BuddyPress welcome screen design ideas

For the BuddyPress 2.2 dev cycle, I decided to spend my time exploring ideas about the experience of a new user after they activate the plugin on their site for the first time. Currently, we redirect the user to a screen listing the new major features of their version of BuddyPress; it’s a mixture of a changelog, and since 2.1, also contains elements of a “getting started” guide.

I think improving the new (site owner) experience is going to be critical for BuddyPress’ growth in 2015. Today I am sharing some screenshots of what I’ve come up with so far, but it looks like my ideas won’t be ready for wider consideration into a release until probably the 2.3 dev cycle — unless you can help. Check out my welcome screen branch on Github.

I researched a few tens of the most popular WordPress plugins (according to the list on WordPress.org), and I was surprised to see so few plugins trying to do something similar; banners across the top of wp-admin were fairly common. WooCommerce stood out because it has a similar post-install screen as to what BuddyPress currently has (we’ve both copied WordPress’ “About WordPress screen!). Automattic’s Jetpack stood out the most with its distinctive design (after you followed a banner to get to it), I suspect only because of that plugin’s requirement to connect to WordPress.com.

This is ripe ground for BuddyPress to develop an innovation lead on in 2015. I can’t propose these changes without the help of a really great designer, or two. I have put in a lot of time and effort to try to come up with a punch design solution for this problem, but it’s missing a certain je ne sais quoi I’ve not figured out yet.

How Achievements 3.0 Was Designed

Earlier today, I released version 3.5 of my Achievements for WordPress plugin. If you’ve not heard of the plugin before, it’s a great way to gamify your WordPress site with challenges, badges, and points. I’d like to share some notes on how Achievements for WordPress was designed.

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#achievements

Achievements 3 for WordPress now available

After an extremely long time in development, I’m very pleased to be finally able to announce Achievements 3 for WordPress. Go grab it from WordPress.org!

Learn more about the plugin on achievementsapp.com.

#achievements, #scotch

I’m joining Automattic

I’ve been very fortunate to have worked at The Telegraph since April 2011; it was my first “real” development job, and as I said in an email to my (ex-)colleagues earlier today, I’ve enjoyed my time there and I’m very proud of what we were able to accomplish together. However, I’m after a new challenge, and so I’m moving on.

I’m extremely pleased to announce that I’ve joined Automattic as a Code Wrangler, joining their VIP team. I’m very excited to be working for such a great company, which is full of awesome and inspiring people, and I can’t wait to get started! :D

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy christmas and a great new year; 2013 is going to be awesome!

Getting phpDoc into WordPress

phpDoc to WordPress exports documentation generated by phpDocumentor into WordPress. Start using it today.

The best way to produce useful documentation for PHP code is to annotate it with phpDoc tags and keywords. Based on javadoc, phpDoc goes beyond a straightforward description of what something does, and allows the developer to add extra information which will help others who read the code to quickly understand its most important aspects. For example, a function can marked up to say when it was added to a project, its arguments types, and its return values.

From this phpDoc markup, the phpDocumentor app is the best way to generate standalone documentation that you can distribute with your project or make available as a reference on your website. But what happens when you want this documentation inside your WordPress?

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#phpdoc, #xslt