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Better User Experience for WordPress Sites


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An introduction to a handful of universal principles of User Experience (UX) design with tips on how to implement them on a WordPress site. Many of the ideas are easy to implement and will be useful for any site really - large or small, wordpress or not.

Presented to the WordPress Geneva group on April 23, 2013. Thanks & enjoy!

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Better User Experience for WordPress Sites

  1. 1. BetterUser Experiencefor WordPress sitesWordPress Geneva | April 23, 2013@AdamUngstad
  2. 2. • Senior Information Architect, Province ofBritish Columbia (Canada)• UX Specialist, Province of British Columbia(Canada)• Independent UX Consultant• WordPress Developer• Author & PublisherAdam Ungstad
  3. 3. 2012, 2013EuroIA - Edinburgh Sept 26-28WordCamp Victoria 2012UX Romandie April 2013
  4. 4. User Experience
  5. 5. User Experience is…“the way a person feels about using aproduct, system or service.”- Wikipedia
  6. 6. “a persons perceptions and responsesthat result from the use or anticipated useof a product, system or service”- International Standards OrganizationUser Experience is…
  7. 7. “how a person feels when interfacingwith a system.”-Smashing MagazineUser Experience is…
  8. 8.
  9. 9.
  10. 10.
  11. 11. Source:
  12. 12. Source:
  13. 13. Good UX Helps Users...• Find what they came for• Complete tasks quickly• Understand primary content• Discover related content• Navigate across channels• Recall content later• Feel that they got what they came for
  14. 14. A Few UX Methods• Content Inventory• Card Sorting• Contextual Inquiry• Diary Studies• Personas• Scenarios• Co-Design Studios• A / B Testing
  15. 15. A Few UX Deliverables• Site Maps• Wireframes• Wireflows• Storyboards• Journey maps• Functional Specifications• Prototypes• Design Guidelines
  16. 16. UX takes a lot of work!But there are some ‘universal’principles and patterns.
  17. 17. Q: What is the mostimportant page on your site?
  18. 18. Q: What is the mostimportant page on your site?A: Whatever page the user landson.
  19. 19. Source: seen this before?
  20. 20. Navigation4 Types:1. Primary (menus)2. Secondary (tags, breadcrumb, footer)3. Inline (content)4. Search
  21. 21. Vertical• StaticPrimary Navigation
  22. 22. Primary NavigationVertical• Accordion
  23. 23. Primary NavigationVertical• Flyouts
  24. 24. Primary NavigationHorizontal• Static
  25. 25. Primary NavigationSource:Horizontal• Dropdowns
  26. 26. Primary NavigationHorizontal• Flyouts
  27. 27. Primary NavigationHorizontal• Mega-Dropdowns
  28. 28. Primary NavigationHorizontal• Tabs
  29. 29. Static is generally best
  30. 30. Flyouts obscure content & aredifficult to use with a mouse
  31. 31. Use an accordionorIf you need 2 levels...
  32. 32. Use TabsIf you need 2 levels...
  33. 33. Secondary NavigationSupports Primary Navigation:• Tags• Breadcrumbs• Related Posts• Footers
  34. 34. CategoriesPrimary Topics
  35. 35. TagsSecondary Topics
  36. 36. TagsUse Tags to:• Link content across categories• Create an index• Help users discover what they didn’tknow they were looking for...
  37. 37. Secondary NavigationBreadcrumbsTell users• where they are• what’s around them1 2 3 4
  38. 38. Secondary Navigation1 2 3 4BreadcrumbsUse them only if:• You have highly structured, layered,deep hierarchical content.
  39. 39. Secondary NavigationFooters....don’t hold back.Mega footers area good thing.
  40. 40. Source:
  41. 41. Source:
  42. 42. Inline Navigation
  43. 43. Source:
  44. 44. Source:
  45. 45. Source:
  46. 46. Q: What type of navigation dousers use most?a) Primaryb) Secondaryc) Inline
  47. 47. Q: What type of navigation dousers use most?a) Primaryb) Secondaryc) Inline
  48. 48. Making the most of inline navigation…
  49. 49. “Store hours are Monday 9 – 5 PM,Tuesday 9-6 PM, Wednesdays closed,Thursdays 9-9PM, Fridays 9-5PMSaturdays 10-5 PM, Sundays 12- 4PM”Use tables to help users scan content
  50. 50. Use tables to help users scan content
  51. 51. Use tables to help users scan contentYou use tables in MS Word all the time...
  52. 52. The standard WP Editor doesn’t supporttables, but you don’t have to use HTML...Use tables to help users scan content
  53. 53. Two options:1. Change your editor(get CK Editor plugin), orUse tables to help users scan content
  54. 54. Or:2. Use an offline editor such as WindowsLive Editor or Mars EditUse tables to help users scan content
  55. 55. Don’t Expect, Suggest.vYour PostRelated Posts
  56. 56. Search
  57. 57. Use Columns
  58. 58. Use Columns
  59. 59. Ouch!
  60. 60. 3 is the magic number...
  61. 61. 1 2 3
  62. 62. 1 2 3
  63. 63. 1 2 3
  64. 64. Use ContrastUsing contrast is a good thing. It helpspeople to read your content.Using contrast is a good thing. It helpspeople to read your content.Using contrast is a good thing. It helpspeople to read your content.
  65. 65. Default shapesfor thumbnailsare square:Image Gallery Thumbnails
  66. 66. But think about the things you look atall day:• Your Computer Monitor• Your TV• Your SmartPhone• Your Photographs• The windshield on your carImage Gallery Thumbnails
  67. 67. Yes, they are all rectangles.
  68. 68. Image Gallery Thumbnails
  69. 69. It’s easy to change the size of thethumbnails for your galleries...
  70. 70. Settings  Media  Thumbnail Size
  71. 71. NOTE: this setting only appliesto photos added after the settingis changed
  72. 72. Q: What is the easiest way tomake your site look good?
  73. 73. Q: What is the easiest way tomake your site look good?A: Let other people do the workfor you.
  74. 74. This doesn’t mean you should hire expensive:• graphic designers• photographers• flash developers• UX Designers(well, maybe UX designers... ;-)Don’t re-invent the wheel
  75. 75. You bought a premium theme for $30.For a couple dollars more you can buy:• fancy sliders• icons & backgrounds• stock photos• Responsive plugins• anything you need really!Don’t re-invent the wheel
  76. 76. Spend $20, get that responsive jqueryslider, and impress your users like you wantto.Spend $3, and get the background you wantso you can stop trying to design it yourself.You have content to write!Don’t re-invent the wheel
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  81. 81. • Comfight lets you search Flickr with specificcriteria on usage rights (IE CreativeCommons).• Need a picture of a garden to go with yourpost? Try compfight.Give credit where it is
  82. 82. • Metacontent• Readability• Contact on every page• FontsContent
  83. 83. The excerpt…. Not just for search results!Metadata
  84. 84. The excerpt appears when your post isshared on social networks.Metadata
  85. 85. Always, Always, Always...1. Have a relevant image with your post.2. Write a good excerpt.Metadata
  86. 86. Readability is more than“write at a grade 8 reading level”Readability
  87. 87. Use Active / Positive Tense. Change thesesentences:• Geneva is not a large city• I don’t like the cold• WordPress does not cost a lot of moneyReadability
  88. 88. Use Active / Positive Tense. Change thesesentences:• Geneva is not a large cityGeneva is a small city• I don’t like the coldI like the heat• WordPress does not cost a lot of moneyWordPress is affordableReadability
  89. 89. Talk about what things are,not about what they aren’t.
  90. 90. Use white space:• Small paragraphs• Small column widths• Bullet points, numbered lists• Subheaders• TablesReadability
  91. 91. Good typography is like new paint for thewalls of your living room...It is:• inexpensive,• easy, and• it makes you look good.Typography
  92. 92. The easiest way to use good fontson your site is to use anonline service.
  93. 93. • You (usually) pay a small fee• You drop some code into your header• You can use all kinds of cool fonts.• Don’t go too crazy however. Arial is finefor the body of your posts!Online Font Services
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  97. 97. Put it on every page.• Good for findability• Good for SEO• Builds trustContact Information
  98. 98. This doesn’t mean put a link to your“contact us” form.If you have an address or phonenumber, put it on each page. Then peopleknow you are real.Contact Information
  99. 99. • Scrolling vs Clicking• Calls to Action• Responsive Design• The Last WordMiscellaneous
  100. 100. Scrolling is better because:• It is faster• Requires less effort• Doesn’t load new pages• Mouse wheels and swipesScrolling vs Clicking
  101. 101. No one uses scroll bars anymore, becausewe have mouse wheels and swipes.Don’t be afraid of long pages.Scrolling vs Clicking
  102. 102. • Use High Contrast• Consider bundling products• Place them before and after the fold• Don’t interrupt a sequential processCalls to Action
  103. 103. Get a Responsive theme, especially if youare using social media.Don’t worry if your home page looks weirdwith it... chances are no one will see thehome page anyways.Responsive Design
  104. 104. The Last Word...
  105. 105. • Awesome• Important• Engaging• Critical• Time consuming....User Experience is….
  106. 106. But don’t forget...
  107. 107. Content is still king.
  108. 108. Thank you!@AdamUngstad