Inclusive Design, Day 12/15: Improved Publishing Confidence on WordPress.com

This is day 12 of 15 in a short series on inclusive design. If you missed any of the earlier posts, see day 1 here or view the full list.


The pre-publish confirmation step in the WordPress.com editor.
Screenshot of the pre-publish confirmation step in the WordPress.com editor.

I’d like to share another example of solving for one case, extending to many. This one comes from my team at Automattic. We’re called “Delta” — and we focus on making the editing–publishing flow for WordPress.com as smooth and pain-free as possible.

The WordPress.com blog in English.
Screenshot of the WordPress.com blog in English. This blog is read by 40-plus million people.

From our own experience, we know that publishing content to the entire world can be nerve-wracking! This “publishing confidence” experience started out with a specific case in mind: the WordPress.com announcements blog. With 43 million email subscribers as of the latest count, the authors at Automattic writing for this English-language blog never want to accidentally hit that “Publish” button before a new announcement is polished and ready to go.

That’d be a total disaster, right?

Many years ago, we solved this by placing a tiny plugin created for our VIP customers on the WordPress.com blog. It’s super simple, a JavaScript alert() dialog intended to add a quick warning before publishing. Developed for use on high-end client sites running on WordPress.com, it looks like this:

View of the VIP plugin for publish confirmation.
Screenshot of the WordPress.com VIP plugin for “are you sure?” publishing confirmation.

Fast-forward to 2017 — the Delta team starts revamping these same publishing flows as we upgrade many of the key features in the new WordPress.com interface. As we researched the pain points in the experience, we realized that this same feeling of anxiety could be shared by many other people. In fact, our customers often wrote in to request this exact thing for their own blogs.

There needs to be an “Are You Sure” button on the publish section, I’ve accidentally published a blog post too early so many times. — A WordPress mobile app user, writing it to support in 2017.

What if we could make a product change to reduce that same anxiety for everyone? Well, yes — it makes sense. The team also upgraded the blog post preview pane to add in a switcher for screen sizes — mobile, tablet, and desktop — to further improve the confidence in the end result.

Solving this in the WordPress.com editor experience means making it much harder to accidentally publish on any blog. The change enables all of our customers to breathe easier. Like us with the WordPress.com announcements blog — they can now feel more confident that the changes they’re sharing are ready for the world.

The WordPress.com editor screen
Screenshot of the WordPress.com editor screen, showing the confirmation step in the sidebar. Note the opt-out checkbox to remove this extra step if it’s not helpful.
The WordPress.com preview pane.
Screenshot of the WordPress.com preview pane, showing screen size options. This way you can review your post before it goes live: in mobile, tablet, and desktop sizes.

See also Publishing on WordPress.com for a project-level report on improving this publishing experience written by colleague Shaun Andrews.

For day 13 of 15 of inclusive design, we’ll look at speed and connectivity as an exclusion example. How the trend of “Lite” apps built for certain markets to drive adoption brings needed improvements to everyone.


About this Inclusive Design series In 3 days I’ll give a talk on inclusive design at WordCamp Phoenix 2018. Leading up to the conference I’m publishing notes on voices, stories, products, and other resources: everything I’m learning about this emerging practice. This is day 12 of 15. Read more about the series.

One thought on “Inclusive Design, Day 12/15: Improved Publishing Confidence on WordPress.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s