WordPress User/Developer Survey: clarifying goals

Thanks to everyone who made suggestions on the previous post about updating the WordPress User & Developer Survey! Commenters shared lots of ideas as well as some wise words about survey design and data collection. There are plenty of questions we could ask, and it became clear to me immediately that the best way to move forward would be to clarify the goals of the survey. Once we’re settled on what we’d like to learn, we can use those goals to direct and inform the questions we ask.

Clarifying goals

The goal of this survey is to learn more about who uses WordPress, and how they use it — data that we can’t gather anywhere else — so we can build better software. Here is an outline detailing sections of questions, with some thoughts on what contributor teams would find each section useful:

  1. Who are the people currently using WordPress? (all teams)
  2. How do people find WordPress, and why do they decide to use it? (marketing, community, design, accessibility)
  3. What do people want to accomplish when they use WordPress? (core, design, accessibility, training)
  4. What do people find difficult when using WordPress? (support, docs, training, community, core, design, accessibility)
  5. What tools would make people happier when using WordPress? (themes, plugins, core, design/a11y, support)
  6. How do people extend or customize WordPress? (plugins, themes, design/a11y)

Once people answer questions in the above categories, we can offer an additional set of questions designed for WordPress contributors, past and present. Presumably a contributor will be willing to give a little extra time to the survey, since they have a closer relationship with WordPress than non-contributors. We could probably use the list of questions asked in the 2015 Contributor Experience Survey as a starting point; it seems like a pretty comprehensive start.

Early request for help in promoting the survey

Mentioning this now so that marketers can plan ahead: this year I’d like to promote the survey more widely than we have in the past.

We’ve always promoted the survey through a banner on WordPress.org, plus an article on WordPress News and through word of mouth. This has been successful in the past, but less so in recent years. In 2015*, 45,997 people filled out the survey, but in 2016 and 2017, less than 10,000 responses came in. We won’t have time to add a notice to everyone’s dashboard (even if everyone agreed that would be wise), so this year I’d like to ask everyone to help promote the survey through as many channels as they have available to them.

Here are some ways you can help:

  1. Promote the survey in your or your company’s newsletter.
  2. Write a blog post about the survey.
  3. Mention it on social media.
  4. Encourage people at your local WordPress meetup to take the survey. (Heck, organize a take-the-survey event, and then discuss the questions afterwards! Easy meetup idea!) 
  5. Mention the survey to the audience of your podcast.
  6. Remind people who attend the meetings of your contributor team to take the survey.

Next Steps

Based on feedback on the broad goals of the survey, I’ll work up a survey draft, incorporating questions we asked in past surveys as well as new questions, which I’ll then publish on this site for additional feedback.

Request for feedback

  1. Do the sections above seem reasonable (if the goal is to get an idea of who uses WordPress and how they use it)?
    1. If so, is there any particular item on this list that would help your contributor team make more strategic decisions in 2020? 
    2. If not, what would be the most useful thing for your team to know about who and how people are using WordPress?
  2. Do you have any other suggestions for ways people can promote this survey?

* There were 27,662,162 active WordPress installations as of Dec 24, 2015.