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The Degradation Goes On

It seems that wordpress.com is not finished yet with all the downgrades. First we got this horrible new editor that we fortunately still can bypass due to the fact that the community demanded that the old editor is still available. Next they experimented with the top bar of the dashboard and the results were horrible too. If that is not enough, they do now come up with more changes to the user interface and the statistics page too. If you want to read my article, be prepared, it’s a rant about the ignorance of those who came up with the idea to make all the changes.

If you fully want to understand why they do this, I suggest you to read the latest article about the design changes. But I will now quote some of the nonsense of their latest article and tell you my opinion about each quote.

We’ve been updating WordPress.com to make it faster and more powerful behind the scenes.

Hilarious start to introduce the unwelcome changes. I wonder how they come up with this argument, because as a user I just feel that everything works now more clunky in the dashboard. The performance is now everything else but not faster and especially not more powerful but totally downgraded.

We’ve now introduced some changes to the WordPress.com interface as well, making website, blog, and content creation more intuitive and consistent across devices.

This is an embarrassing statement and I say this because you just needed to open the official forums to see that the users have another impression. The latest design changes resulted in the exact opposite of an intuitive environment for content creation. However, they don’t lie if they say it is now more consistent across all devices because that’s exactly what they achieved. They streamlined it down to make it look like a mobile app.

We know that WordPress.com users are extremely keen on understanding how others view and interact with their content, so we wanted to make Stats faster, more accessible, and richer overall.

This is strange because what I need is a complex statistics page that tells me everything about the way people interact with my site. Making this site more accessible means that it is downgraded for people who are overwhelmed with a complex page. We can talk about luck that the old statistics page is still there and that we are not forced to use the new downgraded page.

Millions of people use WordPress.com on mobile devices, and to ensure that our mobile users have a first-class experience, we gave the WordPress.com navigation interface a little love. It’s responsive across devices, and its simpler, more streamlined design lets users find or create amazing content from anywhere.

I must admit that this is a very fair statement. It’s the first time I see them admit where we heading to. It’s the direction that most people already expected. They want to give mobile users a first-class experience and that’s exactly how the changes appear. Everything looks bigger and more clunky and that might be a good design on a mobile device but what they forget is that this kind of design doesn’t work on a desktop device.

Forcing a mobile design on desktop users is an insult. They do even clearly admit it when they talk about creating a first-class experience for mobile users because that’s the only group they mention when they talk about the changes. So, here is the opinion of a desktop user that works with software since decades.. the new design is of course streamlined but that is bad as making things simpler. It does in fact even hurt when I see such a design on my widescreen.

We announced initial updates to My Sites recently, and have since acted on wonderful user feedback to make My Sites more streamlined. Your sites will now appear in an easy-to-search sidebar, and you’ll have access to stats, posts, and themes for any and all of your sites with fewer clicks.

I usually don’t comment on such bullshit but to make my rant complete, I will. I don’t know what is wrong with them. Do they have some kind of different click-behaviour or do they have a different perception than I do? I do not only talk about the “my site” section now but in general I feel my self forced to click more to open certain pages. There is either something wrong with my perception or this paragraph is an attempt to make the changes more tempting.

We’re continuing to make WordPress.com faster, more powerful, and more user-friendly across devices for all our users — those with a single blog and those with multiple WordPress sites. To that end, we are listening to user feedback and rolling out updates when they’re ready.

Isn’t it funny how they contradict themself? First they mention to make things more streamlined and simpler and at the end they talk about making things more powerful? Maybe I don’t get the definition of the word powerful. But there is something that makes me even more mad, it’s when they say they do listen to user feedback. I can’t tell you what kind of impertinence this is because the fact is that they don’t listen to user feedback and to find this out you just need to browse their support forum.

They are not even ashamed to openly come up with such a lie. I have been active in the forum since some time and not only this, I read there quite often. At the time I write this post here you just need to open the forum to find a lot of people complain about the changes and that’s how it is going on since they started to force “that mobile experience” on us. If they get too much of an impression what people think, they simply close threads because they have the power to do so. That is the reality.

Give the new navigation and enhanced stats a whirl, and let us know what you think!

Done! Done with my article here. I did that several times on my blog and I won’t stop unless I don’t host my site here anymore. But here is my opinion in a nutshell… All the latest design changes, and I really mean all the latest changes, are horrible. A mobile design has its place on a mobile device but forcing such design on all users, even those who use a desktop system, that is a plain stupid idea.

While this design works very well on mobile devices, it looks miserable on non-mobile systems. The usability is bad, things are often broken after updates, the design is ugly and the streamlining or simplification is an insult against a group of people who are called blogger and who are quite tech-savvy anyway.

There is no need for simplification and if there is, than only because they do want to streamline it until the last person on earth starts to create a blog, it’s called profit maximizing and happens everywhere recently. They want to have as much users as possible, users that might use their upgrades in the store.

They want to compete with Tumblr- and Instragram-like platforms where people upload their images and thoughts with one click, that is my opinion. But what they don’t realize is that this is a completely different audience. But that’s where we heading to. I expect more downgrades in the future because what happened does not look very good.

I am very disappointed but at the same time I am still happy that I can bypass most of the new features to enjoy the old design. Sadly it’s not possible with everything and then there is also the question for how long they let us use the old features until they finally decide to force the new changes on us completely. I think it will happen and if it does, I will start to host my own WordPress installation anywhere else. It hopefully doesn’t happen but I start to prepare myself for the worst case.

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17 Comments »

  1. Honestly I don’t like what Is going on at all about all this upgrade. They messed up my iOS app after the recent email upgrade I received and now the app is no longer functioning well. The notification update will show quite alright but when you click on them you won’t see any comment at all.

    Also the “like” feature has been removed.

    Each time they upgrade, something’s goes wrong.

    Although I have sent an email to them and they said they are currently working on the system.

    My point is why should they tampered with something that is already working fine without any complain.

    • This is what frustrates me too. It’s not only that I dislike the new design, you are right, it’s that every change comes with several new problems. Some days ago the whole stats page didn’t work anymore and a lot of people got an heart attack when they found out that their sites have zero traffic, but it was clear that it’s just a bug and I assumed they work on something in the background. And see there… they introduce this new stats page.

      You come up with some great examples too. It’s true… whatever they do, they add problems and for me as a blogger it’s just frustrating when I log in to my blog and when severa things don’t work right. They basically prevent us to create new content.

      I also agree with your last sentence… there is this motto that is called “Never touch a running system”… looks like WordPress does think different.

  2. Very well put Dennis. I’m annoyed too. I could not even find the stats when I first logged in and had to work out where they had hidden them. How is that faster? We have the same phrase “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” WordPress have more or less admitted that mobile users are the only ones they care about and while mobiles are popular even the people who post from them probably use a desktop or notebook as well. Why should all the rest of us be inconvenienced for the sake of one group of users. I’m very cross.

      • Haha, I thought I would be the only one who had this happen. It happened two times today that a page loaded as if by magic, but I didn’t want to load the dashboard page. Good to know that you had something like this happened with the comment too. That’s the problem.. with that amount of updates they also create new bugs and problems. :/

    • That is the frustration I share with you. You log in to write something and then you must feature out where they did hide the buttons or anything else this time. They do too much at the moment.

      And right, this is not faster, as a user I get the feeling as if I have handcuffs attached because I can’t start to write articles or manage the blog as usual. If they mean faster regarding the performance, this is not true too because I get the impression that the dashboard loads slower.

      Yea they go the mobile route. It’s probably also less work for them to create a responsive design across all platforms. They now don’t have to work or script on two different “templates” or systems. It’s just bad if you put two different groups of users into one pot, and that’s what they do right now.

  3. Sis told me when a brand changes their designs so often, it means they’re in difficult times. I hope wordpress just like youtube in last days 2012, change until they can’t change anymore.

    • Yes this might be true. I saw something like this in famous computer games.. at some point developers were not happy with the amount of users and started to mess around with the code. Good that we can export content here. I do my exports to be able to import it anywhere else, in case I have enough of the changes some day or in case they go the route down.

  4. Guten Tag!

    Yeah, there’s not much I disagree with here. Especially the stats, where layers of information have been removed (long term trend viewing, search terms), and where this could have provided extra content users have been requesting (syndicated views, engagement stats).

    But I’m just a big data geek…

    • Hallo Mr Ben!

      Yes, I think we are in the same boat. I love data a lot too. It’s fun to dig through it. It has been suggested many times in the forums that they should make it possible that we can use Google analytics. That is something they should work on but it won’t happen. Instead, they play with the design and remove certain informations. Crazy.

  5. Isn’t it great they give us a way to use the “classic” way when there are changes like this?
    I use both mobile and desktop and although it would be nice to have the same experience on each platform, I would much rather have it be the best for whatever platform I’m using.

    • It’s just great as long as we are still able to bypass the new changes. Yes, it’s great that we can still access some of the classic pages but I believe it’s just a matter of time until someone there decides to force the newer design on us. That is the problem I have.

      Another problem is that the posibility to activate the classic design is stored via cookie and not as a server-side setting. Storing this information with cookies in the year 2014 where probably 50% of the user have tools installed to regularly delete cookies and cache. That was one of the main concerns a lot of people brought up when they for example introduced the new beep beep boop editor. This is forcing us everyday again to click on “let me write with the classic editor”. I think it’s a bad idea that they decided to store the information via cookie.

      At the end I am still not happy. I blogged over 6 years with WordPress and probably longer when I count in my other blog projects that I experimented with earlier. It has been great over all the years but the end of 2014 was for me the worst year here. If they go on with this direction, I will prepare to export my blog to another host. I came here because the usability was great but I am not that happy anymore because this is changing in my opinion.

      I have no problem with mobile design however, it’s ok on a moble device and I use mobile devices too but I dislike the trend that more and more services force this trend on desktop systems too. :/

  6. I agree that the older interface was and is okay – I also do not like all the puffed-up changes and the hyperbolic presentations of those changes. However, we must remember that programmers want to keep their jobs, so they can never finish making changes, and marketers have to write copy so they also may forever warm their chairs, all in order to have a check every payday …

    • The problem is that there is enough to do. Google just announced that HTTPS site get a ranking boost, people suggested it in the forum that it would be wise if we all could buy SSL certificates for our domains here, yet they still didn’t give us this option.

      Another huge topic that is suggested since years and is not implemented… Giving us the option to use Google analytics. Never done.

      I could go on with suggestions that would really improve our all blogs. As a user who is in the WordAds ad program, we have tons of themes but maybe just 5% support WordAds, which means as a WordAds user I can just choose from a very little pool of themes.

      Same for theme features. Some themes have a Flexible Header and others not, the great Editor Style feature has never been ported to all themes, not all themes are Translation Ready and and and.

      There is a lot of important work but instead they focus on less important things. That is my biggest concern with them and at some point they will scare me away to another host.

      The forum is full of complains right now, the same as when they introduced the new editor. And they keep moving forward and defend their design. I think that is ignorance of WordPress.

  7. Well put. And I surely miss that encouragingly good-looking orangy notification as well (be it a plus, a star, or a callout). All these years, when dealing with defects, staff’s answers tend to be either defensive or evasive (I would call the one answering the thread right now ‘polite’, in comparison). And what makes things worse, they seem keen to pet around some self-appointed authority character in particular, who keep flooding the forum and harassing people.

    • Yes, it’s the naivity how they treat the users. The problem is that most of us came here because we loved the whole backend of the wordpress software, and now they change it heavily and even if people complain, they to tell us we are wrong. It’s strange but this might really bounce back on them if users will leave wordpress.com.

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