A fellow designer and coworker of mine at Automattic, John Maeda, has been curating articles on the fairly new design.blog since August last year. After WordCamp US, he invited Mel Choyce and me to write an article for it each.
Here is my cover, which includes the links to Mel’s and my articles. You should also peruse and follow the various articles and covers produced on design.blog. They are quite delightful.
Right now, the WordPress dashboard is my least used and most visited page in the admin. I don’t know the history of why it was made and the decisions about it along the way. It seems like the why might be “because we needed a place for users to go when they logged in” and expanded from there.
I live in mild terror of a single question. It usually crops up when I meet someone for the first time. It’s not because the question is a difficult one for most people. In fact, it’s one many people enjoy answering.
What do you do?
Well, shit. I guess it’s time for me to attempt a meaningful answer to this. Here we go.
I’ve been thinking a little about the design of PowerPoint, WordPress, and WordPress.com lately. More specifically, I’ve been thinking about Edward Tufte’s criticism of how the design of the PowerPoint software is to blame for the Challenger disaster.
As few months ago, I decided to make an effort to see how much of my job I can do using only OSS (Open Source Software). I wanted to share my experience so far and welcome any tips/help you can share with me. This first post is about how I got started with a new computer/OS combo and not really much about design. The second (and third?) will be about using it to design.
This weekend, a whole new set of committers were announced at the first ever WordCamp US. I was among those #blessed with commit.
What the heck is commit?
For those of you who don’t hang around making Internet all day, commit is just a term for the ability to send code somewhere. In this case, it members of the WordPress community entrusted me with the ability to approve and send code to the nightly build of WordPress. Historically, there haven’t been many people with this access so it’s a pretty big honor and a sign of trust. I take it very seriously.
So here’s what happened…
Unlike Mel, I did not find out in a bar. I was on the way to the store to get some well-deserved drinks for one of the organizers when I got a ping from Nacin. It went something like this:
This was great news already. When I originally created my account, my username was “Michael Arestad”… With the space. This meant that no one could mention me on any WordPress.org site. I was thrilled to finally have this fixed for me!
Then he followed up with something fairly ominous:
Oh? There is? I was immediately pondering what that meant and trying to figure out scenarios where it would make sense to remove all spaces from names. Way off.
It turns out, the real reason for the name change was so I could become a committer.
The next few days were a bit of a blur partly because the conference was crazy, but that one completely unreal fact was bouncing around my head like Flubber™ wreaking all sorts of havoc.
Then Sunday happened. The new committers were tasked with committing something by the end of the day at the Contributor Day. This is when reality set in for us. I can tell you both Mel and I freaked out quite a bit even submitting a small change.
I have to say I am incredibly honored. I am one among very few designers who have commit. I plan to do my very best help guide the design of WordPress and maybe (if I’m lucky and have help) simplify some of those totes cray CSS selectors.
I was given commit with brilliant folks who I have the utmost respect for. Congrats to Mel Choyce (also a designer!!!), Rachel Baker, Joe Hoyle, Eric Lewis, Mike Schroder, and Pascal Birchler!
Mel Choyce was one of the first people I worked with in my initial attempt to contribute to core. It was on CEUX (rest in peace) which was an effort to introduce content blocks into the editor. Content blocks bring people together.
I spent a couple evenings a week or so working on an updated design for WordPress. I just wanted to see where I could go with it. There’s no current plan to implement it (other than maybe spinning up another MP6 and fiddling with things). It’s far from feature complete, but I think it’s at a good point to share and get some feedback.
The site activity head map is the headliner change here (other than, you know a bunch of other stuff). I think it’s time we did some encouragement right up front from the dashboard at a glance. If you look closely, you can see the dropdown that I was imagining would allow changing what information was presented on the heat map (comment activity, viewers, etc).
The top bar has been totally removed as a thing. You’ll see a bit more in the next screenshot. It’s still there in spirit, but no longer feels like yet another toolbar.
I took some ideas from some of the work we’ve been doing on WordPress.com as well as some of the ideas I implemented in Press This V1. (still missing pieces like the kitchen sink) I’m not sold on the right column meta boxes yet and haven’t messed much with custom fields, but it’s a start.
I think it’s about time Settings got some major love.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you’re interested on jamming on something like this. Go!