I am a WordPress plugin developer. While I have written many plugins for WordPress and shared them on GitHub, I also host 12 plugins on the WordPress.org/Plugins repository — with more than
400k total downloads.
A few days ago the new WordPress plugin repo went live, and I along with many other developers got surprised by that. I was very public with the feedback, I wrote about it on the Facebook’s Advanced WordPress group, wrote a post about it on WPLift, and in the form of comments on Make blog post.
But I feel like the feedback was either ignored, or the decision to make this new repo live was rushed with a few resources at hand, which could have addressed the feedback.
I Want To Like It!#
Don’t get me wrong. I want to really like the new repo. The screenshots slider, the clean and minimal design part of which functions very well, is more than welcomed.
Maybe, we can have the description, screenshots, videos and all that on one page and then have other stuff like the changelog, FAQs, etc. in the form of tabs. Who knows!?
Sadly, there are issues, which we all knew about, from the beta. Those issues, are still there in the live version.
With due respect (to the meta team), there seems to be a confusion here of some sorts. On one side, developers are being considered not the right audience for several categories of our feedback, and then there is this expectation of having the feedback reported back as Trac tickets. Not sure how regular users would do that.
And WordPress doesn’t seem to have a good way of collecting feedback from 80% of its user’s base that we are calling
users . Surveys only report back a fraction of that user base.
Morten’s suggestions about telemetry are on point here. This is the right time to start thinking in the form of data. Collecting data is important for each and every one of us. It could help devs, decision makers, writers, and in general be our guide for a better future of WordPress.
Honestly, I have nothing but appreciation for all the work done by the meta team to help the WordPress community. It’s commendable. That’s not what my complaint is about. It’s about how things got handled and what can we do about it, the next time.
What I Think!#
The facts below do not make a lot of sense to me:
- Developers’ feedback is sometimes considered less important (as mentioned here the 80/20 rule being used or misused to quote Matt Mullenweg).
- No WP Telemetry, no A/B testing is being done to get feedback from the ever growing WordPress userbase.
- Trac should not be the ONLY place where tickets get qualified as feedback. Comments on the Make blog posts are valuable as well. And there were many.
- If there were limited resources, then meta team could have waited a bit to weed out the feedback against the
Read More links and one-page design.
- Making the beta live by not considering all those comments devs left — makes me think that our feedback was just right off ignored. My initial perception was that the meta team would eventually write a post about what is being considered for the next iteration (the one which was supposed to go live)
- IMHO, there was no announcement. When the new plugins repo went live — it was a surprise to many of us. I believe I have an excellent handle on WordPress news —what’s happening and when is it happening — that kind of stuff. But I along with many others got what I would call a surprise when I saw the new repo was live. (I could be wrong, I am only human)
- Complaints of pixelated images are the by-product of this surprise (see #6) as I think many devs were not using the Retina version of the banner image that is —
banner-1544x500.png and hence they were not prepared for the new repo.
- Yes, it’s a good thing that the new backend is something meta team is comfortable with. And that there will be new iterations, more often. But that doesn’t justify why the UI looks the way it does now, why the feedback was not considered, and why the repo went live without a notification of what’s going to happen.
Not a Pleasant Surprise#
For me it was not a pleasant surprise, I had to stop everything I was doing and take a look at my plugins, to check if I need to update my free plugins since the new layout was live. Had I knew that the design was going live on a particular date, I would have prepped for it.
I feel like my feedback was similar to many many other developers like John Brown, Kevin, Matt, Joe, etc. Along with them, (if I be as bold to say that) I feel that my feedback didn’t change a thing.
I am looking forward to the new iterations ahead.
P.S. If there was an announcement before the new layout was live, then it’s my bad, I completely missed it, though, IMHO there was no announcement even after the design went live for a good 30 minutes or so. Since, I searched for one on the Make blog, before sharing the news inside AWP group. It almost felt like someone would have accidently pushed the new repo into live mode.
- Looks like the new repo shows a bit more of the description now than it used to.
- 👍 New WordPress plugin repo now comes with a tabbed layout. There have been several other improvements as well. Mika has been on 🔥 lately, a lot going on here. It’s important to recognize the efforts of those who reported bugs, provided feedback, and the meta plugins team.
Well said, Ahmad! I completely agree.
I’m glad to not be alone in thinking like this.
M Asif Rahman
You spoke most of our mind, Ahmed. Months after month we discussed about it. There were many slack meeting, but ultimately it was almost the same design we had seen hundreds of days ago. Sad!
I hope it will be better. The feedback this time has enormously been in favour of tabs and against the read more links. The last reviews right on the front page are a bad call too, IMO.
Well for a couple of months i believe, there was a beta link standing there, then alot of people on slack were telling against one pager and in favor of tabs. But in the end it didn’t change a thing and new design went live without some kind of announcement. I have 4 plugins, 8000 active installs, had to jump to fix issues with images. Also i have 50% less visits to one of my premium plugins as a link is at the bottom, hidden with a read more. IMO they should have done A/B when the beta was live, that should have been easy but they didnt.
Just what I said, an unpleasant surprise. I wish it could have been dealt better.
Well, i am not happy, why would anyone develop for WordPress now as they already know that they cannot get any rating without any personal efforts or spending money on adwords to advertise their plugin. How would people have a notion that they have developed a plugin which is comparetavily better or has far better user experience.
If nobody knows about their plugin, how anyone will use it. All the giants will have a bash by getting ratings and active installs based upon their previous rating and active installs at first
I have a feeling that many things are being ignored by the WordPress “heads” nowadays. It feels like they’ll just do what they had in mind without ever accepting any feedback from others.
This is somehow similar to the WordCamp situation where they won’t allow country-wide WordCamps for smaller countries (https://www.roytanck.com/2017/03/30/wordcamp-netherlands-just-got-cancelled-and-thats-a-mistake/).
I still believe WordPress community is a great one and we can change a part of the internet (world) with WordPress. But, I really don’t like how some parts of this community is treated.
That’s maybe normal when you are part of such a big community, I am not sure.
Thanks for this. I feel like I contributed feedback for several months and it has largely been ignored or has been shot down in favor of “design over function”. Where were the User Personas that should have been gathered if this was supposed to improve usability?
+100 for data-driven user personas for WP end-users.
The key point is WordPress strives to never break backwards compatibility, so that should apply to core and meta.
just correct this post slug :)
Wslam! Thanks for the catch!
The repo is a nightname and Automattic has utterly failed the ecosystem. They are only concerned with corporate capture, not making the platform better. There is no competition for the repo, whereas there is competition in page builders. Hence we get Gutenberg jammed down our throat, and the repo is still using SVN. I call for a fork of the system away from Automattic.