If you follow me on social media or know me personally then it’s highly likely that this post is a little redundant. Regardless, I would like to bring this full circle and highlight a problem with WordPress. Yes, there are many things that could be considered “the problem” but I think the current (and largest) problem to solve is how to empower novice users to be able to create great WordPress websites.
This became apparent more then ever last week when one of the leadership members from Endurance flew into town and wanted to go to breakfast. He mentioned that he wanted to go back to Joe’s Cafe, a place we had visited with others a few months prior. Not knowing the exact address I looked up his (Joe’s) website. For the next couple minutes I want to walk you through the literal thoughts I had when first viewing his website.
Thought #1: Wow, I really like that headline font, wonder what font that is?
Thought #2: Did he hire a professional photographer for these images because they look great.
Thought #3: For a small little cafe, this menu is displayed really nice also. I’m kind of annoyed by the lack of alignment in the columns but he is doing pretty good if thats the biggest problem.
Thought #4: I wonder what platform this is built with or if he hired an agency. I can’t imagine his little cafe being able to justify an agency but what do I know?
I keep scrolling as I enjoy (in a weird way) a really nice and simple site and then I hit the footer. Bam…
Thought #5: Ahhh! That makes sense. I should talk to Joe about switching to Bluehost and using WordPress considering his cafe is literally down the street from the office.
20-30 minutes pass after that trail of thoughts and I find myself making the commute to Joe’s cafe and I have my most powerful thought yet.
Thought #6: If I ask Joe to switch to WordPress, I’m concerned that he will log into WordPress and not know how to create as great of a site as he currently has. I don’t want to recommend something to him (or anyone else) that will not help them be more successful.
This thought genuinely troubled me and I have spent the last week thinking about how we as the WordPress community can solve it.
If I were to place some assumptions on Joe I would say that he is non-technical, passionate about cooking and just wants to focus on his business and not worry about running his website. I could be wrong but that would be the bet I would take.
Based on my personal experience, I fully believe the decision by Matt to stop scheduled releases and focus on the publishing experience is the best decision he and the WordPress community could make. WordPress is losing customers to other builders because the learning curve for novice users is just too steep and I have witnessed it first hand.
Fast forward a few days…
Over the weekend I was really excited to see the progress from the WordPress UX team regarding the direction of the new WordPress editor. Davide Casali wrote an article highlighting an Automattic design sprint they just went through that was tailored towards the new editing experience. I would highly recommend taking a look at the direction: Parrot: an integrated site builder and editor concept for WordPress
Here are some examples from Davide’s article highlighting the thought process.
In short, I really look forward to the day that anyone looking to have a blog, the next big startup or run a small breakfast cafe can power it with WordPress and be able to make it beautiful in the process.