WordPress begins to open up its redesign process

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The ongo¬≠ing doc¬≠u¬≠men¬≠ta¬≠tion of Mark Boul¬≠ton Design‚Äôs redesign of the Dru¬≠pal web¬≠site is pro¬≠vid¬≠ing some great insight into the process; Leisa Reichelt‚Äôs lat¬≠est post, on the com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ty wire¬≠fram¬≠ing project, is a prime exam¬≠ple. Now ‚ÄĒ whether by hap¬≠py serendip¬≠i¬≠ty or a desire to com¬≠pete ‚ÄĒ Word¬≠Press have begun to do likewise.

The revamped UI for Word­Press was released in March of this year. It was cre­at­ed by the esteemed Hap­py Cog Stu­dios, in a process which does­n’t seem to have been much report­ed on (at least, I can’t find any­thing) oth­er than in their own port­fo­lio.

For the forth­com­ing release of 2.7, the in-house team at Automat­tic (the own­ers of Word­Press) are prepar­ing a slight refresh of the admin theme, which will focus on lay­out issues raised in user feed­back. In the last few weeks they’ve begun releas­ing details of the plans; you can down­load copies of the wire­frame pro­pos­als, for example.

One aspect of their process I find a lit¬≠tle strange is ask¬≠ing users for opin¬≠ions on lay¬≠out deci¬≠sions ‚ÄĒ with¬≠out pro¬≠vid¬≠ing demos. I mean, user feed¬≠back is good; but it‚Äôs hard to make an informed deci¬≠sion on usabil¬≠i¬≠ty unless you actu¬≠al¬≠ly get to try it out. You might think that some¬≠thing is aes¬≠thet¬≠i¬≠cal¬≠ly pleas¬≠ing or log¬≠i¬≠cal¬≠ly posi¬≠tioned based on visu¬≠als alone, but then change your mind com¬≠plete¬≠ly when it comes to actu¬≠al¬≠ly inter¬≠act¬≠ing with it. This user involve¬≠ment is doubt¬≠less not harm¬≠ful, but I‚Äôm not sure how use¬≠ful it is either.

That aside, it’s nice to see anoth­er big open source project tak­ing user expe­ri­ence seri­ous­ly, and mak­ing the process transparent.

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