Section 05 – Make WordPress

Questions about make.WordPress.org  and its network of sites. Some of the questions are there to set a baseline (like how often and to which teams they contribute to). When I was writing them they made sense, but now that I’m analysing I don’t see them as relevant as other questions. I’ll just post them here for completeness.

Q16. How often do you visit the “Make WordPress” (Get Involved) network?

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Q17. Which teams do you contribute to?

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This was a multiple choice answer, hence the larger sampling.

Q18. How often do you contribute to WordPress?

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Q19. Rate your experience on the following:

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The questions here are trying to match some of the most common activities in the Make blogs. It seems like the biggest pain-point here is navigating the Make network, which matches to the comments that follow the open-ended question at the end of this section.

Q20. How often do you use a contributor handbook on the Make network?

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Q21. Thinking about the “Make WordPress” (Get Involved) network, what do you like, what do you hate, and what would you improve?

All of the people interviewed replied to this one! There’s a lot of interesting information here to work with. Here are some answers with highlights:

“I like the individual make blogs and I usually post there myself once a week on make/support. I just feel that the main make landing page doesn’t do well to guide people who want to participate in the project.”

“Moving between make sites is rough. They don’t integrate together either. Shouldn’t cross posting be easier?

“I like that it exists, but I do find it a bit hard to navigate between sections. Feels like when you are on a team blog, you need to go out to the main site (make.wordpress.org) to go to another team’s blog. I also hate the look. P2 is a very useful theme, but one with what has to be the least attractive typography out there. Given that so much team activity is in the form of text, I wish it was a bit easier on the eyes.”

“What I like:

  • The use of gravatar images to show faces along with content.
  • The updates feeds provide a consistent way of looking for things.
  • The email update signup and about section for each team are given good prominence on the sidebar. I don’t think they necessarily need to be in the sidebar, but I think they are prioritized correctly.

What I hate:

  • Formatting is really hard to control when posting directly from the landing page, so you always need to log in to the dashboard to write a post and ensure that the formatting will be sane once you’ve posted something.
  • Section specific search isn’t labeled and could be more prominent. I’d move it and make it part of the subsection header I think.
  • Because the handbook plugin relies on heading tags to populate the topics menu, it makes it hard to format things that shouldn’t show up in this menu, but should be styled as content headings of some kind.

Things I’d Improve:

  • The font size in the sidebar is too small and needs to be bigger to improve legibility.
  • On a wider screen, the navigation and logo on the Make sites is just a little wider than the .org Logo and navigation above it. The blue box a lot of teams have is just a little wider than the Make navigation. I really want all of these things to be aligned.
  • It would be great if the topics menu in the handbook could be renamed to something else based on the needs of the team. Contextually, for team training, it would make more sense to call this section “outline” rather than “topics” or something like that.

“It would be nice to switch to the new P2. I hate the tiny font size, that would be fixed easily by that, along with a bunch of other things.”

“I have never been a fan of P2. Currently, my biggest complaint with Make sites is comment subscription. On Make/Themes, I find myself using admin/comments to keep up on recent comments. P2 seems to force subscription to a specific nest of comments only, rather than subscribing to all comments to a post. We need the ability to subscribe to all comments, in order to participate fully in discussions. I would also like to see user management made easier. Ideally, everyone in our team (Theme Review Team) should have at least contributor access to Make/Themes, and ideally, that would be a function of simply having a w.org username.”

“I have to use another Mozilla example: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/contribute/ that’s what we should be after. Praising some cool people or point people would be great as well, not only for current, but also for new volunteers as well. We did a great job with badges, why not go beyond that! Most of us are around since early 2010 doing this religiously, there has to be some type of recognition, they make people happy”

Styling conflicts for smaller devices, I usually read the make blogs on my mobile while on the go and there are distractions generated by styling issues. The overall feel is also that of a wireframe without any flesh to it (this is of course because of how p2 is made to look, simple and straight forward and that is good for an internal network but for a front facing arena where we want users to join in, this is not as inviting as it could be).”

The reading experience is not so great. As someone with less-than-stellar eyesight, I often find the text too small. Posts more than a paragraph long get tough to read. At one point, the Make teams where in a dropdown in the menu. So, a team was only one click away. Now, it’s two clicks. However, this isn’t a huge deal for me because I just bookmark the pages I visit often.”

“I hate P2. There, I said it. It’s too SMALL. And it gets messy when people don’t press REPLY to the comment. I wanted O2 🙁 I love it on the Jetpack Beta Testers. Can we have that?”

“Everything feels so scattered. (…) I always forget that there are other groups, or what group owns what. There’s just so much stuff swimming in a pool of whatever. Nothing really feels connected. If you don’t see a group announced there’s no easy way to find it, especially since I’m used to going directly to where I need to go.”

“As an admin for a team, the posting and reading experience is important. I find both a chore on make.blog. I also find the conversations hard to follow. Increasing the look and how people can discuss posts would help. I think we shouldn’t be afraid of team identities either. I’m not suggesting each is different, but we paint all in the same stroke which maybe we shouldn’t. My needs for the team are different being someone that tries to communicate to the team more. I do see people have trouble with the handbook design, the actual structure and navigation. Things get lost easily in the depths of make sites. I also think it would be nice to show off our contributors more. It’s a shame we only have a badge that may or may not appear on the profile. We seem to shy from recognising beyond core. Our project is about much more than core. I would like to see the entire make side more encouraging. I see choosing where you contribute as a reflection of your passion, a choosing of your WordPress adventure. We don’t really make that easy or exciting, engaging.”


Section 06 – Theme Directory

Q22. How often do you use the Theme Directory?

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Q23. Have you ever submitted a theme to the Theme Directory?

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I asked for those who answered yes to tell us a bit about their experience, here are some of the answers:

“Submitting is easy, waiting on theme to be reviewed, approved and mark live is hard and it takes forever.”

“Uploading ZIP files pretty much sucks. As a developer, I spend half my day using Git/SVN. Long wait times for getting a theme on the repository also takes most of the fun out of it. By the time my theme actually goes live, I’ve moved on to something else and am no longer excited about it. This is something we’re working on though (Theme Review Team).”

Q24. How easy is it to find relevant themes in the Theme Directory?

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Most comments mention the inadequacy of the theme tags and how that affects searching for themes. Here are a few of the answers:

“Find a nice looking photo theme that works really well. Go. Basically, it’s really hard to find the quality themes. There’s a ton of really sketchy themes. There are a ton of `Lite` themes that should be banned for the name alone.”

“Lots of really good themes get lost. Part of this is because the tags/filter system needs an overhaul. Part of it is because of the featured themes system is random instead of the TRT highlighting good themes. Part of it is because some theme authors are constantly working around the rules that everyone else follows to squeeze into the popular list. And, part of it is because the default “Twenty*” themes are constantly in the spotlight, even though they’re already packaged with WP.”

“The tags in the filter list are woefully outdated, and the results are all-or-nothing when using multiple filters. Search results are especially noisy.”

Q25. Thinking about the Theme Directory on WordPress.org, what do you like, what do you hate, and what would you improve?

24 out of 32 people answered this.

“I like the recent modifications. It’s consistent with the installed WordPress dashboard. I don’t like that the theme directory currently lacks the ability to green label contributors and a lack to sticky topics in the theme support sub-forums is a pain. There is a clear difference between the plugin dedicated sub-forums and the theme equivalent. Plugins and themes are different and they are handled just so. But IMHO the support forum integration for plugins is superior admin and user wise to the theme support sub-forums.”

“I like the new design and its speed. I’d like to see more screenshots of a theme because the live preview is terrible.”

Better example content when previewing. Include a gallery.”

“Most of the things I have problems with, we’re already at least discussing solutions. I would especially like to see readme.txt parsing on par with the Plugin directory.”

“I hate the preview. Having a single theme preview for all themes makes the preview almost worthless.”

“I’m not all that interested in the downloads per day stats, why this is so prominent and focus-stealing on the theme details page, updating this to maybe have detailed stats in a tab by it self or similar, and instead showing relevant data like active installs like plugins would be handy (perhaps even “active pages” that shows a count of sites using the theme, not just having the theme available).”

“In short, we need a system that fairly showcases good themes that often get no time in the spotlight. There’s a lot of really good stuff people are putting out there only to lose interest after a theme or two because they only get a few downloads.”

“[…] There is just so much garbage. The majority of themes are made by premium theme companies trying to upsell users with their shitty themes with hundreds of shitty options. It’s an embarrassment. There are no design standards. You have to wade through dozens of (…) themes to get anything relevant. The feature filters are also totally useless. Improve: Honestly, I think we should just nuke all the shitty themes and make it a place for people to find the best examples of free themes in the community. Either that, or focus on the good stuff — and have someone responsible for that decision that takes the heat and tell angry, mediocre theme creators to deal with it. (…)”


Section 07 – Plugin Directory

Q26. How often do you use the Plugin Directory?

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Q27. Do you currently have a plugin in the directory?

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I asked for those who answered yes to tell us a bit about their experience, here are some of the answers:

“Early on it was difficult because I didn’t understand how SVN worked. I’d love to see a good guide built for new plugin authors. It should cover how to submit a plugin, how to upload an approved plugin, how to maintain it, and how to support it.”

“[…] There some pretty terrible workflow experiences in actually submitting a plugin and then getting it off and running once it’s been approved. The submission form: you have to host a zip of your plugin somewhere else, which has always seemed weird, the least they could do is make a suggestion on where to upload it if not just allow uploading it to the site with some kind of spam safeguard in place. After being approved, the process for getting up and running could be a lot better, but that might just be a documentation problem. I shouldn’t have to look in the FAQ, there should be a page outlining a checklist, e.g. format size your banner and icon with these settings, go here for a primer on subversion, here are some tips for providing good support, etc.”

“The only issue I have is that I wish I could just point you to my GitHub repo and update the plugin. I’m comfortable with SVN. GitHub has really done what I think WP should’ve done ages ago, which is make the coding experience a social experience. That’s why many developers have taken to it.”

“[…] The only pain point is the wait time between submission and the SVN repo being created, though for me (a trusted author) this is generally a matter of hours rather than days.”

Q28. How easy is it to find relevant plugins in the Plugin Directory?

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Most of the comments revolved around the tags used in the plugin not being optimal, and subsequently the lack of search filtering. Here are some of them:

“Most of the time I’m looking for a plugin I don’t know what to look for. Many plugins don’t do a good job in adding the right tags, or at least tags that users would look for.”

“Search isn’t great. Up-leveling new, interesting plugins doesn’t happen. We could do to have some more filters that allowed for easier / better discovery.”

“There are a *lot* of plugins in the directory, and there aren’t very many filtering tools for searches. Being able to set a sort or filter by ratings, etc., would be helpful.”

Keyword search in not so relevant and misspelled words return nothing, that’s not good. We have people form all over the world, where English is not a first, so if somebody searches for “weding” we need to do what Google does for example: “Showing results for wedding Search instead for weding” or something like that.”

Q29. Thinking about the Plugin Directory on WordPress.org, what do you like, what do you hate, and what would you improve?

24 out of 32 people answered this question. Here are some of the most relevant answers:

“I like the plugin directory. I use the plugin directory it’s authors, plugin contributors, sticky in the support forums for that plugin, etc. as an example of good integration of systems.I think a little expansion on the green label would be an improvement. Right now the plugins have “author” and “contributor” but many times there’s a “support” person who does not have or need access to that plugin’s SVN repo. Having the authors being able to assign accounts for official support would help the users.”

“I’d love to be able to update some stuff without pushing to the svn repo — like Plugin Name, supported versions of Core, etc. A panel in the plugin admin would be much appreciated.”

“I would like more quality control. I’m aware of the problems inherent in accomplishing this, but it would make the directory more useful.”

“It serves my limited needs. Rating, number of installs, compatibility, and last updated are on each plugin card. That’s the information I most want to see at a glance when deciding whether to try a plugin. When I drill down, I’m primarily interested in description, screenshots, and a changelog. I want to see evidence that the plugin is up-to-date and maintained.”

“Improve search results. Determine Plugin compatibility based on major, rather than minor, WordPress version (e.g. “compatibility with WordPress 4.2.x” rather than “compatibility with WordPress 4.3.1” being separate from “compatibility with WordPress 4.3.2”). Improve the ratings/review system. Allow the developer to dispute a support issue that is left as a bad rating, rather than as a support question, or ratings left in bad faith, etc. There simply isn’t a critical mass of reviews/ratings for the vast majority of Plugins to ensure that such things will even out.”

“It should be a directory that you can actually browse. Try browsing the directory now for a certain category of plugins. Good luck with that. http://proplugindirectory.com is doing a great job at creating a directory that can actually be browsed.”

“The WordPress version compatibility area grinds my gears, this field feels like it is rarely used by anyone any more. Also plugins who haven’t fixed their screenshots so they are downloaded instead of viewable, actually, the inability to click a screenshot and see a larger version without navigating away from the plugin page altogether!”

“We need to get it off the old bbPress and onto WordPress, like we did for the themes directory. Big job, admittedly. But one that I feel will help out in the long run.”

“Featured plugins need an overhaul. I kind of get tired of seeing the same plugins all the time.”

“I wish you could update plugin images and write FAQs from a UI in the directory, rather than having to update your plugin.”


Section 08 – Support

This section of the survey looks at WordPress.org/support

Q30. How often do you provide support (answer questions) in the Support Forums?

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Q31. How often do you seek support (ask questions) in the Support Forums?

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Q32. How often do you leave feedback on a theme or plugin in the Support Forums?

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Q33. When you’re looking for answers, do you search the Support Forums?

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We followed this one up with a prompt for comment: “If yes, do you find the answer you’re looking for? If no, what do you do next?”. A large majority of comments mention using Google/third-party. Here are some of the answers:

“I often find the topic or post I am looking for but I use a third party search engine to do that.”

“I search the support forums, but I more frequently search the WordPress StackExchange, because the answers I would normally search are much more developer-oriented.”

“Sometimes, it depends on what I’m searching for. It’s usually development questions, which i get better results for at wordpress.stackexchange.com or general dev blogs. I don’t really ever search for beginner WP questions, which I feel like it mostly what the forums are geared towards.”

“I often search the codex, or the developer pages.”

Q34. Thinking about the Support Forums on WordPress.org, what do you like, what do you hate, and what would you improve?

23 out of 32 people answered this question. Here are some of the most relevant answers:

“I’m easy: I’d like to see the support forums moved to a current version of bbPress. I know this is in progress. As a forum moderator I’ve adjusted how I look at the backend admin page and how I answer or provide support. I’ve adjusted so it’s difficult for me to say “this should be easier or that should be improved”. One thing I would like to see is moderator only visible notes for accounts. Occasionally someone will tag a user as bozo and other moderators will need to figure out why. Which isn’t hard to do but notes would be helpful.

“The forums are okay, but mostly you get sent off to the Codex for answers. User docs could be integrated together much more closely. The forums themselves look and feel pretty old and dead, even if they’re active. And when I really need answers, I use Google because search is pretty atrocious.”

Lack of usable support forum search tools is the biggest hate. I’d love to have some kind of privileges between moderator and user; support 12 plugins, I hit the speed limiting warning *constantly*. When you have limited time, having to wait 30 seconds to post “Thanks!” is extremely tedious. It would also be nice to be able to close threads, so that I could put a stop to people jumping on old threads with problems vaguely similar to their own.”

“The forums are an excellent resource, especially/primarily for end users. I would like to see something more developer-focused, like WPSE, in-house.”

“Design is not so great. Any support volunteer should have a real avatar, not pictures of their dogs, cats etc. Make it more personal.”

“I generally like that there are a variety of forums that cater to different groups, but the downside of that is that there isn’t really a lot of direction for some of the more obscure forums (like Requests and Feedback). Are those all reviews? Is that feedback for the makers of WordPRess or makers of themes or plugins?”

“The overall layout kind of irks me. Has for years. Just gotten used to it, I guess. It’s also badly organized, but we did what we could with what we had at the time. If it comes down to a revamp and migration to WP and bbPress 2, then there will need to be a lot of structural changes taking place, to form better integration with the plugin and themes directory.”

“[…] As a plugin author / plugin support person the forums are sadly lacking… there are no real tools for plugin authors to provide quality support. Although there are some additional options under a “Moderator” privilege level account that is not granular enough to provide those options to the author of the plugin for their specific forum(s). […]  Support for repository plugins is expected to be served via the forums but there are many cases where deeper access to user sites is required and not being able to make a topic private and/or provide a method to safely share credentials if necessary forces support off the forums and thus possibly losing valuable help topics (not to mention the search functionality probably would still not find it). […] Better code snippet (markdown options?) may also be helpful as well.”

“For plugin forums, I usually try to get people to use the GitHub issues tracker. It’s much easier for me to manage. For a plugin developer the amount of tickets is sometimes overwhelming.”

“I only really go into them when asked to for an issue with the theme review. My experience therefore is of a diving in nature. I think improving the mobile experience is crucial. Forums and trac are things that are actually useful to have fully functional on mobile.”


Section 09 – Documentation

Q35. How often do you contribute to the Documentation on WordPress.org?

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Q36. Which documentation do you contribute to?

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“Other Option” included “plan.wordcamp.org, various official plugins” and a couple of “none” (even tho this wasn’t mandatory). WordCamp.org isn’t a part of the scope of this survey, that’s why it wasn’t included in the options.

Q37. How frequently do you use the documentation on WordPress.org?

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There was a follow up with “Do you ever find useful information?”. It mostly showed the confusion around the transition to the new Developer Reference from the old Codex. Some comments:

“Often. I use both the Codex and the Developer Reference (weaning myself off of the former, and onto the latter). Note: I mostly search for function/API references, and use the w.org documentation as quick links to relevant core files.”

“The page I reference most frequently is the PHP Documentation page on the core contributor handbook, which I also find to be woefully incomplete, but I’m probably barking up the wrong tree by mentioning it here :)”

“I still find the most useful information to be in the codex … I don’t see the developer handbooks as improvements except in aesthetics.”

“Yes, I do. Though sometimes things are out of date and it’s hard to figure out what is and is not right sometimes.”

Q38. When you are trying to find documentation, what method do you use?

30 out of 32 people answered this question. Looking at the most used words, I find, in order, “Google”, “Search”, and “codex” – which in this case say a lot about the data in the answers. Here are some of the most relevant answers:

“I usually search with Google and then pick the documentation page from .org in the results.”

“Search with Google first, manual navigation second. With the codex, I usually find that if I can remember the name of a related function to what I want to do, I can search that then navigate to the function I actually want. Overall, I find the codex to be more useful than the code documentation, due to the explanations and code samples. This is less relevant to me now than it was 5 years ago, but the fact remains that the code documentation includes very few examples still.”

“First Google then developer.wordpress.org, codex and occasionally forums.”

Q39. Do you find the documentation on WordPress.org to be reliable?

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Some interesting comments to this:

“The Codex (bad word, I know) normally has good info and examples. But it really depends on the API. If it’s something like add_filter() then the docs are good and go back a ways. But if it’s a new api addition then the documentation may be spotty.”

“There’s some pretty glaring security issues in some codex examples. Or used to be anyways.”

“If we’re talking about the handbooks and devhub then yes. Codex? No way.”

“The codex isn’t perfect, it’s a wiki. But, it has a ton of useful stuff. Sometimes people point out issues, and I go correct them. More usually, I’m searching for a specific article with instructions to pass to somebody else. That exists there in spades.”

“There are still out-dated references in the codex but for the most part it is the most accurate. The developer handbooks appear to be for the most part just scrapes of the internal documentation which server little purpose if you are also looking for examples

Q.40 Thinking about the Documentation on WordPress.org, what do you like, what do you hate, and what would you improve?

26 out of 32 people answered this question. Here are some of the most relevant answers:

“Like many I’d like to see the Codex replaced with a knowledge base that includes integrated search. I’d also improve the amount of documentation but that’s difficult. It needs contributors and writing good documentation is hard work. I’ve never done it myself but do enjoy when it’s there.”

“Docs are everywhere, are of questionable quality (questionable because sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s shitty), are hard to find, and don’t acknowledge contributors at all. We could do better on all fronts.”

“I think it would be really useful to include a notation with each documentation piece that indicates when it was last verified to be correct. E.g. “Compatible since 3.7″. Notations similar to those found in the plugin directory would be useful for users to help evaluate whether what they are looking at still applies.”

“I’d like to have only primary code documentation source, but neither the codex nor the code documentation are currently sufficient. If these sources could be merged and the codex updated, that would be awesome. Better search of the codex would help, for now, and some integration between the codex and the developer documentation.”

“Make sure all function/class/API reference pages have core source file links. Some function references could improve on detail of function input parameters and outputs. Again, though: since, if I run into an issue, it is usually because I’m looking up the function, it’s often easy enough to go to core source, then add the inline documentation to the w.org documentation (which I try to remember to do).”

“One thing is consistency, we have docs, handbooks and codex still exist. We should keep one and redirect old.”

“DevHub user contributed notes need work, they need to be more distinct (not sure how to describe it properly, they just feel…smushed in there). They could also do with being made more obvious, there’s currently no way of discovering DevHub unless you discover a codex page linking to it, which means you’ve already used site navigation to view the “outdated” documentation.”

“The distinction between DevHub and the Codex is confusing, even to me, and I understand their respective histories. It would be nice to have a clearer statement of their purposes, and to migrate relevant content away from the Codex. The Handbooks continue to be a great idea, though they’re incomplete and inconsistent with respect to their level of detail. (I know that assembling these handbooks is a yeoman’s task.)”

“I’d like to see more work on explaining JS-related stuff. As someone with a primarily PHP-based background, I’ve always found the docs adequate. Now that WP has a lot more JS in it, I often get a bit lost.”

“Codex – with improved aesthetics and more curation would be ideal. Developer Handbook – has the improved aesthetics but lacks the depth of the codex. Merge the two together and it would most likely be the ideal place to find WordPress documentation”


Section 10 – Showcase

Q41. How often do you visit the “Showcase” section on WordPress.org?

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Q42. Thinking about the “Showcase” section on WordPress.org, what do you like, what do you hate, and what would you improve?

22 out of 32 people answered this question. Here are some of the most relevant answers:

“I’d have to look again. I think the design is pretty meh though. We could make the images bigger and perhaps introduce “case studies” if they make sense.”

“[…] Making tag pages better – giving them a nice design. Visual archive page (vs. just a list)Country pages (could be just a tag page) but some additional info on the country usage / perhaps a link to Rosetta sites”

“First impression feedback. Too much information combined into a very small horizontal space, for example https://wordpress.org/showcase/i-love-typography/ it’s one big blob and could do with some separations.”

“I’ve only been to it a few times before. I once tried to submit a site for it, and I never heard anything back

“Sliders are so passé. But other than that I think it’s much better than the theme section. Just not the single pages. I mean… four columns? https://wordpress.org/showcase/adobe-blogs/”

“Sometimes I browse through it if I’m looking for examples of nice WordPress sites, but that aside it doesn’t really seem that useful. The design kind of sucks, too.”


Section 11 – Mobile

This relates to the section of the site in WordPress.org/mobile

Q43. How often do you visit the “Mobile” section on WordPress.org?

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Q44. Thinking about the “Mobile” section on WordPress.org, what do you like, what do you hate, and what would you improve?

17 out of 32 people answered this question. This makes since since the vast majority of the people in this survey “never” visit this page. Here are some of the most relevant answers:

“I’d just remove it. No reason for it to exist, really.”

Once I navigate from /mobile/ to apps.wordpress.org, I’m on a different site with nav that does not help me back to wordpress.org. I wish beta testing information was available. Every time I setup a new phone I have to go hunting own the beta programs to get on the beta track. I often wish the release announcements on https://apps.wordpress.org/blog/ were on https://wordpress.org/news/ so that I’d notice them.”

“Why don’t we just redirect this to apps.wordpress.org straight away?”

Never seen the point of it being a top-level menu item, to be honest. People don’t look at websites for mobile apps, they search their app stores. It’s needless advertising that serves no real purpose on the main site. Could probably integrate the info into the download section instead.”

“The design is an interesting experiment, but really doesn’t fit in with the rest of W.org.”

It’s pretty terrible and all the content links to https://apps.wordpress.org/ which is a big ad for WordPress.com (though really well designed).”


Section 12 – Hosting

This relates to the section of the site in WordPress.org/hosting

Q45. How often do you visit the “Hosting” section on WordPress.org?

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Q46. Thinking about the “Hosting” section on WordPress.org, what do you like, what do you hate, and what would you improve?

21 out of 32 people answered this question. Here are some of the most relevant answers:

“It’s not really useful. I think that having hosts there undermines the fact that WordPress is free. Aren’t those ads, or at least the provider is paying for the opportunity to be listed there? It’s just one host currently, which is really odd. But even when there were a handful, it still made it seem like WordPress can only be run in a few places when it can be run everywhere.”

“Migrating to a decision tree about what hosting company is the best fit for the user in question, as they’re not one size fits all.”

“quite plain, and it would be nice for some info on what to look for in a host.”

I see no real value to this section (besides perhaps some sponsorship funds to help keep wordpress.org operating), there’s only one host listed, and it’s the same on that’s been listed for as long as I can remember. I see you are now revamping this, but I don’t think we can reliably cover all the possible choices in a fair and unbiased manner, there’s just too many options and considerations to be made in the hosting world now.”


Section 13 – About

This relates to the section of the site in WordPress.org/about

Q47. How often do you visit the “About” section on WordPress.org?

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Q48. What are you looking for when you visit the “About” section of WordPress.org?

Generally people seem to use this to fetch quick references, either about licensing, release cycles, history of the project, or the brand (logos, colors). The general consensus is that the whole section feels outdated. A small sampling of the comments:

“I rarely visit the “About” page, when I do it’s to reference something there such as https://wordpress.org/about/license/ or https://wordpress.org/about/philosophy/ in a topic reply. It looks dated but that’s mostly because it is. “Dated” being a subjective thing…”

Usually I’m looking for a logo, or guidance on logo usage, as it comes up in videos we mod at wptv, and I do use the “W” logo to design from in my projects.”

“Most of the time I visit the “About” page to grab logos and official graphics and color hex codes. Less-frequently, it’s to grab the link to the security white paper for somebody, or to gawk at the incredibly outdated contributors list in the sidebar.”

Q49. Thinking about the “About” section on WordPress.org, what do you like, what do you hate, and what would you improve?

20 out of 32 people answered this question. Here are some of the most relevant answers:

“It doesn’t really feel that useful in it’s current state. I don’t know how important About pages are, but this one doesn’t really tell a story. It does mention the history of WordPress and what it does, but it’s pretty dry.”

“I think we should use WordPress to run it, rather than static HTML.”

“[…] I’d like to see an updated list of contributors in this section, and maybe some information about how you can help to evangelize WordPress instead of just read all about it.”

“I find it very densely populated. The focus on core to the side feels dated too. WordPress is about far more than core and I”m not even sure how up to date those people are. […] It really should immerse me in WordPress. I want this to show it’s an exciting, lively and highly contributed to project. The current about page doesn’t do that. Beyond that, the current site doesn’t.”


Section 14 – Blog

This relates to the section of the site in WordPress.org/news

Q50. How often do you visit the “Blog” on WordPress.org?

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Q51. Are you subscribed to the “Blog” on WordPress.org via email?

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Q52. Thinking about the “Blog” on WordPress.org, what do you like, what do you hate, and what would you improve?

22 out of 32 people answered this question. Here are some of the most relevant answers:

“It’s just release announcements. Engaging only a few times a year.”

“I still haven’t figured out how to subscribe to get email updates for the blog, so I rely on Twitter to tell me when there are new things instead.”

“I hate everything. The font-size, the typography, the colors, the left-over bits like “Comments closed” text that shouldn’t be there. Ugh!”

“I go there for release posts only. I’d love to see frequent posts on the WordPress.org blog highlighting ways WordPress is being used.”

“Pet peeve number one: It’s really hard to subscribe to the News blog. I can’t remember how I finally managed to do it, but it might’ve been by doing it manually in wp.com subscription settings or something. There needs to be an obvious method to sign-up for updates. I’ve always thought it was a little bit weird that comments were disabled, but I can certainly understand why they are. Search is missing. I know the correct answer is probably to use the site-wide .org search, but that doesn’t feel obvious. There’s visual divide between the dark header and the light rest-of-the-site. My first inclination would not be to use the global search to search the blog. The link text to the make/core blog says “development P2 blog”. I’m pretty sure the majority of people have no idea what a “P2” blog is. Last thing, if we’re going to feature content from a list of specific sites in the WordPress News widget in the Dashboard, we should probably also feature them in the sidebar here since this is likely how most people arrived at this screen in the first place.”

It should be a blog about the entire project, not just core. It should be where people touch base to find out everything about the WordPress project. It should also be more than just releases. I would love it to be more alive, it feels not alive and that’s a shame considering how active WordPress as a project is. It’s crucial we seem to be active and alive to get the future generations of contributors.”


Section 15 – Speak Your Mind!

This is probably the most intense part of the survey. A lot of room to write freely about what you love and hate globally on the WordPress.org sites. These were mandatory, so everyone had to write something in 😛

Q53. Here’s some space. What do you really, really hate about WordPress.org?

Let’s get all the bad stuff out of the way first. People are venting here, so keep an open mind and read beyond the frustrations and apparent tone.

“The entire site is incoherent. Everything feels separate from everything else. I wish it was one site, with one vision, and one focus. Sure, we all do different things, but the general message and flow of the site could be much more cohesive.”

“It just feels really out of date. Very dark and stark. If I was learning about WordPress for the first time, it would set the worst kind of tone. WordPress as a project and a community of developers/users is so vibrant. I feel like we could do more to cash in on that on our main site.”

“That it ‘can’t’ be updated because of the underlying technology…let’s get it on WordPress!

“Inconsistencies in flow in different parts of the site. Why should a P2 blog look different than the main blog, for example? I think the typography needs to be bigger in lots of places to encourage legibility. 11 or 12px is just way too small.”

“hate that featured plugins never change. Featured plugins should change every single month. I review plugin submissions to .org and would happily help select new plugins to feature every month. We could give plugin authors an amazing amount of exposure by letting them be featured every now and then, instead we ignore them and just show the same 5 plugins forever […]. It’s a horrible opportunity that we’re not utilizing. The other system I hate is the plugin review system. It’s impossible for multiple people to review plugin submissions at the same time. We need a system like the theme review team has.”

The mishmash of software and the confusion that can cause going from screen to screen, software to software, sometimes having to reauthenticate, sometimes not, sometimes ending up on profile, sometimes on another one. Consistency would be a breath of fresh air here. Also, Open Sans. It’s great for blogs or some handbooks, but terrible for technical documentation.”

“I mentioned in a previous answer the lack of a social coding experience for plugins/themes. It may be too late to make that change as so many have moved over to GitHub. I’m not sure I care much anymore. For the longest time, this was a huge frustration. Theme authors need some of the stuff plugin authors get. As both a plugin and theme author, it sucks when I can’t sticky a forum topic in my theme forum or subscribe to its topics. And, themes need at least SVN access. Also, having to update a “readme.txt” file to change the “Compatible up to” for a plugin is the worst possible experience ever. With 30+ plugins, I just don’t do it.”

“That we don’t use WordPress for the front page. That so much of it feels bolted on, there’s little consistency. That it’s a horror show to work on, with lumps of code running in completely random places. That most of the code isn’t open source.”

“THE CSS. The entire theme(s). It’s just so old and sad and terrible to update and such a shit hole and trying to contribute to make it better is ridiculous, like, okay, I guess I’ll install some browser extension to apply styles and then send you those styles to integrate but that just sucks, and the people working on .org itself are wonderful, fantastic, beautiful people, but not a single one of them is a front-end developer and that is painfully obvious. Otherwise, the navigation is just… so confusing. Things get lost. There’s no consistency.”

The experience on mobile. This goes beyond phone or using on the go. I also hate the experience on a wifi connection using a tablet. There is little thought for performance or adaption. The experience is just a squeezed down one. The content doesn’t adapt, the entire experience is just squeezed into the smaller screen.”

Q54. If you could wave a magic wand to improve the WordPress.org site without any constraints, what would you change?

A complete design refresh with the entire site powered by WordPress.”

“Move the swag shop to be WooCommerce and run by .org. Run the root site under WordPress, not the hacked up php that currently runs it. let some plugin details be updatable by admins on the plugin page, not requiring a svn commit.”

“Consistent design and navigation; single profile page; ability to filter search by section; better mobile experience.”

Even with a unified header/menu, w.org still feels disjointed. Also, other project resources, such as wordcamp.org and wordpress.tv, are still separate. It would be useful to have everything under one banner, and interconnected as much as possible. Speaking as a team admin, there are far too many credential types to maintain. To be a Theme Review Team admin, credentials involve Make/Themes (wp admin), Theme-Trac (admins group), Theme Directory admin, Forums (moderator), and Handbook (edit). Having all of these unified would make life so much easier.”

“Make it look more like https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/”

A better way to provide recognition to contributors, there are so many, and I have no idea how to properly do this, but currently we only truly “recognize” the ones who get props in core releases, but WordPress is so much more than that by now and it would be fantastic to show off all the fantastic people we have in our community.”

“Replace Trac with something better”

“Move everything to WordPress. If we have the best CMS, let’s eat our own dogfood. Trac should be replaced with an issue tracker built on WP. The support forums should run on bbPress (plugin) or another forum plugin for WP. WordPress.org should be run by WordPress. I’d create an official, commercial marketplace for themes/plugins.”

“Set it up as a container on GitHub, so anyone can easily contribute.”

I’d move themes and plugins into their own marketplace with its own design. It would be heavily curated to highlight solid plugins that work really well. It would be constantly changing. It would have curated collections.[…]”

“Rework each major section into its own sub-site with one overarching design/navigation structure. Give designers more control and let us work on the site itself. Make it easy for us to contribute.”

Q55. Lastly, is there anything about WordPress.org that should absolutely never change? What’s your favorite feature?

There’s not a lot of critical feedback here to share, mostly the answers say something in the vein of “nothing’s sacred” – most interviewees can’t single out something that should never change. There are some very strongly opinionated comments that it should all change tho. There’s some “feel-good” answers around keeping the freedoms of the project and GPL! <3

One particularly good thing mentioned that shouldn’t change:

“Dion’s title.”

😀


That’s all folks!

If you made it this far, you should win something!! Well, you win the right to share your opinion about these results, how about that?

Thanks to @samuelsidler for pushing me to pursue this, @lessbloat for guidance, @karmatosed, @sonjanyc, and @designsimply for help with questions, and to all the people who filled out the survey.

This will serve as reference for future projects. Some already started have gotten inspiration from the data here (like the “Get WordPress” page). If you have questions about this, feel free to ping me or leave a comment here.

#design, #research, #ux