[wp-ui] First steps

Jane Wells jane at automattic.com
Tue Jan 19 17:10:23 UTC 2010

Hi everyone. Almost 300 people have signed up for this list, which was  
way more than I expected. I'm not sure how many of you are people who  
actually want to get involved and contribute to the UI/UX work that  
goes into making WordPress, vs. how many are developers or users who  
just want to keep up with what's going on or offer feedback on other  
people's design work, so I think the first thing this list should do  
is help everyone get to know who's here. Lurkers need not do this, but  
if you're planning to contribute to the UI work ahead, please email  
this list and tell us a little bit about you: Your work background/ 
current job, specific design/usability/accessibility skills/talents  
that we should know about/make use of, what you hope to contribute to  
WP UI, your location/time zone, and maybe the one UI thing you would  
like to address in WP if given the chance. My main goal here is to  
find out how many people of all the subscribers are actually people  
who can wireframe, make comps, run usability testing, etc, vs. simply  
wanting to weigh in with opinions on the work of others (which can  
happen on Trac tickets). This list is meant to be a working group.

After people have had a day or two to introduce themselves, we'll have  
a better idea of how many people are actually planning to participate  
in this list for now, and can plan accordingly. I've got a list as  
long as my arm of potential design projects we can divvy up into  
groups, so knowing people's backgrounds and interests will help  
determine which projects we hit first. We can also then decide on a  
day/time for a weekly UI chat in IRC.

I'm in the process of setting up a site for this group to use a la  
wpdevel.wordpress.com, and will start adding people as authors once we  
have created teams and begun working on projects and there are things  
to report. I'll need to know your wordpress.org login name to add you  
to the site. Usability people are welcome and encouraged to speak up  
also, not just designers. Getting the plan up and running for  
distributed testing is on the goals list, too.

I guess I'll start. I'm Jane, and am the main UX person for WordPress.  
I led the admin redesign of 2.7, and work closely with the core team  
on UI changes. We never have time to get to everything, so there's  
still a ton left to do. I work for Automattic, which donates a big  
chunk of my time to the open source project. Before this job, I'd  
worked at agencies, companies and research groups in almost every  
front-end web job there is over the last 10 years. Though mostly UX  
stuff, I've also done project management, content development, HTML,  
visual design, testing, etc. Right now I'm a bottleneck for UI changes  
in WordPress, and anyone who works in this industry knows that it  
takes a lot longer to create a wireframe deck than it does to sketch  
an idea, so I'm hoping to grow this group into a healthy contributor  
community so that I can step back into more of a advisory/curatorial  
role rather than slowing things down while I draft wireframes or  
conduct individual testing sessions. I'm on the east coast, and would  
love it if the weekly chat could be during the day sometime before  
3pm, but if the majority needs to have an evening meeting instead, I  
can work with that. I traditionally do wireframes in Omnigraffle, but  
would like to find a good open source tool (the ones I've tried  
haven't been great) that we can all use for this if possible. I  
generally go for Photoshop for comps, and have not found GIMP to be an  
adequate substitute, though I'd love to move visual design to open  
source tools as well. Suggestions are welcome.

I'll be happy to answer questions, point to resources etc for those  
who want to get involved. However, this is not the right place (yet,  
anyway) to come if you are just getting started and want to learn the  
design/UX trade as a new career move or something. I'd like to start  
off with more experienced UI/UX people just to get some processes  
nailed down. I hope that in the future the WP UI group will be an  
awesome place to come to learn new skills.

Who's next?

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