Improving WordPress Themes & Plugins Support Documentation

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Solid user support documentation of WordPress themes and plugins is key for Users Experience. Many WordPress theme and plugin developers have frustrated users. Users are digging through websites, …

Solid user support documentation of WordPress themes and plugins is key for Users Experience. Many WordPress theme and plugin developers have frustrated users. Users are digging through websites, forums and surfing the web for answers on how to setup, use or modify WordPress products.

Learn how to create an effective learning channel incorporating Information Architecture and User Experience techniques. Develop a blue print to organize your step by step guides, video tutorials, troubleshooting tips, FAQ, and forums for easy findability for both novices and pros. Points to address include reducing your user’s pain points and learning curve, the value of UI consistency, alternative concept map of information and a developer’s documentation check list before release.

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  • 1. Improving WordPress
    Themes & Plugins
    Support Documentation
    By Gloria Antonelli
  • 2. About.me
    Fine artist
    Started web dev in mid 90’s
    Crazy about learning new technology
    Learn from the best
    Love to teach what I learn
    Go to a lot of conferences
    Shy online but not in person
    I consult, train and sometimes write.
    http://2011.chicago.wordcamp.org/2011/07/23/interview-with-gloria-antonelli/
  • 3. Support documents
    & learning channels
    arekey for great
    User Experience.
  • 4. The Problem
    Too many frustrated users are searching for answers on how to use your products.
    examples: All in one SEO & Thematic
  • 5. It’s been the Wild West in WP development land.
    Are we ready to settle down with some standards in support document creation?
  • 6. WP Gold Standard
    three
    d’s
    the
    development
    design
    documentation
    Create standards without
    stifling innovation and creativity.
  • 7. Questions to ask yourself.
    What is your business model?
    Business goals?
    Full-time venture?
    Who are your target users?
    What is your development philosophy?
    Why are you making themes & plugins?
    Once you know tell your users!
  • 8. the team :
    many hats, jobs & skills
    CODE DESIGN UI UX IA SEO
    The holy trinity
    UX IA Dev
  • 9. Are you wearing all the hats?
  • 10. For users to easily find information to configure, modify & use your products.
    EXPECTATIONS
  • 11. The Long Tail of Users
    Head
    experienced users
    Long Tail
    new & non tech users
    Unlimited niche users with various skill sets
  • 12. The Learning Curve
    Difficult
    Head
    experienced users
    Easy
    Long Tail
    new & non tech users
    Unlimited niche users with various skill sets
  • 13. The Learning Curve
    Difficult
    Head
    experienced users
    Easy
    Long Tail
    new & non tech users
    limited
    Unlimited niche users with various skill sets
  • 14. The Learning Curve
    Difficult
    Are you addressing the needs of this market segment?
    Easy
    [new & non tech users]
  • 15. Target Users Skill Set**
    **an estimate of skill sets
    *refers to all JavaScript libraries
  • 16. “please care about your end users”
    Gary Vaynerchuk
    FOWA Vegas 2011
  • 17. WP Learning Curve
    html
    Multiple learning layers
    WordPress UI
    Theme Functionality
    Theme Options
    Theme Widgets
    Many Plugins
    css
    php
  • 18. WP Learning Curve
    Advanced learning layers
    html
    WordPress UI
    Theme Functionality
    Theme Options
    Theme Widgets
    Many Plugins
    css
    php
  • 19. Users Process
    Decide to use WordPress
    Plugin Selection
    Set up
    Theme
    Modify
    Theme
    Theme Selection
    >
    >
    >
    >
    repeat as needed
    read docs
    search web
    view videos
    view tutorials
    search web
    read reviews
    select & hope
    for the best
    read docs
    search web
    view videos
    view tutorials
    search web
    read reviews
    read docs
    search web
  • 20. Theme Support,
    Option Page UI,
    & Plugins
    everyone is
    different
    Don’t know what to expect until you buy in.
    are you
    making
    users
    crazy?
  • 21. Move from Dev Centric
    to User Centric
    Is there a clear learning path
    for all users?
  • 22. Create a [UX-Centric] Process
    • Think of users needs throughout each step.
  • Create a [UX-Centric] Process
    • Think of users needs throughout each step.
    • 23. Brainstorm ideas/solutions to ease pain points.
  • Create a [UX-Centric] Process
    • Think of users needs throughout each step.
    • 24. Brainstorm ideas/solutions to ease pain points.
    • 25. Collect data from users in each target segment.
  • Create a [UX-Centric] Process
    • Think of users needs throughout each step.
    • 26. Brainstorm ideas/solutions to ease pain points.
    • 27. Collect data from users in each target segment.
    • 28. Develop a prototype of learning channels.
  • Create a [UX-Centric] Process
    • Think of users needs throughout each step.
    • 29. Brainstorm ideas/solutions to ease pain points.
    • 30. Collect data from users in each target segment.
    • 31. Develop a prototype of learning channels.
    • 32. Create a foundation for the learning center.
  • Create a [UX-Centric] Process
    • Think of users needs throughout each step.
    • 33. Brainstorm ideas/solutions to ease pain points.
    • 34. Collect data from users in each target segment.
    • 35. Develop a prototype of learning channels.
    • 36. Create a foundation for the learning center.
    • 37. Write content, create videos, and tutorials.
  • Create a [UX-Centric] Process
    • Think of users needs throughout each step.
    • 38. Brainstorm ideas/solutions to ease pain points.
    • 39. Collect data from users in each target segment.
    • 40. Develop a prototype of learning channels.
    • 41. Create a foundation for the learning center.
    • 42. Write content, create videos, and tutorials.
    • 43. Conduct usability testing as you go along.
  • “Don’t Make Me Think”
    By Steve Krug
    A Common Sense Approach
    to Web Usability
    The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems
    http://www.sensible.com/
  • 44. User Pain Points
    • Don’t know where to start.
    • 45. Understanding features in different themes.
    • 46. Unfamiliar with terms & finding info.
    • 47. Different naming conventions.
    • 48. Next iterations of WP core.
    • 49. No theme support evaluation system.
  • Don’t start with just a forum!
  • 50. Don’t start with just a forum!
    Users need more step by step:
  • 51. Don’t start with just a forum!
    Users need more step by step:
    “get started” instructions – install & configure
  • 52. Don’t start with just a forum!
    Users need more step by step:
    “get started” instructions – install & configure
    guides for troubleshooting, option page, features,
    modifying the theme
    Forums have a
    place but best to
    give answers
    before they are
    asked.
  • 53. Don’t start with just a forum!
    Users need more step by step:
    “get started” instructions – install & configure
    guides for troubleshooting, option page, features,
    modifying the theme
    advance code & developers guide
  • 54. Don’t start with just a forum!
    Users need more step by step:
    “get started” instructions – install & configure
    guides for troubleshooting, option page, features,
    modifying the theme
    advance code & developers guide
    videos, tutorials and faq
  • 55. Don’t start with just a forum!
    Users need more step by step:
    “get started” instructions – install & configure
    guides for troubleshooting, option page, features,
    modifying the theme
    advance code & developers guide
    videos, tutorials and faq
    links to external resources
  • 56. Don’t start with just a forum!
    Users need more step by step:
    get started instructions – install & configure
    guides for troubleshooting, option page, features,
    modifying the theme
    advance code & developers guide
    videos, tutorials and faq
    links to external resources
    Forums have a
    place but best to
    give answers
    before they are
    asked.
  • 57. Create Multiple Channels
    Guides
    Forum
    Videos
    Tutorials
  • 58. Documentation Tips
    Information Architecture
    Findability
    Visual Presentation
    Instructional Creation
    Concept Map Model
    Best Practices
  • 59. Information Architecture
    is the categorization of information into a coherent structure.
  • 60. Information Architecture
    Arrange in order of importance
  • 61. Information Architecture
    Arrange in order of importance
    Arrange in order of skill level
  • 62. Information Architecture
    Arrange in order of importance
    Arrange in order of skill level
    Clear calls of action (Start Here)
  • 63. Information Architecture
    Arrange in order of importance
    Arrange in order of skill level
    Clear calls of action (Start Here)
    Clear navigation
  • 64. Information Architecture
    Arrange in order of importance
    Arrange in order of skill level
    Clear calls of action (Start Here)
    Clear navigation
    Use descriptive headlines
  • 65. Information Architecture
    Arrange in order of importance
    Arrange in order of skill level
    Clear calls of action (Start Here)
    Clear navigation
    Use descriptive headlines
    UI consistency for ease of use
  • 66. Information Architecture
    Arrange in order of importance
    Arrange in order of skill level
    Clear calls of action (Start Here)
    Clear navigation
    Use descriptive headlines
    UI consistency for ease of use
    Link to external resources
  • 67. Findability
    ability to locate and present usable information easily, accurately, and quickly as possible.
  • 68. Findability
    Create a visual map
  • 69. Findability
    Create a visual map
    Create a sitemap
  • 70. Findability
    Create a visual map
    Create a sitemap
    Create a table of content and index
  • 71. Findability
    Create a visual map
    Create a sitemap
    Create a table of content and index
    Use Search Engine Optimization
  • 72. Visual Presentation
    Use color coding & icons
  • 73. Visual Presentation
    Use color coding & icons
    Use white space for readability
  • 74. Visual Presentation
    Use color coding & icons
    Use white space for readability
    Use bullet or numbered lists
  • 75. Visual Presentation
    Use color coding & icons
    Use white space for readability
    Use bullet or numbered lists
    Chunk instructional content
  • 76. Instructional Creation
    Break down processes into clear
    step by step instructions.
  • 77. Instructional Creation
    Break down processes into clear
    step by step instructions.
    Create new tutorials from the forum conversations.
  • 78. Instructional Creation
    Break down processes into clear
    step by step instructions.
    Create new tutorials from the forum conversations.
    Provide written content for videos.
  • 79. Instructional Creation
    Break down processes into clear
    step by step instructions.
    Create new tutorials from the forum conversations.
    Provide written content for videos.
    Clarification of terminology.
  • 80. Concept Map Model
    Create an infographic
    about your theme and theme learning channels.
    http://yoast.com/wordpress-theme-anatomy/
  • 81. Standards & Best Practices
    UI Consistency reduces learning curve
    and leverages previous experience.
    Establishes UI conventions for Option pages and Plugin Documentation.
  • 82. Gloria Antonelli
    Emerging Technologist Strategist
    Consultant & Trainer on Web 2.0
    Techcocktail.com writer
    gloria@gloriaantonelli.com
    socially @gloriaantonelli
    on facebook, linkedin & twitter
    Thank You
  • 83. Photo credit
    “Learn” Aaron Schmidt
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronschmidt/
    “Hat man” Andrew Warren
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/27273053@N05/4507100640/
    Most others are my iPhone images from Art Museums in the US.