[wp-hackers] Seeking feedback on Plugins UI

RD Welch rd_wp_lists at leafbank.com
Fri Jun 6 14:13:05 GMT 2008

DD32 wrote:
> On Fri, 06 Jun 2008 10:04:11 +1000, RD Welch 
> <rd_wp_lists at leafbank.com> wrote:
> [snip]
>> 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.
> That does sound useable, My only thought is what about those that do 
> not have Javascript enabled? Are the rows allways visible? If thats 
> the case, Then it'd cause a jumping effect as the JS hides the extra 
> rows on pageload.
> But it would also allow more links relating to the plugin
> Rating | Downloads: 1234 | Last-updated: 2002-03-45
> Plugin Homepage | WordPress.org Plugin Homepage | Author Page
I'd suspect that the default CSS state for the second row would be set 
at "display: none;" so there shouldn't be any extreme jumping effect.

Though, checking how WP displays certain Admin Panel pages when JS is 
disabled revealed the following:
(1) On the "Write Post" page, the "Advanced Options" boxes are expanded 
and the disclosure triangle is hidden.
(2) On the Widgets page, after a Widget is added to a sidebar, it's box 
is still collapsed, though the box does appear expanded for a few 
milliseconds before collapsing. To edit the settings for a widget, the 
user needs to click on the "Edit" link, which seems to be processed 
server-side via PHP rather than client-side with JS.

DD32 wrote:
> There was a Icon in the 2.5 Status column for a day or 2, But IIRC 
> Matt removed it (As well as the issue it wasnt under an licence that 
> was compatible).
> I do think a icon would be nice, But So far i've not seen *any* icon 
> sets which i think work in the WordPress admin.. (And convey the 
> meaning without me having to hover for a title)
Before the paragraph that was quoted, I mentioned "I think that simple 
icons accompanied by a short text label would probably be more 
efficient." I can't find any definitive UI discussions at the moment, 
but icons alone for a new UI are generally to be avoided unless they 
follow conventions that make them instantly understandable. That's why 
text+icon would be a better choice. And, I find that processing the 
meaning of a familiar icon is faster than processing text. Plus, the 
current choice of background colors for the Plugins Management table 
doesn't seem that helpful.

As far as icons goes, those can be done from scratch.

DD32 wrote:
> I personally like the 3 tables, However now see that There are some 
> people who would have a hard time with it.
> One of the reasons i split it was to allow for the bulk managing, You 
> dont Activate an allready active plugin, And you dont want to Delete 
> an Active plugin. 
I do think that regardless of what changes are integrated,  one table is 
best. Just make sure that the new interface is flexible enough to allow 
for exceptions: If a user selects an active plugin among the plugins 
that he or she wants to activate, then when the activations are 
processed, just skip that one. If a user selects an active plugin to 
delete, then on the confirmation screen you're working on, add a notice 
that "The Following Plugins are Currently Active. Please deactivate them 
before deleting." But still allow the user to go ahead and delete 
plugins that are inactive.  And, maybe allowing an over-ride checkmark 
on that screen, something like: "Yes, I really want to delete these 
active plugins."

Whether one table is used or not, I think that instead of just putting 
"Selected plugins *activated*" (or "...deleted," or "deactivated," etc.) 
as a notice box, that box should list the names of the plugins. If we do 
go with one table, then, to replace the recently activated table,  then 
the plugins that would go into that table could have a little star icon 
beside their name. Though, if under the status table, if there could be 
some sort of "uptime" notice: x minutes, x hours, x days, etc, that 
would be helpful for troubleshooting.

-RD Welch

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