Call for testing: Plugin Browser

Hi I am Enej, the project lead for the new Plugin Browser for Jetpack sites. I’m excited to show you what we’ve been working on, and hear what you think of the ability to manage plugins on your Jetpack-powered WordPress.org sites from right here on WordPress.com.

Plugin Browser
Plugin Browser

What is it?

The new plugin browser lets you find and install plugins from the WordPress.org plugin directory. You can search for keywords or browse within Featured, New and Popular categories. If you’ve got plugins on your site that you no longer need, then this update also lets you remove (delete) those plugins from your sites. You can still activate/deactivate plugins, and turn on (or off) auto-updates as well.

As part of the plugin browser project we have added more details to the single plugin view, which now surfaces reviews and ratings from the WordPress community, as well as the full description, changelog and other information specified by the plugin author.

What’s new:

  • Searching for a plugin from the WordPress.org plugin repository
  • Installing a plugin directly from the WordPress.org plugin repository
  • Removing (deleting) a plugin from your site
  • Browsing Featured, New and Popular plugin categories
  • New information/layout on the single plugin view
  • Improved support for Multi-site WordPress.org installations

What to test:

You will need a Jetpack connected site to test these new features. Make sure you’ve got Jetpack installed and connected on a test site, and then activate the Manage module.

  • Are you able to install your favourite plugin on the site by searching for it in the browser?
  • Is there any information missing from the plugin page that would be helpful?
  • Are you able to remove plugins from your site?
  • Any bugs or frustration you feel while using it?
  • Does the flow between pages make sense? Is there anything confusing?

How to test:

  1. Go to My Sites on Horizon and click on Add next to Plugins in the sidebar.
  2. Search for a plugin that you want to install on one of your Jetpack sites and figure out how to install it. The plugin should be installed, activated and set to autoupdate right away. Check in the wp-admin of your site to confirm that the plugin was installed and activated.
  3. Try removing the same plugin that you just installed or a different one that you don’t want to keep anymore. Confirm in wp-admin that it was in fact removed.
  4. Try going to My Sites and selecting a specific site, then go through the plugin install process again and see if it makes sense.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about these changes in the comments of this post. Feel free to post multiple times if you’ve got a lot to say. What could we do to make this more useful? Do you think you’ll use this feature to manage your plugins? Why? Why not?

We are going to gather feedback about the plugin browser for the next 2 weeks, so until September 24th September 28th.

Wrap Up: Theme Showcase Jetpack Integration

Thanks again for testing the Jetpack-enabled Theme Showcase!

Following up on the feedback received, we’ve now fixed the link opening behavior, so that clicking on “Preview” in the “•••” menu opens a new tab, as does clicking on the theme thumbnail.

We’ve also fixed a couple of other bugs that emerged from the testing: there are now clearer messages when Jetpack is disabled and when Jetpack hasn’t been updated, which will help to clarify some install situations..

The feature right now seems stable, even if we are aware it’s just the first step to create a complete experience. We are planning to release this with the next Jetpack release, so stay tuned!

Thanks, and looking forward to our next round of testing!

Call for Testing: Theme Showcase Jetpack Integration

Hey everyone, this is Bernie. I’m a developer with the team working on the Theme Showcase, and today we’d like to invite you to test the latest feature we’ve been working on: Jetpack integration.

WHAT IS IT?

You may have already encountered the new Theme Showcase on WordPress.com (or even took part in our first testing round when we introduced it a month ago). The feature we’d like you to test this time will enable you to use the Showcase to manage themes on your self-hosted WordPress site, via the Jetpack plugin. In this first stage we are limiting the features to searching, previewing, and activating themes you’ve already installed, in a way similar to the Showcase’s functionality for sites hosted on WordPress.com. In the future we’ll expand these features, this is just the start.

What works:

  • Search for a theme by name.
  • Use the Customizer to preview and activate themes.
  • Activate a theme directly from the main list.
  • Details link in the “•••” menu.

What will work soon:

  • Search for a theme by description and features.

What isn’t part of this release:

  • Installing new themes.
  • Activating themes from the “All Sites” view.

WHAT TO TEST?

To test the Theme Showcase’s new Jetpack integration, you need a self-hosted WordPress site, on which you need to install the Jetpack plugin in its brand new 3.7 Beta version, which our colleagues from the Jetpack team released yesterday — just follow the installation instructions! Keep in mind this is a Beta, so:

Please only install the Beta Tester plugin on a test site. By their nature, Beta releases could be unstable and should not be used on a site where your data is important. If you decide to install this on a live site, please backup your WordPress database before installing the Beta plugin or upgrading to a new Beta release.

After connecting your Jetpack site to WordPress.com, you can jump right into testing! Here’s a list of suggested activities to try:

  1. Go to the Theme Showcase on Horizon. If you have multiple sites, use the site selector at the top of the sidebar to switch to the self-hosted site on which you just installed the Jetpack Beta.
  2. Try to preview a theme on that site.
  3. Try to activate a theme on that site.
  4. Try searching for a theme you know by name (if any).

As always, write any feedback you have as a comment to this post, even multiple comments if you find different things at different times. Specifically, we’re interested in the following:

  • Were you able to complete all the activities above (preview, activate, search)? Did you find any frustrating moment?
  • Your overall impression: does it feel fast? does it work well? can you find what you want, by name (especially relevant on a hosted site with lots of installed themes)?
  • Any bug you have found.

Of course, if you’re interested in testing other features that the new Jetpack Beta introduces, our colleagues will be happy to hear from you!

We are going to gather feedback about this specific sequence of tasks for the next 2 weeks, so until September 2nd.

Call for Testing: Action Bar

Hello! I’m Andy, and I’m working on some navigation changes for WordPress.com. One of our goals is to make the navigation across all of WordPress.com more consistent, including mobile apps as well as desktop. Part of this work involves moving and expanding some of the actions from the top toolbar to a new action bar in the bottom right of your screen.

WHAT IS IT?

The action bar is a small bar that sits at the bottom of the screen that allows visitors to follow a WordPress.com blog, quick access to edit if they are the post author or blog administrator, and a few more options were added as well.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at Fri Aug 7 6.06.09 PM                  Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at Fri Aug 7 6.39.00 PM

What has changed:

  • “Follow” moved from toolbar (top left) to action bar (bottom right).
  • An “Edit” option will appear for posts you have rights to edit.
  • You can customize from the front page.
  • You can customize + edit from a single post.
  • The “…” menu has links for theme info, shortlink, & report content.
  • The bar can be expanded (icons + labels) or collapsed (icons only).
  • These actions are available on mobile now too, which makes them more consistent across mobile and desktop.

WHAT TO TEST?

In order to test this feature, you need to volunteer first and then we w add you as a tester. Please comment on this post if you would like to volunteer.

Testing steps (once you have been given access):

  1. Go to any WordPress.com blog and look for the action bar at the bottom right.
  2. Try following and/or unfollowing several blogs using the action bar.
  3. Try all of the links in the bar and its “…” menu.

We’d like to know:

  • Do you think it will help more visitors follow your blog?
  • What do you love about it?
  • What could be better?
  • Did you feel any frustration after giving it time and using it to follow a few new blogs or edit a few posts you wrote?

First, ask for access and we’ll enable your account so you can preview the new feature. After that, please write any feedback you have as a comment to this post, even multiple comments if you find different things at different times.

We are going to gather feedback about the action bar for this week and then check to see if that gives us enough feedback to go forward, so until August 14th.

Wrap Up: Theme Showcase

Thanks everyone for the great feedback on our first test done in Horizon! It has been very useful because you found bugs we were missing and we were able to fine tune a lot of bigger and smaller parts of the new theme browsing experience.

One big element that was missing from the first days of testing was incremental search, which emerged immediately as the most mentioned issue, so we added it.

We also clarified the primary action happening when you click on the thumbnail. This is something that we’ll keep improving: in the future we want to review the details and demo pages, which will make this part of the showcase even better. Your feedback here gave us a good idea about where to go next.

Smaller bits of the experience were refined as well. The scroll now is smoother, we’re reviewing the image loading part to see if we can speed it up while still keeping them as high resolution as possible, and we fixed alignments and polished transitions.

Plus… you commented with lots of good suggestions that will inform our next steps.

The first milestone of the new showcase is live. 🙂

Thanks everyone!

 

Call for Testing: Theme Showcase

Hello! I’m Davide, the design lead for the Theme Showcase, and I’m happy to announce that after lots of research and work we are launching the foundation of what’s going to be the new theme showcase.

WHAT IS IT?

The Theme Showcase is where you find, pick, and activate or buy a theme. Currently, we are focusing on creating a new foundation, so it’s going to have less features (for now!) but hopefully what’s there is going to be faster, clearer, and simpler.

What works:

  • Search for a theme by name or description.
  • Filter the theme list by All / Free / Premium.
  • Use the Customizer to preview and activate themes.
  • Activate a theme directly from the main list.
  • Details and Support links in the “…” menu.

What will work soon:

  • There are some smaller pieces and bugs that we are still working on, but overall they are minor. It’s great if you find them so we know how much impact they have.

WHAT TO TEST?

We’d like to know:

  • Your overall impression: does it feel fast? can you find what you want, by name, by topic, by feature?
  • Any bug or frustration you feel while using it.
  • What filters (columns, colors, features, …) you are missing the most, i.e. your top 3.

Try the following activities:

  1. Go to My Sites on Horizon, and tap “Themes” in the left sidebar.
  2. Try searching for a theme you know by name (if any).
  3. Try searching for a topic (or anything really) that you might use to find a theme.
  4. Try to activate a theme on your site.
  5. If you have multiple sites, try activating themes on both “Single Site” and “All Sites” views by switching at the top of the sidebar.

Write any feedback you have as a comment to this post, even multiple comments if you find different things at different times.

We are going to gather feedback about this specific sequence of tasks for the next 2 weeks, so until August 4th.

Introducing Horizon: a new testing site for WordPress.com

Horizon is where the makers of WordPress.com test upcoming changes and new features with the WordPress.com community.

By using the Horizon testing site, you will be testing small and big changes still under development. It is a place a where we will come together to discuss updates and features through the Horizon Feedback blog.

Please keep in mind:

  • Calls for testing will happen on the Horizon Feedback blog.
  • Not every new feature will be tested.
  • Involvement will be on a volunteer basis.
  • Be careful: things might break!
  • Be patient and stay positive! We value constructive criticism when it’s made in a helpful way.

We are here to listen. The feedback we receive will be balanced with other data and insights such as stats, past experience, and WordPress.com goals.

If you use the testing site and volunteer to report your findings, it will help us, you, and millions of people worldwide.

We know we have a smart, creative, and insightful community at WordPress.com, so we’re excited to offer a more direct place for testing and look forward to you joining us to help make WordPress.com better!

Please follow the Horizon Feedback blog to stay updated.