[wp-hackers] Seeking feedback on Plugins UI

RD Welch rd_wp_lists at leafbank.com
Fri Jun 6 00:04:11 GMT 2008

DD32 wrote:
> On Thu, 05 Jun 2008 16:51:10 +1000, Stefano Aglietti 
> <steagl4ml at gmail.com> wrote:
> [snip]
>> Would be nice having the version of WP for the plugin works, unless
>> the list it's already filtered
> Ah yes, Compatibility.
> The list could be filtered server side to not show plugins which 
> require a later version of WordPress, However, I think this might work 
> instead:
> Displaying the "Requires" & "Tested up to" field is something that 
> would be on the detailed view, But also would be good on the plugins 
> list, Perhaps differing background colours (As well as a value shown 
> somewhere)
> Green: Known to be compatible
> Yellow: Has not been tested with the current version of wordpress
> White: Unknown tested up to version
> Red: Plugin requires a later version of WordPress
> The benefit of this (rather than filtering out incomparible plugins) 
> would be to allow users to know that there *is* a plugin which will 
> fill the use they want, However, to use it, they'll need a later 
> version of WordPress. (Installation would also not be offered if the 
> plugin requires a later edition)
> Maybe another colour for "Has been tested to work with this 
> branch"(eg. Running 2.6.1, plugin has been tested up to 2.6.0, It 
> should not give the same warning as if it was only tested up to 2.3 or 
> 2.5)
> Or even a column "Compatible": "Yes", "Maybe: Tested to 2.5.2", 
> "Unknown", "Requires WordPress 2.7"
> Just quick thoughts there on the colours.
Instead of background colors, which have at least one drawback -- 
accessibility (colorblindness, other limited vision conditions depending 
on the colors used and level of contrast), I think that simple icons 
accompanied by a short text label would probably be more efficient.

For a "Compatible?" column, a few simple icons could be used: (1) a  
green check-mark if the plugin is compatible with the user's current 
version; (2) The WordPress Circle "W" logo with an arrow pointing up if 
the user would have to upgrade to the current version of WordPress; (3) 
A "prohibited" icon (a circle with a slash through it) if the plugin is 
not compatible with the user's current version and no newer version 
exists; and (4) a question mark if compatibility has not been checked.

* * *

I was wondering if there's any traction for modifying the existing 
Plugin Management table by hiding the options for each plugin via 
JavaScript -- similar to how the "Write Page" part of the Administration 
Panel has collapsed boxes under the "Advanced Options" heading.

This enhanced UI would be equally appropriate for what DD32 is currently 
working on: integrated plugin installation. Applying this enhancement to 
his plugin search results pages, just the basic information can be 
listed on the first line/row: name, version, author(s), what the plugin 
does, and compatibility. The second "row" can contain a longer 
description, any important notes, extra links, etc.

All in all, I think that this would be a solid UI enhancement, which 
increases the usability and simplicity of the Plugin Management table as 
well as the new integrated search results page(s) for plugins.  If there 
is traction,  then I'd be fine with digging into the code and doing as 
much of the groundwork as I could for DD32 or whoever the lead person 
for this improvement would be.

A longer explanation and a mostly non-styled  "wireframe" mock-up is 
available here: http://www.scribbleswithbits.com/wp-temp-test/index.html

- RD Welch
(scribblerguy on the support forums)

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