Update on #IndieWeb WordPress UX Research

indie wedding cake
For the past two months I have started the data collection to help understand the IndieWeb user base and how we can help onboarding people through WordPress.

I began by reviewing previous work around personas completed at IndiewWeb Camp Nuremberg. While I pushed back that single reclusive self-employed white guy Tom is the developer and Ellie the nurse is the bubbly social media maven (beginning to question the bias in persona back story work in general) these personas provided a strong analytical jumping off point.

I then began to develop an inventory to try and measure a users level of experience with WordPress and IndieWeb.

Next I started to interview users. My original intention was to complete cognitive labs as people tried to indiewebify their blogs (please note just having a place where you control and own your data is all you need for #IndieWeb this was about the additional layer of tools that allows you to connect to the community). Yet after looking at the documentation I decided to change directions.

I felt it would be unethical, and unnatural to record cognitive labs. First I knew I was setting people up for failure. The documentation in the WordPress plug-ins and the IndieWeb wiki did not match. The wiki pages were woefully dated and too complex. Second learning to IndieWeb a WordPress blog takes days not hours. You will need to tweak things and break things and beg for help in the IndieWeb chat room. A successful use case can take weeks or days, not hours. A single recording will not capture this journey.

So I changed direction. Instead I am completing interviews with existing users that loosely line up to the levels included in the persona work. I have done three so far. You can find two here. The third is a student of mine. While all data is released in public domain I am seeking an exemption from IRB since a student is considered vulnerable population.

I am then using the data from these interviews to rewrite the WordPress onboarding documentation here. My goal is to have a completed draft by the IndieWeb summit that we can then revise and release. I am hoping to also work on the “more details” page of each IndieWeb WordPress plug-in at the summit as those will often be the first point of contact and not the wiki,

Once that is done I will start the cognitive lab process to test the efficacy of the new documentation. If you would like to get involved either as a researcher, participant, or researcher-participant there is always room for collaboration.

Featured Image credit: Indie Cake flickr photo by Kimli shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

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  • Aaron Davis

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