A Change is in the Air

Hi! I’m new here. I work for Clear Interactive. I live in Melbourne, Australia. I love great user experiences. I’m here to listen. I’ve brought some friends with me as well.

We’ve been talking with Automattic for some time now about the WordPress for iPhone application. About the project, the community and the passion behind it. We want the WordPress for iPhone application to be the best mobile blogging tool on the iPhone.

I’d like to invite you into the thought process currently going on inside our collective heads.

Thinking Out Loud

First impressions count, it’s what I’d like to focus on right now. When you open WordPress for the first time you’re greeted with this screen:

home screen

You have two options:

  1. “Set up your blog”
  2. “About WordPress for iPhone”

The second option is interesting, but I’m not sure why it gets equal billing on the home screen when all anyone wants to do the first time they open the application is to set up their blog.

The “Add Blog” screen should be shown by default if you haven’t already added one:

add a blog

Speaking of which, the cursor should already be placed in the “Blog URL” field and the keyboard should be displayed. There shouldn’t be an option to cancel as the application is unusable without at least one blog present.

The “Save” button should be disabled until the “Blog URL”, “User Name” and “Password” fields have been filled in. They keyboards return key should say “Next” instead of “Done”, it should jump into the next field I need to fill in.

It should change to “Done” only when I’ve entered all the required fields. At the same time the “Save” button should become enabled. In fact the “Save” button should probably read “Done” as well. Something like this:

saving

When I’m done, I want useful feedback. Currently there is a spinning icon in the top right hand corner where the “Save” button used to be. But the keyboard is still present unless I hid it while entering my details. For all intents and purposes this screen still looks like it’s in an editable state. Except the application doesn’t respond at all!  As a user, I require a clear indication of what is happening, otherwise confusion ensues, so we’ll fix that too.

After I click “Done” I’m back on the home screen. Why is that? Rather than adding another blog, it seems much more likely to us that you’ll want to start using the app to manage the blog you just added, so we’ll show the “Posts/Pages/Comments” screen instead.  You can add the rest of your blogs later.

Moving Forward

As you can see we’ve been doing a lot of thinking, scrutinising and playing with ideas. We’ve already started adding these changes to the Subversion repository in the user-interface-rewrite branch.

They say you need to walk before you can run, let alone fly. Right now we’re still crawling, but here’s a sneak peak into the changes that we’ve got planned for the future:

User Interface Overhaul

  1. Home Screen
  2. Adding a Blog
  3. Editing a Blog
  4. Removing a Blog
  5. Change blog screen to use tab-bar navigation
  6. Changing the way local drafts work and are represented

Comment Moderation

  1. Activity Dashboard – Stream of consciousness for activity on a given blog
  2. Ability to quickly approve/delete/mark as spam

Statefulness

  1. Remember which blog I was working in. Go back to that blog when I restart the application

We’re Listening

While we’ve singled out these changes for the future, there’s every likelihood that you have other ideas. So while we’re thinking out loud, we would love for you to do the same. Add a comment, or post to the forums. We’re listening!