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Introducing Simple Podcasting

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.”

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User Testing Gutenberg

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.

Userfeel Interface

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Accelerate WordPress Wireframing with SketchPress

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.

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Catch 10up speakers at WordCamp Europe 2018

WordCamp Europe 2018

Belgrade

Attending Speaking

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.

On Friday Adam Silverstein, Lead Engineer and core committer to WordPress, will present Javascript APIs in WordPress at 10am. One of our newest engineers, Sami Keijonen, will also co-lead a 3 hour workshop focused on testing web accessibility. We’re also co-sponsoring a networking event with WP Engine that evening. The following day, Lead Engineer Ben Greely will present a lightning talk: Taming the WP Options Table.

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Usability Test: Gutenberg for Professional Writers

Gutenberg content editor for WordPressThe 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?

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WP Local Docker + WP Snapshots

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.

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10up supports WordCamp London

WordCamp London 2018

London Metropolitan University

Attending Speaking Sponsoring

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.

10up Engineering Practices now mandate baseline accessibility standards

W3C WCAG 2.0One 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.

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10up contributes MathML support to Google AMP

Last year, we found ourselves implementing Google AMP for a client who often includes content with mathematical formulas. The formulas were implemented using the open MathML standard, by way of the open source, JavaScript-based MathJax engine. Working around AMP’s JavaScript restriction, we put the formulas into amp-iframe components, which allow for arbitrary JavaScript execution. This workaround posed some limitations that compromised the design: formulas could not be displayed inline (inside of a paragraph), creating a slightly awkward aesthetic that didn’t quite match up with the “full” site’s presentation.

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.

Formulas in iFrames and in-line

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