WordPress is good design for all

The Automattic Design Award should acknowledge and grow strong open-source design principles. —Alexis Lloyd

Since coming on board to Automattic this summer, I have continued to uncover more and more layers of incredible work happening in the WordPress community — work that builds on this open-source platform to make it better, more flexible, and richer for everyone. One of my first conversations with John Maeda was about his concept for the Automattic Design Award. I was thrilled to hear that this effort was underway, and I want to share a bit about why I think this award is so important.

WordPress has often been seen as a developer’s community, but in fact, there is world-class design work happening here too. There are beautiful websites built with WordPress, there are plugins and other features that extend the functionality of WordPress in elegant and thoughtful ways. The more we can highlight that work and honor the people who are driving it forward, the more we can continue to grow our design community and insure that the future of WordPress means “good design for all”.

So what do we mean by good design? We’ve chosen some key criteria for judging these awards that we think reflect not only good design values overall, but the design values that are of critical importance to a rich open-source community.

  • We want to honor work that has deep user empathy at its core, understanding the needs of those who will be using the product.
  • We want to honor work where developers and designers aren’t siloed, but where the work of engineering and user experience are tightly coupled.
  • We want to honor work that has elegant user experience at its core, including simplicity and clarity, effortless wayfinding, and deep attention to detail.
  • We want to honor work that features high quality content — information expressed creatively and powerfully.

But even before we consider these qualities, there are two criteria that are so important to the future of WordPress design that we have made them fundamental requirements for the award.

Gutenberg ready: Gutenberg represents the way forward for WordPress, and its evolution into a modern product experience. We want to honor the creative and innovative work that leverages the possibilities of Gutenberg to expand the WordPress universe. We love entries that actively build on Gutenberg, like Gutenberg blocks or Gutenberg-ready themes. But you can also submit work that doesn’t explicitly use Gutenberg, as long as it plays well and is compatible!

Accessibility enabled: The key word in open source is “open”. An open product is an inclusive product, therefore accessibility is a “need to have”, not a “nice to have”. We want to honor those who are thoughtfully designing to support the experience of many different kinds of users. We especially want to honor work that shows that strong accessibility and strong design can go hand in hand.

This is the inaugural year for the Automattic Design Awards, and I am thrilled to be a part of launching this program. The potential impact of good design in the WordPress universe is enormous, and I hope to amplify that impact even further by recognizing and elevating WordPress as a platform for beautifully designed product experiences.

So please submit entries, and encourage the great WordPress designers and builders you know to do so as well! You can submit a complete site, a theme, a plugin or even a NPM package — anything that uses or extends the capabilities of WordPress in ways that embody the values described here.

November 16 Deadline

Entries for the Automattic Design Award are open starting October 29, 2018. All submissions will be due by November 16. Winners will be announced on December 3, 2018 just ahead of WordCamp US.

All entries are due by November 16, 2018 | 23:00 UTC.

Do speak up! TY —JM

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