Generally we all know and understand responsive design and most recently the WP Admin finally got an overhaul to be responsive. Yay!
But what’s next and where can we go from here?
I’m a big fan of minimalism so naturally I think the next step is progressive reduction of the WordPress Admin, specifically the Post UI. It’s seemingly ever growing with the array of options, especially once you add a few popular and obvious plugins (SEO, caching, etc).
Progressive Reduction?? What’s that?
Progressive reductions is a term coined by LayerVault, it’s aim is to evolve and reduce the UI to advance along with the user.
Here is how LV explains it:
The idea behind Progressive Reduction is simple: Usability is a moving target. A user’s understanding of your application improves over time and your application’s interface should adapt to your user.
Real world example: If a user clicks the Publish or Update button X amount of times, depending on how many X is and what period of time it occurs over, it tells us they know what it does.
We no longer need to identify its action because it’s obvious the user knows the outcome from clicking that button. For example of the reduction part, the label could be removed and it reverts to a single icon similar to LayerVault’s example.
The initial challenge to get progressive reduction started would be to track patterns and user behavior. I think realistically it’s something that would have to be put into play and refined over time since I’m not sure how to come up with a solid benchmark to start with.
The initial benchmark would probably have to be pretty high so that it targets only power users like daily bloggers, or someone managing a huge amount of content daily and weekly.
Something like: 5 clicks to Publish per week for a minimum of 6 weeks would render the Post button into a icon for that user account.
Less is more, sometimes.
The bigger challenge might actually be figuring out how can we keep it familiar and known, but pull it back and less obtrusive?
I think the easiest and most obvious place to start is the Publishing Options area. You know: preview, save, schedule, and post/update. Once that area is cleaned up we’ll probably know where to take the rest of the Post UI.
I’m including a mock progression but its far from refined! Mine may be slightly different from yours since I’m running W3TC, Yoast SEO, and a Markdown plugin.
These plugins add to the publishing options area but I also figure W3TC and SEO are pretty common.
Thoughts that could have made this different or better:
- Changing the Publish button first
- Converting Save Draft and Preview buttons to Icons
- Removing Edit link from the Status, Visibility, and Schedule/Publish options – then pull them inline
- Removing the Markdown icon to be more inline with most users view
- OR alternatively, moved SEO, Purge, Markdown, and Revisions to a secondary box
There’s so many ways this could go that could be for the better or maybe for worse.
Moving items means either adding them somewhere else (like above WYSIWYG?) or creating an entire new box under options or elsewhere. That would probably just complicate things rather than make them more intuitive though!
Is this even necessary?
I’m not sure really. I like the current Post UI but also think at times there’s a lot of “stuff” in the way once you start piling on plugins and extending things.
These are honestly just random thoughts but hopefully they can be expanded on as I like the idea even if it never gets huge traction.
So feel free to comment as I’m curious what others think!