I am a designer. For the past 17 years I’ve muddled through writing code myself, but I’m from the “copy/paste, change stuff until you break it, Ctrl-Z until it works again and repeat” school of coding for sure.
I’ve done pretty well and can get what I need done, but at a certain point my brain just goes “Uh-uh.Nope. I’m never ever gonna wrap myself around that.” In other words, I know my limits, and writing plugins is pretty much beyond them. I can change a code snippet here and there, but I’m not going to come up with an idea for a plugin and code it from scratch.
Which sucks for me. I spent Thanksgiving weekend holed up with my laptop refreshing the Creativity Included site for 2014. I’ve started writing more, so I’m really focusing on providing ways to improve the reading experience and feature other articles that might interest a reader. As I was working I thought about a few WordPress plugins that I would love to have that I couldn’t find and, unfortunately, don’t have the first idea about how to build.
Medium-style progress bar
I’ve talked about my love for Medium in the past. One of their cooler UX features is a skinny little progress bar across the very top of the page that only appears after you’ve scrolled past a certain breakpoint on the page and have engaged with the story.
As you continue to scroll down to read the bar gets closer to the end. It’s a nice bit of visual feedback to let you know how much more is left to read, especially on log-form articles. Subtle, useful and super-slick (which is just how I like my UX enhancements).
Shorthand made a really cool site for the Guardian, and it has an amazing feature I’d love to see as a WordPress plugin: a scroll-based slider. When you scroll to a certain point in the article, the image stays fixed at the top of the screen.
As you continue to scroll, the image changes based on the context of the story. When you reach another predetermined scroll point the slider fades out. (Don’t take my word for it—check it out for yourself!)
I would love write longer form, art directed articles about WordPress and would use the holy crap out of something like this—especially if it was a Soliloquy plug-in.) This is a case where a slider doesn’t suck because it’s used to illustrate a story :D
I have a pre-flight list I go over before I hit the button on any post. Right now, it’s in an Evernote file. It’s pretty extensive and includes things like running a proofreading tool, checking my spelling, adding alternate image thumbnails, and adding a few custom fields.
I would love (and pay for) a plugin that let me add a list of tasks to complete, check them off as they’re completed, and de-activate the Publish/Schedule button until the entire list was completed?
All three of these WordPress plugins are a pipe dream right now, so I’ll just keep looking at those cool little UX enhancement tricks and feeling jealous. I’m also going to start keeping a notebook to hold onto these ideas.
Because one day I’ll finish building a robot minion with mad coding skills, and I’m having it build every single one of them (right before we take over the world)! :D