WordPress User Experiences from DIY Builders to Enterprise Users

This week in an article shared in Post Status Slack, Eric Karkovack suggested some ways to improve the WordPress user experience, especially for DIY users setting up a website for the first time. Some of the things Eric wants to see happen, like a standard interface for plugins and a curated view of the plugin ecosystem, are also commonly expressed by designers, developers, and people in other roles at WordPress agencies serving enterprise clients. Can we get everyone to “yes” on a better UX?

Estimated reading time: 32 minutes

Transcript ↓

Can We Get to “Yes” on Better UX?

What does WordPress need to do to increase its appeal to do-it-yourself website builders and creators who are trying to take a business, hobby, or side project online? That question may be key to keeping that mass market appeal from draining away to simpler, leaner SaaS alternatives. In an article Eric Karkovack shared this week in Post Status Slack, Eric has some ideas for improving the WordPress user experience, especially for DIY users setting up a website for the first time.

We all have lists of plugins we disrecommend — to the point that it’s a dealbreaker if a client insists on using them. And of course, these lists change a lot over time. We all know these things — but it’s a kind of “open secret” within professional WordPress circles. That’s understandable! Comparison is the thief of joy — and possibly revenue. But it’s also not a healthy or sustainable situation.

Some of the things Eric wants to see happen, like a standard interface for plugins and a curated view of the plugin ecosystem, are similar to views commonly expressed by designers, developers, and people in other professional roles at WordPress agencies serving enterprise clients. And why not? In the WordPress enterprise space, are the end users really that much different than mass-market WordPress users in what they do and don’t need to quickly perform routine content creation and management tasks? 

That’s where my thinking has been lately, so I had a conversation with Eric to see if we might identify areas where nearly everyone thinks WordPress offers a poor experience and how we might align ourselves toward solutions. Can we get everyone to “yes” on a better UX?

Don’t Play Favorites — Recognize Excellence

Standardizing admin interfaces and notifications might be easier than figuring out how to curate best-of-breed themes and plugins. But imagine, as Eric and I do in this conversation, some kind of “plugin quality score” at wordpress.org based on neutral, objective data. It might be “gamed” — in a positive way. It would encourage developers to do better, deeper, ever-maturing work.

Personally, I’d like to see the maximum and the average number of queries a plugin adds to a page. That, along with PHP and WordPress versions that have been tested for compatibility (which are existing features of the plugin repository) would be key code quality indicators. Frequency of updates, reviews, and support responses would indicate a capacity for long-term sustainability. Raising standards for testing aimed mainly at performance and security would be great too. All of this could be done or encouraged by key players in the WordPress ecosystem coming together to set standards for their industry. It would impact how all users of the plugin directory understand quality and how best to assemble a WordPress site.

Too Many Open Secrets About Quality are Bad for Everyone

As of today, there are 60,153 uncurated free plugins at wordpress.org that can only be explored via external search and a limited (arguably broken) site search tool. WordPress professionals with high-end client services would never expose their customers to this chaos — so why does the WordPress community expose its newcomers to it? Anyone who has developed WordPress sites for very long has a list of plugins they prefer, particularly in combination with each other, for common feature sets and use cases. We all have lists of plugins we disrecommend — to the point that it’s a dealbreaker if a client insists on using them. And of course, these lists change a lot over time.

We all know these things — but it’s a kind of “open secret” within professional WordPress circles. That’s understandable! Comparison is the thief of joy — and possibly revenue. But it’s also not a healthy or sustainable situation. We need to be more open and better at communicating these things in a problem-solving, always-learning way within appropriate channels. Security is a slightly different issue, but performance and code quality standards — and the products/people who follow them in exemplary ways — should be much more visible, celebrated, and learned from.

Information that maturing developers and product owners can learn from to improve their work doesn’t trickle down as openly or as easily as it should. It’s inside baseball, and it shouldn’t be quite so insider-y. It’s not out there alongside independent plugin performance reviews or clear standards and guidance for anyone who wants them. What if someone did a tutorial series walking through current WordPress code standards and the history of their evolution?

What if?

Why not?

What are the barriers?

Who can remove them?

Industry peers and WordPress community members working together on common interests?

As Eric and I end up saying in our conversation, we hope so!

Sponsor: GoDaddy Pro

Manage your clients, websites, and tasks from a single dashboard with GoDaddy Pro. Perform security scans, backups, and remote updates to many sites on any host. Check up on site performance, monitor uptime and analytics, and then send reports to your clients. GoDaddy Pro is free — and designed to make your life better.

gdpro800x500-1-300x188 Post Status Excerpt (No. 72) — Can We Get to "Yes" on Better UX? design tips

Learn More:

The WordPress Coding Standards can be found evolving on GitHub.

Credits

Transcript

Dan Knauss: I’m here with Eric Karkovack, and this morning on Post Status Slack, he shared his latest article published on Specky Boy. “What can WordPress do to appeal to the do it yourself market?” What brought that topic up for you this week, Eric?

Eric Karcovack: I think it’s a combination of things. For one, you know, we have full site editing that’s been around for a little bit now, and, you know, we’re not seeing like huge adoption rates with it.

We’re getting people to, um, you know, kind of learn what’s involved with that and block themes and, um, [00:02:00] and also at the same time we’re, you know, the, the changes that we’ve seen, The block editor over time and you know, even the, kind of, the genesis of that project I think was to kind of compete with, um, more.

Content management systems, kind of like, you know, WS or Squarespace and what have you. Um, and it seems like WordPress is just going toward that market more and more as they, as they build on. And so I thought those were really nice steps in that direction, right? So we have tools that. Make it a little bit easier for someone who maybe isn’t, uh, familiar with code to go in and and build a, a site.

But that led me to think about, well, what else should we be doing in that area? What else could WordPress do to make it. Uh, as foolproof as possible, um, to build a basic site, not something necessarily like, um, you know, a complex, you know, high end enterprise site, [00:03:00] but just something basic that someone can do within a couple of hours.

So that really kind of where that, the post came from.

Dan Knauss: Yeah. Yeah. Have you seen the, uh, videos where Jamie Marsland and, uh, who else did this had, had their daughters or, Um, I think of very different ages too, but it tried to do exactly that. And, um, he had, he had his kids do, um, um, Elementor versus Gutenberg, I think it was.

Yeah. Yeah. And that was, that was interesting. I mean, you really have to. That totally someone totally different from you, um, using it for the first time and Yeah, I think, I think a lot of, um, thought has gone into that user experience is, is huge. Uh, now, of course, always, always should have been, but um, Gutenberg is, is very squarely focused on the, on the user experience, building out your, your site and, and [00:04:00] pages.

And, um, my, my thought though was everyone wants that. Um, it’s not just the mass market, the lower and middle end, um, of that, but, um, agencies to up. The, uh, those that are serving enterprise, enterprise clients, uh, WordPress, v i p partners, um, I hear, I hear the same things from them, like, you know, even very recent conversations, um, about.

How having standard interface that doesn’t throw you different, totally different screens when you use, uh, a plugin in the back end. Um, that’s a, a con basic design principle of there’s much less cognitive load on you when the navigation is standard. Even if you’ve never used WordPress before, um, [00:05:00] you.

You’re f it seems familiar because things are intuitively laid out. Cause it’s, it’s like a lot of other things. WordPress is, is old enough and in so influential that it’s, it’s, uh, backend interface has been copied in a lot of ways. It’s very, very familiar. Um, interestingly, even if people haven’t used it.

Um, so when you hit a plugin with, you know, crazy level of setting screens or its own interface design, um, that’s not, that doesn’t. Look good with, uh, with anyone really, but with a enterprise client. I, I think that’s an issue. That’s one of the things you talk about in here. Um, Yeah, we have you thought about that at all?

Um, how, Yeah. Pretty much every market, every WordPress market, uh, could benefit from.

Eric Karcovack: It’s, it’s funny you mentioned that cuz I really wasn’t thinking of like the enterprise clients. And I [00:06:00] think the reason for that is because usually if I have a client who’s a little more higher end on the, on the price scale, I’m usually building things to kind of account for all of that right?

Where I can, I mean, obviously I can’t change a in ui, but I can certainly do things with custom fields or blocks or what have you to try and make the, the content creation and editing process. Simple as possible for them. So by, by doing some of these things at core level, you would take away the need to build all that extra stuff on top to, you know, to make it easier for the corporate client to use.

So I think it, it, it goes together pretty well. Um, The one example in terms of UI that I have in the article is, uh, you know, just looking at the standard WordPress settings page. We have the reading settings, and then next to it I have, uh, the opening screen of slider Revolution, which is, uh, plugin bundled with [00:07:00] a bunch of different schemes and, uh, like a theme forest, what have you.

Um, it’s like a completely different thing. And to, to that end, even Elementor is as well, I mean the, a lot of. Popular page builder plugins basically take over, uh, the UI and it’s like you’re in a completely different planet. And think about if you’re a brand new user and you’ve got just Elementor or Slider Revolution on your site, you bought this theme and it comes with these things, you’re kind of thinking you’re dropped into a middle of Mars or something.

You’re not sure what, you know how to get back to where you were and what the difference is between. You know, that UI based versus, you know, the, the core WordPress ui. Uh, in a lot of ways that doesn’t make sense. So I think that’s something we have to try and unify. Um, I don’t know how we go about doing that at the core level.

Um, but I, I think if we make core as clean as possible, maybe that’s at [00:08:00] least a good start.

Dan Knauss: Yeah, there were, there would have to be, um, some, some standards in reusable. Patterns and, and tools. Um, I, I think that in the long run, the, uh, Gutenberg is, is supposed to eat the entire, you know, it’s, it’s a true ship of Tesus project where the entire thing gets rebuilt while moving.

Um, And in, in some way it will be a, the goal is, is to have a unified experience at the end of that, just how quickly that happens depends on, on core contribution. Um, on the velocity of that, um, Yeah, that’s for lack of that. I, I think it’s, um, it’s a bad experience for everyone and Sure. Uh, uh, an enterprise client is really just at bottom end users, uh, employees who have as much experience maybe as the average DIY site builder, a [00:09:00] creator, someone who wants to start a podcast or, or sell a product, um, as a side project or something like that.

There’s, there’s really no difference there. Everyone, um, has the same, uh, usability needs in general, and more or less, there’s, there’s big differences when you, you started talking about compliance needs with accessibility and, and so on and, and things like that. But, um, yeah, it seems like to me that there, there’s a lot of opportunity for aligning, um, different parts of, of the word.

Community and business community where. Plug in. Developers and owners should really want this. The same thing that, uh, agency people, um, do. And that’s, they, they support each other. Um, they feed each other business. So I, I’m curious why. That hasn’t [00:10:00] happened, and it seems to me like there’s some information flows or I don’t know.

There there are probably other, other sticky barriers. Have you, did you, did that question come up for you at all? Why? Um, why?

Eric Karcovack: Well, I know it’s like, it’s something we’ve talked about a little bit, right? I mean, yeah, just on, on a few different levels and with the, uh, you know, Active install data going away from wordpress.org, and maybe these folks need to band together a little more and, and share amongst each other.

I, I think the reason it hasn’t happened yet is because it really hasn’t had to, um, you know, maybe they haven’t seen necessarily the benefit of it, but when you see kind of the, the yeah. Jumble of the, the UI right now and how it, how different it can be depending on what you have installed. You know, maybe there is something that, you know, some of these larger plugin developers could work together on.

Sure. Uh, it makes sense. You know, it makes sense for all of them. I mean, [00:11:00] I, I, I somehow see us heading towards some sort of consortium of, of, uh, folks who, who can’t necessarily write strict standards, but maybe they have certain. You know, broad outlines of, of what they, they want to, to abide by. And, you know, the more people that do that, the better I think it is for WordPress users and for just really everyone involved, because the software’s going to be easier to use and more uniform.

Right.

Dan Knauss: Yeah. There’s, there’s a lot that the, um, that, that part of the community could do for itself. I’ve, uh, Tried to be more vocal about, but I, I think there, there have been a few, few voices behind those ideas of you, Hey, you, there’s a lot you can do, um, to shape your own industry. Um, Yeah, if you do have a shared, a shared interface framework and, um, formal or informal standards for [00:12:00] Yeah, we were talking about.

Admin notifications previously. Um, that’s part of it. Um, it, it’d save you a lot of time if there was a base to build on. Um, more than, more than I think exists now. Um, so that, uh, anyone starting, starting out creating a, a new plugin, um, would have some kind of, uh, head start. Really a standard interface or, or guidance at least.

I don’t know that there’s that much, um, public information. And, uh, it’s curious to me as, as, uh, as things like the W Commerce, um, partnership program kind of is a bit, looks like, a bit like a, getting into, uh, a relationship with WordPress, v i p. Um, there’s criteria to go through, uh, that you have, well you have to meet, um, to become, um, a preferred agency working.

Um, with w commerce.com side with [00:13:00] automatic, um, what those criteria are and what the standards are, should I think, have some kind of trickle down effect, like know what they are and, um, and have them as at least aspirational for everyone. Um, there’s been some talk in, in, uh, core of, um, bringing. Some changes on, uh, on standards and testing for, uh, coding, um, coding standards for security.

Uh, I think primarily performance and security. Um, and I hope those continue to get prioritized that that’s what all seems, seems to need to happen to, um, to move this forward. But the one point you mentioned, um, where you’re talking about modernizing the onboarding experience, Where you direct people to, where to find themes, where to find plugins that, uh, [00:14:00] that becomes challenging and touches, touches.

This other recent issue we’ve talked about, um, it is hard to search in the, in the plugin repository is not in an ideal state and people who are trying to sell. Their plugins there, um, have a number of frustrations with, with trying to surface their, their products as relevant to what people are searching for.

Um, do you think this could be part of a solution to that if, or a potential conflict point when you’re curating, you’re, you’re curating and recommending, um, certain ones?

Eric Karcovack: Well, I think as far as, as core goes, um, my idea is more. Just pointing people to the repositories. Mm-hmm. , uh, for themes and plugins, not necessarily being a, uh, a [00:15:00] curator, but, um, I, I, I see the, you know, I see there, there, there should be more impetus to improve the, the repositories and make them easier for folks to search and figure out what it is they’re getting and what, you know, um, allow new entries to be a little more, uh, visible.

But I think they’re kind of separate things, you know, just to be able to, I mean, if, if you’re installing WordPress now from the, you know, from, from your host, or if you’re, you know, FTPing it up to your site, old school style, um, you know, you’re, you’re gonna get this little. Widget did on the, on the front screen of the dashboard that welcomes you to WordPress and gives you a few handy links, but it doesn’t really tell you about how to actually use what you’re, you’ve got.

And I think that was where I, I thought improvement could be made right now. I mean the person that doesn’t understand where themes reside or where plug-ins reside, they’re not [00:16:00] gonna know necessarily to go under the appearance menu and look to add a theme or you know, the plug-ins menu. You know, they may find that eventually, but why not put it right out there in front of ’em so that they can easily click and say, Okay, I know what I need.

I need to get a plugin that does this. And you know, cuz we have a nice interface to actually go in and. Poor plugins and themes, but Right. It’s not necessarily, um, in front of, front of your mind when you, when you first install WordPress. So I thought that was, um, something that was important to, uh, you know, to, to emphasize in this.

Dan Knauss: Sure. Yeah. And that, that seems like it, it’s potentially in a good way, open for change with, uh, potential changes to the.org repository. And, and I imagine that as, um, as the.com marketplace. Um, and, you know, potentially other, other things like that. Um, If, if other hosts hosting W Commerce or, or [00:17:00] WordPress were to do something similar, um, that, that, that requires some kind of curation at some point or some, some way of featuring particular things like, this is what you need to do.

Uh, for, for example, you know, one of my pet things is can you build a, uh, sub stack like, uh, site out of WordPress very quickly. Yes, if you know how. But, um, the, there’s act, those documentations kind of emerged relatively recently for doing that with a, a couple of plugins. Um, if you dig around on wordpress.com, um, and I, like Kim Coleman is, uh, for, uh, uh, paid memberships.

Pro is giving a talk right about now, I think on. On how to do that with, uh, Mail poet and their product, the Coleman’s product, uh, paid membership pro. Um, that’s, that’s something that, um, yeah, [00:18:00] I, I agree. It’s, it’s tri on the, on the mass market level. It’s, it’s sort of the level of suggestion of here’s if you want to do this, here are some ways you can do that.

And. What gets recommended there, I, I guess, is, is maybe a, a thorny issue, but as you kind of move up the up the market, um, you don’t want give that much. You don’t want to have an onboarding screen that says install this and this and this to, uh, you know, an agency’s client. Uh, you know, you don’t, they don’t wanna see that either.

So, um, you want to actually be making those choices. For them. So it occurs to me that the thing that’s not talked about OP openly but is talked about everywhere is that the upmarket WordPress and building even, you know, freelancers, small agencies to v i P agencies generally, um, you know, have their own ways of doing things.

[00:19:00] That do a lot of curation and like you said, building, building custom materials. But the less you do that, the less you have to support yourself. Um, that they’re essentially doing, making these choices and saying, these are the things that work well for these purposes under these conditions. And I’ve always thought, why should that be a proprietary trade secret, especially when it’s out there, but.

We’re hesitant to, uh, convey that or some version of that to the, um, to the mass market. Um, what, what do you, what do you think about that? Do you think there could be some synergies there? Cause there’s learning potential too, if you, if you kind of disclose, this is how we’re doing it up here. Um, people who are just starting out building with WordPress are learning from leaders then.

Eric Karcovack: Yeah. Um, well, one of the things I. I, I talked about with curation was, you know, maybe managed hosts are in the best [00:20:00] position to do kind of something like that, because I think some of them already do to, to a degree. I mean, many of them are buying up, you know, plugin and themes anyway. And so, you know, maybe they’re in the best position to add something like this, The WordPress, um, for someone that has the fresh install, You know, in the community it’s, it’s interesting because there’s just so many, there’s so many plugins and so many opinions that you know mm-hmm.

I may ask, well how do you build a membership site? And somebody may tell me, paid memberships, pros the way to go. Somebody may say, Member press, or, you know, there there could be five or six other, you know, really big players in that market. Um, same thing for forms and, you know, e-commerce may be a little bit less, but, um, you know, cuz we have one dominant, uh, you.

Entity there in W Commerce. But, um, you know, if you ask about w commerce extensions, you’ll probably get a couple hundred different answers on that, so. Right. You know, the curation is a, a [00:21:00] bit of a tough, a tough call. Like, I, I don’t, I certainly don’t think, you know, the WordPress project should be, um, doing anything other than generically taking you to the, you know, Repositories and saying, this is where you can find plugins.

Now, maybe in the future they write, you know, they, they share articles or something about, well, you know, if you’re going to build an e-commerce site, maybe you should consider X, Y, and Z. Not necessarily talking about. Specific plugins, but things you need to consider on your end and find to help you find the, the tool that works best for your needs and, you know, design for what your workflow is going to be.

Um, so maybe if we can add some guidance in that way without necessarily favoring one product over another. Um, but I, I, I think they’re, you know, for the new user, the person who wants to just build their own basic site, Having some sort of guidance in [00:22:00] not only what plugins to use, but just how to use WordPress, I think could be, you know, extremely helpful.

Dan Knauss: Yes. Uh, yeah, I, I agree with you. Um, you know, the way you, you put it here was, um, Uh, yeah, the, who would be responsible for curating is the, is the really tough issue. You’d need a, a third party of some, some kind to take that on. Um, and yeah, in the mass market where everyone’s competing, um, with, with their product or service, um, that’s a difficult one to do.

Who, who would be a third party? Who could, who could potentially navigate those, those waters? And are, are there things that the plugin repo could do that are sufficiently neutral with the kind of data that, that could be reported out that would, um, help that? Um, do we need something like Kevin Ohashi doing, um, you know, [00:23:00] plugin performance?

WP plugin performance reviews, like his hosting, uh, reviews.

Eric Karcovack: Yeah, that, that’s interesting. You could, you, you could certainly see the repo. I mean, you know, again, you don’t wanna play favorites. That’s definitely, you know, gonna cause a lot of problems. Um, maybe there could be, you know, stats for, you know, different types of sites.

Um, if you are into publishing, these are the most popular plugins in that category. Because we don’t, It may even be listed that way now, but we don’t necessarily say that. Um, so you could look at, you know, membership sites, you could look at e-commerce, um, you know, selling digital goods, all those types of things.

Maybe we break it down by category a little more and just show what the trends are in that area. It doesn’t necessarily have to favor anyone, but obviously it’s going to show, you know, who’s in the lead and who’s not. Maybe that’s [00:24:00] something to help people again and again, I, I put these out there as ideas.

They may be extremely flawed and, uh, you know, you can certainly tell me on Twitter if, if, if you don’t agree. Uh, but just I think we need to find more ways to empower people to make good decisions with WordPress. Um, that’s going to keep people on the platform. Throughout and they’re going to hopefully have less frustration in trying to get started because I think that’s, from my experience, that’s the area where people are, you know, hit that wall after installing, They’re like, Okay, well what do I do next?

Right.

Dan Knauss: Yeah. Yeah. I wonder, I wonder if something like a, uh, plugin quality score could be developed. Which, which to some extent is being done with, with, uh, review, like combining, uh, correlating, um, support tickets and response to those and, [00:25:00] um, installs and, and things like that. But I wonder if you could, you could do a quality, um, rating that would be sufficiently neutral that people would accept.

The curation that developed from that. Say, I, I keep thinking of this one. I don’t, I don’t know if it’s realistic, but, um, I would love to know on every plugin if I install this, what’s the, what’s the maximum number of queries it will add to a page load? What’s the average number? And, um, that right there creates an incentive to plug in developers to get that right.

Learn, you know, if you’re just starting out, uh, coding something, um, learn what that means, why it matters. Um, because that’s, that seems to be one of the real, real slow downs. Um, and, and that’s a pretty objective measure. Fewer queries, quicker response, um, from the server, [00:26:00] something like that. I don’t know.

Do you, do you think that that sort of thing could potentially be done, um, as. Sufficiently neutral thing coming from the, From

Eric Karcovack: I think so. I think so. I mean, one idea that just kind of popped in my head was, how about we do something activity based? Hmm. Like, just for example, um, we take into account how often a plugin updates, uh, how responsive, uh, Right.

You know, support requests are in the forms. That doesn’t necessarily tell you the quality. Now I. You might be updating your plugin three or four times a week because it’s broken, and you may be re responding to, you know, support requests without necessarily resolving problems. But that might be a way to, to, to help steer people away from plugins that.

Haven’t been updated in years. I mean, we have that little warning on there now that, you know, when it’s been, I think, what three versions. It’ll tell [00:27:00] you that, hey, this hasn’t been, you know, updated in, in a while, huh? But if you had maybe some sort of activity based scoring that, you know, I mean, you know, that, that puts everybody, I think on a.

Closer playing field. I don’t know if it’s completely level, but you know, I mean, the plugins with the most resources might, you know, be able to, to, uh, to win on some of that. But then again, if you have a, a solo entrepreneur who’s got a plugin that you know, they really are passionate about and they’re constantly trying to improve and they’re, you know, we know there are a lot of those out there, you know, they might be able to, to compete on that.

Dan Knauss: Sure. Yeah. I, I feel, I feel like that could work if the repository made some distinction between completely free plugins and freemium model plugins, or those that have, uh, a recognized business entity behind it with. Staff and [00:28:00] like this, We exist here to support this in theory, in in perpetuity. Um, because actually there, there are some plugin if you base this on activity like TenUp.

Um, there’s some, Jake Goldman still has under, under his account on, uh, on the repo that are really nice, simple, single purpose plugins and I completely trust. The support for them, for them, for the, for the most part. But, um, they’re not, they’re not gonna be high volume, um, uh, support activity there or updates, and they’re pretty simple, yet reliable.

Um, it might be tricky to do that, but I, I think it would be fair to recognize. Leaders and high performers and recognized experts at, at some point. And, um, and the business, um, you know, the number of people who, you know, who actually exist to support [00:29:00] a particular plugin. That was when I was, when I’m doing things for clients and when I was doing that a lot more, um, you’re looking at, I, I try to look at what’s gonna be around for a long, long term.

You know, the, the fewer, uh, We don’t wanna make changes to themes, to major plugin changes. Um, over time we want this to be really stable. So, so to me a concern would be, Hey, this is a really nice plugin, seems really well supported, but there’s no business model behind it. Or it’s not one that, yeah, I think will be here in five, even just five years.

Um, and the long term view. Yeah. Is another, is another criteria that’s hard to, hard to suss out. Um, but those are, those are all potentially valid ways to curate, um, and indicate different, different categories of, of product that may really help people figure out what they need. Um, yeah, it’s a [00:30:00] good, good question, uh, to open.

Eric Karcovack: Yeah, I think there’s, there’s potential for it. Um, you know, any, I think anything we can do to make it, give people more confidence that what they’re installing is going to work and be, you know, stable and, you know, allow them to do. What they want to do easy in a more easy fashion. I think that would, you know, definitely be a benefit.

And just going back to the activity thing for just a second, I mean, how many plugins that are still, you know, somewhat maintained, Still say that their, their latest compatibility is like WordPress 5.8 or 5.9. Right. You know, just the simple fact of going in and, and testing with WordPress six or 6.1, maybe that gets you, you know, some brownie points in that as well.

Just that you version checked and you know, you’re keeping up with that. Because I see that as another issue [00:31:00] in the repository where, There may be plugins that work perfectly well, but you’re still a little hesitant because it, Yeah. You know, the compatibility hasn’t been updated in two years or three years.

So that could also be, you know, a

Dan Knauss: factor. And it’s not just compatibility to WordPress, it’s, uh, you know, word WordPress, GUIs and, and compatibility for php. So plug in, plug in compatibility with, uh, which, what up to what version of PHP will it. Will it operate

Eric Karcovack: and Yeah. Just checking. Yeah, I know. Uh, like I’m looking at a, a plugin now it says PHP version 5.4 or higher.

So there you go. Ah, right, right, right. You’re in good shape, even out in a really, really old install.

Dan Knauss: Yes. Right. So that raises some, some ideas. Well, that’s, and that’s something a DIY person isn’t gonna know. They aren’t, they aren’t going to know. Um, you know, what version of PHP is my. Running and what does that mean and, and all that.

[00:32:00] Yeah. Support activity and development activity are, are good indicators, but then you, you can game that as well. Um, well, it creates, it creates a good incentive to do that work. But then, you know, are we adding features or minor updates just to, uh, to rank higher at that point. I don’t know if it would have that, that kind of effect.

Eric Karcovack: I mean, we’ve seen it with reviews, right? Yeah. People put in the phony reviews and or higher out firms to, to do that for them. So yeah, any, anything that they put in probably could be gained. I don’t know if we’re gonna fully prevent that, but you hope that, you know, most developers take it as a, uh, a serious matter and, you know, try to actually put in the hard work to, to rank highly and, and.

Hopefully that that’s a way for them to kind of go up the charts a little bit in, in terms of how many installs they have and how many paying customers they get because of it. Right. [00:33:00]

Dan Knauss: Yeah. And there’s, there’s such a categorical difference between people who are running their business that way. And well, it’s a good, it’s a good way to game things towards more support, more development, and, uh, taking an active interest in, in what’s going on with your, your product.

And in the way it’s, uh, presented to people who are going to install it. Um, and it’s. Good idea. I, I do feel that those things go together. Any, anything that improves or changes in, in core to change the onboarding experience to, um, make it easier with respect to what you install, has gotta be corresponding somehow to, um, what you see on the on.org, um, what it’s putting out publicly as a, as a signal for, um, for quality.

The last thing. Well close to where you, you closed was, was talking about outreach, um, that we should just show what, what WordPress can do. [00:34:00] Um, and do you think we just don’t do that enough or it’s not unified enough? Or just in the Gutenberg era, we’re just beginning to see tutorials and guides, um, show up, especially for non-technical users.

And, um, that’s, that’s something. on.org, Learn, Learn. Um, wordpress.org is, uh, busy trying to do, there’s a ton of meetups coming out that are really geared towards this sort of thing. Um, and, and also people who are building at sites at a more advanced level. Um, do you see that as something that’s just starting to happen or something altogether different that you had in mind?

Eric Karcovack: I, I sort of see this as kind of like a, a. Coming of WordPress, right? Because when a lot of us, you know, who have been in this a while started, you know, if you went to a Word camp, you probably learned an awful lot about the basics of WordPress. Whether you were just [00:35:00] using it as, you know, a content creator, or you were a developer.

And I think we’ve kind of lost that along the way a little bit. We’ve kind of focused so much on the more advanced topics. And then of course, the pandemic, you know, took away a, a lot of the in person events. So I, I think, you know, the word camps are one way to really start showing, you know, new users what’s possible and you know, how to, to do the basics.

Um, you know, I, I would, I honestly, I would love to see that at Word Camp us or one of the really. International events, you know, have a track just for new people, uh, you know, where they can ask experts questions, you know, that people that, you know, we, we see in the post status slack or we see on online all the time.

You know, if, if a new user’s able to ask them questions that, you know, that can go a long way towards selling them on the platform and keeping them there. Um, and you mentioned the learn [00:36:00] tool. Well, I, I think that’s fantastic. That’s actually something I brought up on the, uh, on the slack the other day. You know, Has there been any effort to kind of integrate that with the core software so that you can easily find tutorials?

Uh, maybe through a plugin or, or something like that? Because we have various WordPress support, uh, tools that are third party, you know, that’ll show videos on how to do different things. We have this wonderful resource and if somebody doesn’t visit wordpress.org, they’re really not gonna know it’s. And I think, you know, it’s such an opportunity to reach people and, and teach them how to do anything from the basics to, you know, once they level up to, you know, some more advanced things, it’s all right there waiting and, you know, all we have to do in some way, some respects is, you know, put it in front of them, You know, give them the opportunity to see it.

Um, so those are things, you know. The WordPress community has so much great content, so many smart people. I think we [00:37:00] ought to be able to put our heads together and, and find ways to, you know, encourage new users and embrace them and, and, and, you know, kind of help them, you know, with any stumbling blocks.

And because, you know, if once we kind of. Hate to say the phrase die out. You know, what, what, what is the next generation of WordPress user going to look like? How, how are they going to use the software? You know, if we want to keep it as a market leader, we want to keep it, uh, viable, you know, the new users are, you know, just critical

Dan Knauss: to that, right?

Yeah. I, I think that Learn is, uh, learn. WordPress is. Logical, the content that’s being developed there and also the meetups that are going on, the, um, kind of webinars that are, that are happening are, um, are logical to move into the dashboard for certain, um, certain use [00:38:00] cases, um, in the, in mass market, DIY users.

All right, well, It’s been good talking to you again. I, I think this, this is a good, a good topic with a lot of questions in it that touch a couple of the main, main conversations and, and issues today that we’ve, we’ve been all, all thinking about, um, what to do with, uh, potential changes to the plugin repository and, and the kind of data that that comes out of there.

Dot org content and information can somehow fit into the, um, into the WordPress dashboard and, um, interface there to help people and connect them with the community. Um, how we could maybe standardize, uh, the experience and some interface design, how things are, are done on the back end that, um, makes [00:39:00] it a more palatable and, uh, Less busy interruptive, um, or confused experience on, on sites with a lot of things installed, whether it’s, um, someone just setting up their own, their own site, or, uh, an agency doing it for a, a high end client.

Um, I think the more, the more we see those all as, uh, common problems everyone has. The better chance at br at bringing everyone towards a, an aligned solution where everyone wins. Um, ideally one, one would hope .

Eric Karcovack: There’s potential there. Absolutely. Hope so. Um, you know, The, the, you know, if you start the conversation, hopefully, um, you know, you bring in some good ideas and if we see a few of them implemented, uh, that’s like you said, that’s gonna benefit everybody.

Dan Knauss: You have been listening to post status excerpt, a podcast from post Status, the [00:40:00] community for WordPress professionals. Check us out@poststatus.com. Sign up for our free weekly newsletter, or become a member and join us in post status. We have membership plans for freelancers, agency owners, product founders, and business partners who share and support our mission of investing in the open web by growing the WordPress ecosystem and coming together for fun and networking as we give and grow together.

Source