Massive changes to the WP interface
I like your stories about the classes you teach. I think that’s a cool space to be in. I have taught a few beginner workshops at conferences, and I had fun doing it. I love being around people who love learning.
Teaching is fun but it is also an excellent way to see how a tool like WP works in the “real world.” Some background to my experiences: over four years of teaching WordPress to adults, my students have been about 80% women; less than 13% are under 30; and over 80% are aged 40 to 60+.
I don’t present this as any sort of representative demographic for WP.com users—but I suspect that the demographic of the average testing group for WP.com is not 80% female and 80% over 40 ;-) Thus I think I may have some perspective on the current hullabaloo.
I am female and over 50. My interest in the internet and its associated technologies began in 2000 when I was working at the public library. I saw how digital “immigrants” were struggling with the new technology, and how poorly they were served by tools designed largely by digital “natives.” This state of affairs has not only not improved, it’s getting worse. The focus of most internet tools are now directed towards a demographic that uses the internet primarily through smart phones. In my experiences both professionally and personally, most over 40 folks do have smart phones out of necessity, but they do not like using them to do much more than calling, texting, basic email, and web surfing.
In short, people over 40 are generally in a “mobile-last” mindset. They prefer to use a laptop or desktop computer for productivity-focused tasks. Aging makes using small screens and fussy little buttons much more difficult and frustrating.
Another pet peeve for Boomers and older is: familiar programs that change randomly and/or radically. Aging makes it more challenging to learn new things, and once learned, it’s nice not to have to re-learn something frequently. Radical changes that are made without warning and without explanation are particularly unwelcome for older people.
I think we learned a lot from the updates to the editor from before.
It’s hard to imagine that it seemed like a good idea to spring Beep Beep Boop unannounced & unexplained as the new default behavior. The fact that the New Editor launch was so widely criticized points to a UX team that is out of touch with its users.
This is what I mean when I say I don’t trust WordPress right now: I do not see an adequate level of awareness of, or sensitivity to, a significant portion of its customers.
WordPress.com is going through a transition right now, and I really do hope you’ll stick around.
I will, but only because I have a lot invested in WordPress.com, both personally and professionally; I don’t want to just walk away. However if the transition is towards focusing on a dumbed-down, mobile-first experience at the expense of the traditional publishing & admin tools, I will likely cut my losses and invest my time and energy in another platform.
P.S. It would be interesting to find out the general demographic of members here that are having trouble with/are opposed to the new UX: I suspect a significant percentage are in the over-40 bracket.
A statistic that would be really useful on each post itself is an exact number for shares of a post, on the “Share This” feature. Not e.g. the “1K” or “2K” that appears once a post has been shared more than a certain number of points.
All of this explanation is precisely what’s wrong with the new format. Presently, I can click onto my stats page and see all of my information on that one page. If I want to explore further, I can.
The new format requires entirely too much clicking and scrolling… down…down…down…
I also dislike the fact that my choices to disable the reblog and like buttons on posts can still be used on the Admin bar and in the Reader.
Yes, this is rather troubling. But I was unable to locate the reblog and like buttons in the Admin bar.
It peeves me that my choice of displaying only summaries in my feed does not stop mobile users from reading full posts without ever clicking into my blog and creating a page view stat.
Very disturbing. And a not insignificant factor in the declining page view stats I’ve experienced over most of the past two years. WordPress aware of this development?
Is WordPress aware of this development?
“The fact that the New Editor launch was so widely criticized points to a UX team that is out of touch with its users.”
I entirely agree with @adriannadams and it is well put.
For myself I am over 60 but have the advantage of being in the computer world since the 80’s.
If I had done something so appalling as this I would have apologised for all the inconvenience, corrected it and would still probably have been fired. Defending the indefensible is ridiculous and without credibility.
All this talk of two stats pages makes me wonder if I live in parallel universe. Not to mention the fact that the log in page I’ve used for years to go directly to the classic dashboard evidently takes others to the Reader!
The three WordPress stats pages:
1. https://YourImmenselyPopularWebsiteName.wordpress.com/wp-admin/index.php?page=stats — Don’t know when this was created. Can’t remember when it wasn’t there, and I’ve been using WordPress since 2008.
2. https://wordpress.com/my-stats/ — “My Stats” was introduced about three years ago. Warnings that the older stats page would soon be eliminated came and went. And yet the old page stands still, working as well as ever.
3. https://wordpress.com/stats — The only one of the three which requires eight pages of a forum thread to begin to describe its problems.
First the correct terms are not “Old” or “Classic”, but “Desk Top Friendly”, not “New” but “Mobile Friendly”.
With reference to; “Have you tried the upgraded stats page ?” Please explain how this can be considered upgraded when it is deficient of information like the stats table, involves more scrolling, less on screen at one time and omits a drop-down menu for navigation ?
With reference to; “Switch to the improved posting experience”. Please explain ow this can be considered improved when it omits Add Poll, Add Contact Form, Screen Options, Single Column View and a drop-down menu for navigation.
Pleased to see that this thread hasn’t fallen into a black hole!
The oldest stats page, again, is:
https://_YourBlogAddress_/wp-admin/index.php?page=stats, without the underscores.
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I’m over 40, female and the computer classes offered in high school at ‘my time’ were Radio TRS(trash) 80’s – the massive desktop paperholders with the little red button that wiped the whole disk clean – – :)
With the exception of a Level 4 Access Database class my employer in 2004 sent me to, and the one-on-one mentoring in php I received from a friend – I’ve learned how to build databases, streamline work flows, build websites (from scratch and on CMS foundation – WP) all from help-files, books, Google Searches and online community forums – –
I do not consider myself resistant to change – – I gave myself a year with Windows 8 before giving that computer to my son to replace his old/died one and purchased a new one for myself with Windows 7 –
I was in the middle of building a custom database for a client in Access 2003 when the 2007 ribbon bar came out – – took me 3 extra days to get used to the new interface and go with the flow – –
Here’s the rub – – I understand the reasons for upgrading/supporting smaller device ease of use, etc. I’m willing to ‘upgrade my own grey stuff stuck between my ears’ to keep up with the changes – however, after 20 years of being a leader in finding ways to put various software and tools to use in streamlining operations at a variety of businesses – I cannot help but feel that the race to go forward and meet the needs of the new ‘smartphone/tablet’ generation is not taking the ‘still like the tactile feeling of my keyboard and full sized monitor’ folks into much account – WP is not the only ones – – :)
After many years of hard lessons, I tend to pick tools I think are going to be around for awhile – I’m ever more leaning towards open-source, community type offerings, because I believe they consistently release upgrades that make sense – not upgrades that give a whole lot of bells and whistles that justify an ‘upgrade” cost – – the software as a service world is still troubling to me – – – I see the benefit, both to end-users and to those who work so hard (I’m thinking of free-plugins for WP that have ‘premium’ options available) –
And yet – – for me, so often the moment a price-tag is attached to a software, future upgrades seem to have less of what is needed, now, and more of what will be necessary in the future – – –
I build websites for small rural businesses/organizations – – for my customers, I have their website in WP, built in responsive container, AND I always make a .pdf of the announcement/flyer, event, etc., because, there are still folks in this area that do not have A. reliable internet service or any internet service B. a computer, tablet or smartphone – – and work with businesses and libraries in the area to make available ‘handouts’ for items available on the website – –
I call my process ‘walking with a foot in both worlds” and I think changing tech trends/cultural ‘knowledge’ of tools, need to take into account that though you see a trend, doesn’t mean everyone is already on the boat – – –
So, while I agree with your comments, for the most part, I think it has less to do with age and more to do with whether people race to jump on the latest bandwagon or take a longer view that includes the possibility for those left on shore to still join the trip at some point – –
Thanks for your insights! I didn’t mean to say that everyone over 40 is resistant to change or has difficulty with technology. I was speaking about people who feel the need to get some help and so take a class. I know people in their 60s who are totally comfortable with new technology and have no problem adjusting quickly to changes in their tools. But this situation is atypical: the majority of people over 40 do not have technical backgrounds, or their experience with technology has a significant time gap & so that they are unsure about current tools. Frequent, sudden, and/or unexplained changes are very unsettling to these people.
I cannot help but feel that the race to go forward and meet the needs of the new ‘smartphone/tablet’ generation is not taking the ‘still like the tactile feeling of my keyboard and full sized monitor’ folks into much account – WP is not the only ones…
No, WP.com is certainly not the only one! There is obviously tremendous pressure to go with the latest style in UX design. And yes, there are styles in design: I’ve been in this game long enough to see that stuff gets changed just because of a perceived need to adopt a popular new visual style.
I build websites for small rural businesses/organizations – – for my customers, I have their website in WP, built in responsive container…
Very similar to my own situation! WP is an amazing tool for communities that lack the financial base for high-budget web services. It is THE mainstay for non-profits, community groups, small businesses, artists and craftspeople. My fear is that WP.com is moving in a direction that will negatively impact its utility for older and/or non-technical people.
I did hear/read ya! :) Just adding my ‘thoughts’ to the mix based off your post! Still trying to get better at responding to threads to those who come later – – – with things I think are important to keep in mind – whether shared by others or not – – –
So – you are a fellow ‘ we take care of the gap between DIYers and “have $10,000 to drop on custom” site people” Awesome! Does it bother you that as ever increasingly robust ‘free’ tools are made available that ‘website’ options still sort of land ‘learn to DIY, depend on the volunteer hours of a ‘self-learner’ or pay the big bucks?”
When I first was ‘introduced’ to transitioning from database creation/management to websites, I said, “Can’t we build modules that we can tweak and get another customer up and running for less?” – – I worked for a contract who’s database division’s standard answer for streamlining operations was,
“Sure – give us 6 months and $60,000 and we can build that….”
I did it, at $12/hour, with two temps, (I don’t know their wages, but probably not much more than mine) in 6 months, across multiple divisions with an ROI of $238,000 the first year – – –
I understand getting paid what you’re worth – I do my best to inform my potential clients about upfront costs, man-hour costs to maintain and ROI – I try to get them to understand, that at some point, if their website isn’t paying for itself (in sales, customer satisfaction, answers in the middle of the night while their sleeping) it’s just an expensive hobby – – – :)
My costs are calculated on what I do, my education/experience and where I live – – the closest competitor is about $2,6000 over my cost for a basic website – – how is this possible? Is it just the way things are?
I had a debate with my (very good debator) father in 1996 – – re: the internet/computers – – My stance – – “This is a foundation upon which we can have more access to history, how-to, etc. It allows us to cross the barriers and forge relationships that defy nationalistic goals – that allows us to see how one action- 16 steps away – creates a result we don’t like – – Yes, it can be used for evil – it can be used to spread disinformation, etc., but on the other hand, I truly believe it could also be the tool that takes us to the next level of greatness – not because we become powerful, but because we get the information we need to understand how someone else views the world.”
So – that said – as back story – – LOL – I’ve had customers who are 72 that stayed late, called me on weekends, offered to pay me out of their own pockets to learn – –
I’ve had customers who were 26 that were mad as hell they couldn’t just have a “facebook’ type interface to instantly post every single thought in their head – – – –
But I still believe – that the internet can be a force for awesome changes to our species and goals – – – that there will always be those who take the high road and those who don’t – – there will always be those who care about earning a living while serving – and there are those who realize change is good, but sometimes, in the interest of being fair, slow down just a tad on what’s possible and think more about what’s needed – right now – – –
Sorry – – My sturdy little soapbox has served me well for years – – -I’m an old timer – can’t see giving it up!
But would love to hear more about your challenges/thoughts given the folks we serve to earn our living! :)
I confess to being so frustrated some days, I’m tempted to raise my prices just to weed those who think having a website gives them free access to a Personal Assistant – for all their business needs – – :)
I’m happy to help, but at some point, I find myself thinking, “Why is it I care more about your brand/business’ than you do? Thanks for listening…..
Hello, all. I’m catching up with this thread again after working in another area today. There are additional new updates that will be launching any time now—notifications are on that list.
Sorry to pester you, but did you notice my 2nd post – about the missing graph in post history and a couple other things?
Let me double check!
First the correct terms are not “Old” or “Classic”, but “Desk Top Friendly”, not “New” but “Mobile Friendly”.
The “New” is taking giant steps backwards, apparently to produce a a mobile-only “experience.” Three examples:
- All the new layouts (Reader, Stats, Editor) are constrained by mobile viewport widths. Why on earth is the layout fixed at 960px? The One True Dashboard™ is truly responsive. The most popular non-mobile screen size is 1366×768. So now we have 400+ empty pixels on each and every page. Single column scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll…
- No more hover menus on the main menubar, with no attempt to replace the functionality. I get that hover states on mobile can be problematic, But really, does this mean you toss out hover menus entirely?
- Loss of footer menu for Reader & Stats pages, with no attempt to replace the functionality. Where are the links to Support, Themes, etc.?
Dumb and dumber… I’m at a loss to understand why WP.com’s UX team seems to be unwilling to integrate even a halfway-decent desktop experience with the “New” tools. Or perhaps we’re going to a dual-mode system, with walled gardens for mobile and desktop. I have no clue. It all just looks like a big cluster**** to me.
I tried the new stats briefly, hated only seeing 10 days displayed on the graph.
This is already on the list.
Then, in Posts&Pages, clicked on “show all” and noted that there was no total at the bottom any more showing total # of clicks on posts!
Do you mean you can’t find the views inside the Posts & Pages blog (it’s now shown at the bottom left of the graph) or do you mean you can’t find a total in the Clicks box?
Also, I noted there was no icon next to each listed post where you could click and see the HISTORY of views for that post.
Now you need to click on the title of the post to open the post stats.
The new format also seemed too stretched-out vertically, involving a lot of scrolling down and down and down.
Got it. This is on the list.
Thanks for filling out the survey.
@tankera13, I really like the way you write. :)
On this part:
I had extra clicks/page loads to arrive at “logging out” screen from my reader — I can hover/log-out link click when I’m visiting other sites, via the navigation bar- why not from my reader? Am I in need of a theme upgrade to allow this? AND if I’m just missing something, feel free to tell me so
You are not missing anything. Right now, you need to click the Gravatar in the blue toolbar and then click the “Sign Out” link next to your username in the left sidebar. Or, as you noted, you can use the sign out link in the hover/dropdown menu in the classic dashboard.
I’m working to keep track of the number of times people have noted missing a log out link as a hover option in the blue toolbar. I cannot promise if/when it will come back, but I do think it’s very worthwhile to track the feedback. I like collecting data around these kinds of things. The stats team will be making updates based on feedback, but the changes won’t happen immediately. Updates will take some time.
All the new layouts (Reader, Stats, Editor) are constrained by mobile viewport widths. Why on earth is the layout fixed at 960px?
No, as far as I examined the newer elements, they are 653 pixel wide while the old stats element is 960px wide, resulting in a loss of 307 pixel in width. A clear two column design thrown away for a confusing one column design that is scroll-heavy. Content is squished in the height, and a huge area of screen estate not used. This is mobile design.
Desktop users with a widescreen must now adopt to the screen estate of a mobile device? This is what they basically did, they have taken away screen estate to make it more accessable for mobile user.
This needs to be answered… why did you throw away one third of the element?
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