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.