[wp-design] Priorities

Chris Messina chris.messina at gmail.com
Tue Feb 15 04:36:44 GMT 2005

Hey all, 

I wanted to throw my hat into the ring briefly. I asked Matt and
Michael if I could join in (or at least observe) the Project Shuttle
discussion as the User Experience Architect for CivicSpace -- open
source grassroots organizing software built on top of Drupal.

I'm interested in participating for a number of reasons, but most of
all because I think that WordPress and Drupal have a huge opportunity
to innovate and set the bar for web-based OS applications. Already
you've all discussed making WP look more like a web-based desktop app
than a website and I think that there are vert important ramifications
in operating with that paradigm (note that I'm not qualifying that

What I've observed so far has been a rather slight lack of focus that
I think might be keeping the project from steady advancement. It seems
that there are questions about priorities -- of what should be given
the most focus first, namely WP branding or the admin UI. Truly both
are intimately related and in many senses, one begets the other... but
in which order?

I would argue that WordPress already has a strong brand. In fact, its
basic strength lies, like in the software itself, in its subtleties.
The logo is not overtly loud or ostentatious, nor is the UI. Yet it
works. It's solid. It's practical and pragmatic. To relate a personal
story: just this past weekend I gave up on Drupal for my personal blog
and installed WordPress. Why? Because I _knew_ it would just work. In
the world of OS software development, that reputation is a huge asset.

So I would be very cautious about OVER-developing the WordPress brand,
though it stands to be improved. Additionally, I would caution against
OVER-designing the admin UI, though it too could be improved by
evolution means rather than by revolutionary changes (note that Drupal
is in need of a revolution!).

I think that this project is indeed very important and will keep
WordPress on the cutting edge of blog software. I also think that a
good deal of discipline is needed to preserve the original values that
stand out so subtly in the current identity and UI.

Thus I think a discussion should be had about priorities and of what
comes first... the brand...? The logo...? The qualities of the
brand...? The interface...? I honestly don't have an answer, but I do
think that this question should be decided before much more thought is
expended. Not that you can't develop each concurrently, but I think,
at the very least, a decision one way or the other should be made.

I look forward to working on/observing this project -- and would be
very happy to hear your thoughts on this.


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