A Perspective on the Navigation Prototype for WooCommerce
Earlier this month, WooCommerce put out a call for folks to try a prototype for a new navigation concept.
As they stated in their post:
Last year we reached out to a handful of WooExperts and extension authors for initial feedback around some initial design sketches that explored this idea. The response was largely positive, so we’ve refined those concepts, and would now like to gather broader feedback via public usability testing.
The testing has since closed as they received a lot of feedback.
Chatter Around the Experience
I did not run across a lot of chatter from those who had run through it, but I did find a few rumblings here and there. But they mostly came from within the community and I am imagining they were the vocal ones. Most were concerned about how this affected them and their own work with WooCommerce.
But again, very few.
Who Is This For?
As with most things we see coming down the pike with Woo, and even WordPress, it generally focuses on the users, more specifically, enticing new users with a better experience. This makes sense to me. Allow me to explain from the perspective of someone who is both a user and very familiar with WooCommerce.
Old Dogs, New Tricks
Whenever something happens in the user experience, especially in functionality and design, we feel disruptions because it’s new. It’s different. Sometimes, it even seems cumbersome. Look at Gutenberg. But yet, being in the tech space, we know that things are inevitably going to change.
We think it might inconvenience us as veteran users, or it may cause challenges as a product or service provider to Woo. And yes, it may cause some bumps along the way.
But that end user is still the focus. And in this open source world we live in, we need to make it more attractive to outsiders to comfortably step into our space.
How Did I Survive the Prototype?
Let me preface this with how it worked. Basically you were given a task and you would need to accomplish it. Sounds simple, right? These were tasks you are used to, and, well, now you have to learn the new way.
Myself, I cruised along pretty well. The only time I hit a bump was for several tasks I found the solution for in the sidebar menu. For one of them, suddenly it moved to another part of the dashboard, what you might call the body of the page.
Was this bad UX? No. I simply had to readjust my thinking to flex that brain muscle a bit and not stay so focused on one area.
The jist of it is that I had a certain way of doing things wired into my brain. I just needed to figure out what had changed, implement it, and move on.
I truly hope WooCommerce and WordPress keeps innovating. When it comes down to it, at their heart, they are simply tools.
And yes, they will change.
We need to pave the way for the new users and as old dogs to the system, be flexible, open up our minds and embrace the changes involved in learning something new.