Another Idea for Widgets

Part of the goal of redesigning widgets in WordPress is to make the connection between widget areas, and their presentation on the front-end of your site, more obvious. It’s clear that there’s a big disconnect between the narrow column of sidebars (or widget areas) in wp-admin, and their location within your site’s theme. Here’s an idea that presents a blueprint of your theme’s templates, allowing you to add widgets to the available widget areas:

Widget Area Blueprint

During some recent user testing, it became clear that the current UI for managing widgets does little to make it clear that widgets must be placed using drag-and-drop. It seems that re-ordering widgets using drag-and-drop is intuitive, but the initial placement of widgets is more cumbersome and not so obvious. This design tries to solve that problem by relying on the “Add Widget” button for each area. You can drag-and-drop widgets between areas, or click on the “Add Widget” button to popup a media-like modal from which you can choose widgets.

My hesitation with this approach, and with the general concept of front-end editing in general, is that it puts a lot of “stuff” in front of your face. This approach makes a lot of sense for managing the location of widgets, but not so much for managing the content of widgets. What do you think?

Design WordPress

Exploring Layouts for the WordPress Media Library

3.6 Media Menu with MP6WordPress 3.5 brought us the great media modal, which makes it super easy to upload and add images while writing a post. The modal features a grid-based layout, with large images that make browsing your library a breeze. Meanwhile, the main media page hasn’t changed much. It still lists your media library using a standard WordPress table view. Its not bad, and sometimes the table view is useful — but that grid-based layout from 3.5 would bring that easy, breezy browsing to the main media page.

I’ve worked up a few quick wireframes to run through the idea. I’m diggin’ it. There’s the standard table list view, a hybrid view, and a traditional grid view. Lots more ideas brewing in my head, but I wanted to get these “on paper.” What do you think?