The WordPress Design Team recently had an in-depth conversation in Github about enhancing the publisher flow in Gutenberg. After watching Gutenberg go through several iterations since our last user test, I decided to try testing the current flow to see how well it was received by publishers. I hoped to identify friction or pain points in the Gutenberg authoring experience in the interests of helping refine the publishing flow.
We love what we do here at 10up—solving problems and creating digital experiences for our clients. The partnerships we’ve been privileged to form not only make the work more rewarding, they open doors to some really … just cool opportunities.
It’s our mission to make tools that enable simple and affordable digital story telling. We’ve been pleased to work with StoryCorps, and help them to “preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” Through our collaboration, we’re not just making the internet better, we’re making the world just a little bit better.
What can we build together?
We are proud to announce that Distributor has exited beta and is now openly available. Distributor is a free WordPress plugin that makes it easy to syndicate and reuse content across your websites—whether in a single multisite network or across the web with the REST API.
With Distributor, content creators can “push” or “pull” content between multiple sites, while retaining updates from the original source and preserving SEO. Copy, media, metadata, and categories all come along, and our fully extensible, open-source code base empowers developers to adapt it to even the most complicated workflows. To get the release version, and enable simple updates, head to DistributorPlugin.com and fill out the short registration form.
More than 100 organizations and developers participated in our Distributor beta program. Their feedback has helped us ensure that Distributor can be the trusted solution for sharing content between WordPress sites. We’ve already integrated many improvements contributed by beta testers, including 10up clients. Distributor has been approved for use on WordPress.com VIP and is ready for enterprise implementations. We have a roadmap of planned enhancements, with ambitious plans including more advanced media distribution and sophisticated “take down” features for the forced removal of distributed content.
Kanye has nothing on 10up. Just a few days after the rapper debuted his new album near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 10uppers from all over the world descended on Spring Creek Ranch for our largest All Hands Summit yet. This coming together of our team—and a few clients and partners—spanned two full days of conference-like programming, followed by another two days of team-centric activities and bonding in an inspiring setting among the whistle pigs and prairie grasses.
This annual event provides an opportunity to step away from our home offices, webcams, and daily routines to inhabit a space, share insights with each other, form enduring memories, and build on a common vision for our team and clients.
I recently joined 10,000ft – makers of some popular collaboration software – for a conversation about communication and culture in remote teams. The interview, which is part of their “two beers” series, is now available on their blog.
We’re proud to be sponsoring and speaking at WPCampus, a conference focused on the application of WordPress in higher education, this week at Washington University. I’ll be presenting, “The grass is always greener: What do other CMSs offer higher education?” You can read more about our affinity for open source in higher education, and our participation in this event, by reading our guest post. Come find me or some of my colleagues at our sponsor table and attending sessions, or watch the live stream starting July 13th.
When a client with several podcasts expressed interest in a simple way to manage their casts from within WordPress, we began with a review of existing solutions and plugins. We quickly identified a gap between bare bones plugins supporting a single feed and complicated plugins designed for advanced workflows, such as sponsor management. To fill that void, we created Simple Podcasting, an intuitive, lightweight, and forward looking plugin that includes beta support for Gutenberg.
Our client’s ideal user story seemed common enough: they offer several podcasts across a network of news sites, with some sites featuring multiple podcasts. They wanted to fully manage and distribute their podcast feeds inside of WordPress, albeit sometimes hosting the media itself externally. Podcasts episodes would be managed as regular posts, and appear alongside their other news, enabling visitors to play an episode right from the website or by subscribing in iTunes or any other “podcatcher.”
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.