Initiative Aims to Improve the New User Experience in WordPress 4.2

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Drew Jaynes, who is leading the release cycle for WordPress 4.2 announced on the Make.WordPress.core blog, that a new community initiative has been launched called NUX or New User Experience. The group is made up of more than 15 members of the WordPress community who have experience in onboarding clients, training clients, and work with new users on a regular basis. According to the announcement, the group’s main task is as follows:

The group will be tasked with helping to identify common pain points new users might experience using WordPress. The hope is to (re)invigorate the conversation about making NUX a priority in core decision-making. We’ll work together to identify problems and recommend solutions.

With regards to 4.2, the group will brainstorm actionable goals and make recommendations to improve the new user experience throughout the WordPress backend. Jaynes says, “These changes would likely include improvements to contextual help on various screens, improvements to the content of the Welcome Panel, as well as adjustments to many other established workflows in core interfaces including the installation process.”

Recommendations large and small will receive direct feedback from core developers. This provides an opportunity for new users to immediately contribute back to WordPress. The group’s first meeting will be held Tuesday, February 10, 2015 14:00 UTC-5 in the #core-flow channel on Slack.

Re-establishing Easy as a Selling Point

I’ve used WordPress since 2008 and one of its strongest selling points has always been that it’s easy to use. However, as WordPress has advanced, I think it’s become progressively more difficult to use. Within the last two years, several articles have highlighted the increasing difficulty in using and explaining WordPress.

I think a good base to start from to improve the user experience is Jen Mylo’s site setup journal experiment. In the series, Mylo documents what it’s like as a new user to install WordPress on a host, setup a website, and browse through documentation. Part 1 covers domains and hosting while part 2 is about setting up WordPress. Her journey is an eye-opening experience and shows how many areas of WordPress are ripe for improvement.

If WordPress is going to achieve 50% market share, it needs to be easy to install and use. The New User Experience initiative is a good step towards ensuring the future of WordPress adoption.

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