WordPress 2.5 Usability Review Review

The main goal of the recent WordPress 2.5 was to to increase usability. Unfortunately, some, particularly at WordPress.com, have initially experienced the new release as a decrease in usability.

So when I saw, via the discerning engtech, that there was a WordPress 2.5 usability review, I checked it out. There are some remarks that seem to me valid, such as those about colors.

Overall, though, I’m disappointed with the review. There is no mention of the fact that, when writing a post, we now have to page down to assign it to a category. I am far from alone in preferring the Categories box to be at the side of the Post content box, as it used to be prior to 2.5

The review itself has some barriers to usability. I shuddered at writing such as “color that is contrastful to the rest of the design, possibly a complimentary color” (should be “contrasts with the rest of the design” and “complementary,” although the second error is nowhere near as annoying as the first).

I also object to the lack of a link to any other page at the site (noscope.com). The front page consists mainly of many large images: thumbnails, with links to larger images, would have made it more user-friendly.

Perhaps some of the above is harsh. But those who preach usability should be prepared to be judged on usability. That includes WordPress, although I should add that I consider some of the judgment of 2.5 to be hasty.

4 thoughts on “WordPress 2.5 Usability Review Review”

  1. Mike, I do have hopes that enough of us have exactly the same problem that this will be fixed. I have no inside info. It’s just that this is so clearly user-hostile, and so widely recognized as such…

  2. Hi Andrew,

    I found your page here via a referring link.

    I can see that you disagree with parts of my usability review. Feel ever so free to do so, but I’d like to clarify a few things.

    First of all, as the screenshots in the usability review indicate, I reviewed a nightly build approximately halfway through the rejiggering of the admin area. Matt liked the writeup so much that he contacted me and set me up with some of the developers so as to advise them directly. As such, some of the criticism mentioned in the review has been adressed, which is fantastic. Far from all, though.

    You mention that I failed to notice the scrolling/categorizing issue. In fact I did, even though the categories looked much different in the nightly build (http://www.noscope.com/media/wp25-usability-review/wp25_files/image006.jpg). I said:

    While I am aware that most of the ”Advanced options” on this page are usually and probably going to be moved to the sidebar, it is still worth to consider making this page shorter. The longer the page is, the more complex it feels to the user.

    The assumption being here, that this was _so beta_ that the categories were below the post area. Apparently this was a conscious decision, and I agree, it feels wrong. Perhaps the WordPress team believes categories are less important than you or I do.

    Your comments on my english feel juvenile to me. I am, in fact, danish, and as such english is a second language to me. The fact that that should be a barrier to you is unfortunate, but nonetheless I’m convinced that my feedback was appreciated by the team all the same.

    You list a few issues with my own website and mention I should be prepared to be judged on usability myself. While I welcome any criticism you might have, honestly, I do believe that a usability review should be taken at face value. Certainly the usability guru to rule them all, Jakob Nielsens useit.com isn’t the perfect example of a website, yet his feedback has defined a decade.

    My defence of the current setup of my work section of Noscope.com (incidentally, because I do design and usability work for a living, my “work” section is also my homepage) is based on the idea that potential customers view that section as the very first thing they see. As such, it was important for me to present various cases, graphics and contact info up front. While it still lacks proper description of my services, I’ve had generally positive feedback on that. If you want links, you should visit my journal, it’s chock full of links.

    In closing, the Internet is rather useless at communicating emotion and so I hope you’ll believe me that the above is said in a spirit of open discussion.

  3. Joen,
    Thanks for your thorough response to my post. I’m glad that the developers are taking your input on usability.

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