Discussion about allowing themes to use onboarding functionality

A few weeks ago, in a meeting, we were talking about allowing onboarding functionality and we had an interesting suggestion to make a guest post on the blog. Your opinions on this topic are welcomed.

Author: Themeisle

Discuss setup/onboarding wizard guidelines for themes

Hello! We would like to bring into discussion our approach for onboarding users for our one page theme, Neve, which is submitted for review here https://themes.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/60623.

We would like to know TRT’s opinion, and hopefully, through an open discussion with users and theme authors, find better ways of onboarding users, in every theme. Our solution is not perfect, but we think it’s a good starting point for this discussion.

The mechanism

Immediately after activating the theme, you are taken to the Setup Wizard where you are presented with some demos that you can preview or/and import with a single click. The wizard takes you through all the necessary steps to set up your site fast, from just one place!
The wizard is dismissable, so you can choose to use it, or just skip it.


Our reasons

1. Not all the themes are the same, and because of that, we feel that theme authors (same as plugin authors) should be able to guide their users towards the best UX path possible.
In the case of a One Page theme, there is no point in enabling latest posts as default, as 99% of the users actually want the One Page frontpage.
In the case of Neve, we have built a theme with multiple potential front-pages, this is how the theme is presented and what the users expect to get from it.

2. If this is a problem, we can make much clear/easier to understand in the onboarding that the user can keep the latest posts option, maybe add a “standard” site library that user can pick and be directed to the customizer for e.g, like “I want the default blog listing frontpage”. If we auto-start without this option, we agree it might get a bit confusing.

3. WooCommerce is already doing this and we think they have a good reason for it ( or they don’t know what’s best for their users ).
Allowing theme authors to do this, would allow us to do lots of things for an improved UX, guide users with not only the demos sites but maybe with the style, fonts, plugins and much more. Sure, we would first need to agree that WordPress core hasn’t adapted to new WordPress uses, otherwise this should have been already there, but at least as plugin authors can, we think we should leave theme authors deliver the best UX for each particular theme.

4. We found out that 99% of the existing Neve sites use the demo provided in the onboarding. We think this is a good indicator of what the users actually want, and think that requiring 99% of the users to take an extra step to set up their site, only so that the remaining 1% don’t have to take an extra step of skipping the onboarding is not in the best interest of the user.