Making WordPress.org

Opened 5 months ago

Last modified 5 months ago

#7452 new enhancement

Plugins: Find a better way to surface plugin features.

Reported by: dufresnesteven's profile dufresnesteven Owned by:
Milestone: Priority: normal
Component: Plugin Directory Keywords:
Cc:

Description

High-level Problem:
User feedback suggests that the plugin directory doesn't provide a robust enough experience for users searching for plugins.

So, we probably have to do two things to improve this:

  1. Provide better search results and filtering in the directory (enabling this feature for API consumers as well).
  2. Better highlight plugin features and reliability indicators.

Purpose:

Users have identified that they choose plugins based on the following criteria:

  • Does the plugin have the features they are looking for?
  • Is the plugin reliable?

While we definitely need to address all the things mentioned above, the purpose of this ticket is to explore ways to help users identify which features a plugin supports.

What currently exists?
Users currently have to read the plugin readme to identify the features. There aren't any guidelines on including features in the readme but seasoned plugin authors in general know how to craft user & search friendly readme's and they typically provide an easy to identify list of features.

The way the search algorithm works, it promotes the use of this feature list indirectly by matching it to user keyword searches but it's as simple as that. It doesn't know that it's a feature of the plugin. So if a user searches for the word "map", it would return plugins that use that word in a totally different context, like mapping authors to posts. I'll admit that example also unpacks a lot of different shortcomings, like bloated readmes, keyword stuffed plugin titles and lack of categorization but I think we can talk about this feature without talking about all those things.

Discussion?
What can we do to highlight features for plugins that we could use to provide better results and display them more prominently to users?

What about plugin previews?

Plugin previews are being worked on in https://meta.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/7251.
These previews will provide a way to "test" plugin features and see them in action, but that would be used to support ideas we come up with here. (At least in how we are currently thinking about previews).

Resources:

Change History (2)

#1 @dufresnesteven
5 months ago

In my mind, the simplest way, using the tools we have today, is to agree on a format for the readme, parse it and display it in the same place for all plugins. Users would predictably be able to find the feature list. We could provide those values as input to the algorithm. We could ask reviewers if features list are accurate when they write their reviews and incorporate that into the algorithm to prevent feature spamming.

#2 @dufresnesteven
5 months ago

  • Type changed from defect (bug) to enhancement
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