A new WordPress content editing experience—Gutenberg—is coming soon to WordPress core, and 10up’s User Experience team is eager to understand how it will impact the experience for content creators. As a starting point, I created a usability test to study the experiences of professional, digital content publishers who are used to writing stories in the current editor. Building on other Gutenberg usability tests that focused on re-creating a prescribed layout, I instead asked professional writers to produce the same kind of content they already produce every day: write a simple story.
The user test asked ten participants to complete the following prompt:
Write a news-style blog post about somewhere interesting you have visited. Please include the following elements in your post:
- A title
- A paragraph or two about the place
- An image
- An extra item such as a video or blockquote
These tests were taken with Gutenberg 2.9.2 (the current build at the time the test was created). As of this post, the current version is 3.0.1.
During the unmoderated test, participants described what they were thinking as they progressed through the task. Their words and screen movements were recorded with permission.
Sketch, a digital design app for macOS, enables the the rapid creation of wireframes using libraries of symbols and and reusable design elements. 10up has extended these capabilities with SketchPress: a library of WordPress admin interfaces, symbols, and icons. When wireframing admin interfaces, SketchPress frees up our designers’ time to focus on big picture problem solving and user experience challenges, rather than the repetitive minutia of button treatments and existing page layouts.
Recently, SketchPress was recognized as the preferred admin wireframing resource by Make WordPress Design – the official core WordPress design team – and is now listed on their official Trello project board. This endorsement validates the utility of the project while inspiring us to continue iterating. We value feedback, contribution, and adoption by the community as we seek to share high quality open-source design resources as part of our commitment to openness and giving back.
Getting started with SketchPress
Download SketchPress from GitHub and open it in Sketch. You’ll see a number of pages down the left side of the interface. The first page is an introduction to the document and outlines information about what is included. If you plan to regularly use SketchPress, you’ll probably want to set it up in the templates folder: clone or download the repo directly into the Sketch templates folder, and you can to begin a new Sketch wireframe from the newly-saved template. Add or remove elements to begin modeling WordPress admin interfaces.
This week, I’ll be in Belgrade, Serbia with a few of my fellow 10uppers for WordCamp Europe 2018, Europe’s largest annual WordPress conference, which attracts more than 2,000 participants.
The next major release of WordPress is slated to include Gutenberg, a new content writing/editing experience that will change how we craft content inside of WordPress by modernizing the interface and increasing control over the layout and structure of pages and posts. 10up is actively contributing to the development of Gutenberg and is deploying it for some of our clients, and we’d like to better understand how professional content creators will perceive and adopt to the change.
We’re conducting a professional usability study on the current build of Gutenberg. Our goal is to augment existing user testing to better understand a particular subset of the user base: professionals who write and edit relatively standard, news-style content inside of WordPress. We want to observe how this audience perceives and adjusts to this new experience by watching them use it to create some basic content. Our ideal participant has experience creating content with WordPress, and brings a reasonably fresh and unbiased experience to Gutenberg.
Would you like to help us?
At 10up, we have a history of open sourcing tools that help WordPress engineers practice their craft. One year ago, we introduced WP Local Docker, a lightweight local development alternative to VVV, another popular project started by 10up. A more recent project, WP Snapshots, efficiently pushes project snapshots into the cloud.
As we increasingly used WP Local Docker and WP Snapshots in conjunction, we discovered some technical obstacles that could make WP Snapshots difficult to use. We realized that bundling the two projects would solve those problems and offer value to anyone already using both projects.
This weekend, catch me and 6 of my fellow 10uppers at WordCamp London 2018, an annual WordPress conference supported in part by our Academy Sponsorship. On Sunday, I’ll be talking about Applying Design To Complex Problems alongside one of our UK clients, Press Association. Later that afternoon, Front End Engineer Daine Mawer presents, “Developing WordPress for Limited Bandwidth.” Those taking a break from the sessions can stop by the 10up sponsor table and learn more our growing 10up Europe team.
One year ago, the popular government policy magazine Open Access Government stated, “Accessibility for all is not an option – it’s a fundamental right.” Creating equal access to digital content, regardless of age, size, ability, or disability, has always been a priority for 10up; it is inseparable from our mission to make a better internet for everyone. Creating accessible interfaces for our projects is consistent with our commitment to the principles of Universal Design. Because of this, we have updated the accessibility standards contained in our Engineering Best Practices to require all projects to have a baseline accessibility compliance goal of WCAG 2.0 Level A.
As a regular open source contributor committed to making a better web, it seemed to me that a native AMP implementation of the MathML standard would solve our client’s layout problem and help other developers and site owners. After a bit of background research, I opened an issue on Google’s open source AMP HTML project.
With a prompt and warm welcome, Google’s team accepted my feature request. This being an open source project, I volunteered to help; my offer was greeted with enthusiasm and some tips.
In our seventh year, we built on our investment in culture and storytelling by expanding our team and depth of services, and by redoubling our investments in open source and creativity.
We welcomed more than 30 new clients to our portfolio in another record sales year. We launched new websites along with web and mobile apps for major brands across verticals as diverse as finance, healthcare, academia, high-tech, big media, consumer packaged goods, food and beverage, and fitness… to name a few.
In a milestone event, we completed an acquisition of Lift UX, a boutique, Emmy-nominated agency that focused on user experience for design-driven websites powered by WordPress. Intended to strengthen our experience design expertise and resources, this investment added executive design leadership and expanded our portfolio of design stories.
A renewed approach to our All Hands Summit yielded our largest and most memorable team event to date. Held in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, our team gathered from around the world to take over a former Carmelite convent for a week of learning, sharing, building memories together, uniting around company goals, and celebrating our successes. Among the conference highlights, we held our first client panel, featuring leaders from companies like Microsoft, McClatchy, and Beasley Radio sharing insights on agency partnerships.