Journey Maps: The Case for Governance

Any organization can function without governance, but that is not enough. You need to function and be a healthy environment for your organization, and its current and future members. In order to be healthy, you need clear structure, processes, and decisions. That is what governance means.

Rachel Cherry 2019

The task of coming up with a vision of WordPress governance can be overwhelming. It’s a lot of responsibility to imagine what an ideal experience can be, then render the governance documentation to achieve and support that experience.

We have broken this task into smaller components and by doing so a vision emerges from a series of smaller tactics. (interviews, usability observation, personas, scenarios, & journey maps).

Here’s how teams have worked through the UX tactics:

  • Identify Stakeholders and groups of Stakeholders
  • Observe & interview people as they use current conditions in the WordPress ecosystem to work through tasks
  • Note the order of steps use cases takes and measure each step frustrating or delightful
  • Create a journey map that shows the experience of each with a horizontal timeline and marker that represent each step
  • Measure frustration and delight on the map using a vertical timeline
  • Resulting maps shows the current experience for that scenario
  • Create different maps for each Stakeholder and look for patterns that emerge

This work, lead by UX Architect Cathi Bosco is a team effort by many contributing members of the WordPress community. The following documentation and research is for identifying specific evidence (pain points) and experiences useful for facilitating important conversations. This is a useful practice for the purpose of identifying problems in need of solutions.

Journey maps

A journey map is a diagram that visualizes the journey of stakeholders as they interact or accomplish tasks within the WordPress project.

How to read this document and journey maps:

  • Click through each map graphic to view and interact with the actual journey map at scale
  • Each journey map highlights frustrating experiences and delightful experiences along the course of a set of tasks per stakeholder
  • The pain points or frustrating experiences are highlighted in the red panels of the journey maps
  • Both the delightful and frustrating experiences are noted in the bullet points below each chart

Language, Geographical, and Culturally Diverse

Illustration of two individuals with different geographical locations and communicating using different languages thanks to WordPress website designs

Suresh owns a company that provides professional language learning services internationally. They use WordPress multisite installation for their platform. The company, their clients, and their students all depend on WordPress to work no matter what language or region they represent.

Diagram of Language, Geographical, and Culturally Diverse WordPress Journey Map
  • πŸ‘ Using WordPress multisite allows the administration staff to customize their own platform for their specific student base
  • πŸ‘ Plugin author can make requests within the WordPress channels for volunteer translators to help
  • ⚠️ More translation support for plugins is needed
  • ⚠️ Need to improve of the processes for adding translations for plugins in core

Individuals & Educators

Illustration of a college instructor giving a lecture in front of a screen on a stage from behind

Robin is the IT lead engineer at a state university in the USA and is tasked with setting up hosting and a website for the school. Their team needs specific functionality, to protect the privacy of the site guests, and must meet accessibility requirements for their work.

Diagram of Individuals & Educators WordPress Journey Map
Diagram of Migration of Individuals & Educators WordPress Journey Map
  • πŸ‘ WordPress web development can meet WCAG standards with some work
  • πŸ‘ Fallback on the Classic editor proves very useful
  • πŸ‘ Great resources are available through the plugin repository
  • πŸ‘ WordPress web development can be done in compliance with Privacy Laws
  • ⚠️ Mapping illustrates the need for WCAG accessibility compliance
  • ⚠️ Evidence that some plugins conflict with legislation about privacy tracking
  • ⚠️ Illustrates that documentation is not easily available for the Gutenberg editor
  • ⚠️ Need for standardized formatting for more successful migration of sites
  • ⚠️ Themes and plugins can cause formatting & usability issues

Site Owners for Hobby & Pastime Websites

Illustration of an aerial view of a web editor working on publishing content to their website and previewing it on their mobile phone

Sam is a member of a trail running community. They have a domain and are ready to set up hosting. They choose WordPress for their blog because their group is not technical and they love the ability to write essays with the visual editor. When asked why not just run a Facebook group for the trail running group, Sam replies, β€œbecause not everyone uses Facebook.”

Diagram of Site Owners for Hobby & Pastime Websites WordPress Journey Map
  • πŸ‘ Easy to disseminate information from a WordPress blog
  • πŸ‘ Control and ownership of content
  • πŸ‘ Low cost to get started
  • πŸ‘ A lot of beautiful themes and useful plugins to choose from
  • ⚠️ Confusion between .com and .org
  • ⚠️ Maintenance of a website and managing plugin conflicts is challenging
  • ⚠️ Struggles to find clear, non-technical documentation that is easily available in WordPress (maybe on dashboard)

Small Business

Illustration of an enthusiastic woman adding stars to her small business WordPress website while feeling inspired

Melissa is a naturopathic doctor who started using WordPress to help launch her new practice in her local community. After learning more about themes and customizing how her website looks, she began publishing information about natural remedies that have led to her to add phone consultations to her services.

Diagram of Small Business WordPress Journey Map
  • πŸ‘ WordPress website can grow and add dynamic functionality to grow business and increase revenue channels for a business over time
  • πŸ‘ Adding ecommerce to a site can support business growth
  • πŸ‘ Consumer audiences can transcend local regions for larger reach
  • ⚠️ Lacks the time and resources to build and manage the website without help
  • ⚠️ Users struggle to find best practices in WordPress, as well as finding help (paid and free) when issues arise
  • ⚠️ Support for both initial site setup/creation as well as support for the growth & maintenance of an evolving site as functionality is added and maintenance is required

Consumers or Audiences

Illustration of the globe identifying audiences all over the world use WordPress

Finley is searching for recipes on line. Ease of finding the information, products, or services they are looking for is important to Finley regardless of the device they are using or if they are traveling or connected to service in their house. Finley finds a beautiful website powered by WordPress.

Diagram of Consumers or Audiences WordPress Stakeholder Journey Map
  • πŸ‘ The top search results are from recipe sites built with WordPress
  • πŸ‘ Taxonomies provide an efficient and immersive browsing experience
  • πŸ‘ Easy to share sites and site content with friends to engage with
  • ⚠️ Poor performance, privacy, and consent concerns on some sites
  • ⚠️ Lack of accessibility standards lead to negative impacts on the diverse use cases who browse and engage with WordPress websites (perhaps unknowingly) everyday
  • ⚠️ Highlights the importance of considering the end-user and web standards implications the ecosystem creates

Accessibility Required

Illustration of an aerial view of a visually impaired person at a desk using the tab button to tab through a WordPress website while having tea

In progress


Illustration of an aerial view of a WordPress content publisher at a standing desk

In progress


Illustration of a group of business buildings

BWH is a large, enterprise scale company and the CEO is very accomplished technically. They dedicate a lot of their professional time to the WordPress project. A large percentage of their business depends on WordPress to be successful. The CEO was asked to take on a leadership role in the Project.

Diagram of Enterprise WordPress Stakeholder Journey Map
  • πŸ‘ Large companies invest a lot of resources and make many very important contributions to the WordPress project
  • πŸ‘ Sponsoring contributors is another support system that they bring
  • πŸ‘ Sponsoring WordCamps and infrastructure are celebrated
  • πŸ‘ Influencers of continued increased adoption of WordPress across the world
  • πŸ‘ Support features aimed at improving the reliability, security and stability of WordPress
  • ⚠️ Leadership and team roles need to be clearly defined
  • ⚠️ The WordPress Project is served best by being supported by a more diverse and a broad variety of individuals from a variety of large companies
  • ⚠️ Communication channels around strategy, vision, and roadmaps need to be opened up
  • ⚠️ As WordPress grows so does their role in the governance of the open web and a more collaborative and functional community is deemed necessary and the responsible choice

Freelance Developers and Designers

Illustration of an aerial view of a freelance web designer/developer working at a desk

Yih-Woei, an independent developer and small business owner attends a local MeetUp. The organizer of the MeetUp learns that Yih-Woei has specialization with accessibility and invites Yih-Woei to begins speaking publicly and sharing knowledge.

Diagram of Freelance Developers & Designers WordPress Journey Map
  • πŸ‘ WordPress is a strong and extremely welcoming community
  • πŸ‘ Developers find WordPress has great extensibility – easy to add and create plugins and themes
  • πŸ‘ Open Source is rewarding as we can contribute and make it do whatever we want
  • πŸ‘ It is possible to be sponsored to give presentations at WordCamps
  • ⚠️ Confusion about paid/sponsored speakers vs unpaid/unsponsored speakers at a WordCamp – how the payment/remuneration affects the direction of their talk
  • ⚠️ How a sponsorship can change the message in a presentation or project for WordPress

Makers and Entrepreneurs

Illustration of WordPress Developer working at a standing desk writing code

Patricia, a developer opens a WordPress plugin shop. They have 3 plugins in the repo that have over 600,000 installs specializing in SEO and Social Media integrations. As a company they do a lot of work contributing to WordPress core and are known for creating custom applications as well.

Diagram of Makers & Entrepreneurs WordPress Journey Map
  • πŸ‘ A growing company that grows with WordPress produces job opportunities and financial security for successful teams
  • πŸ‘ As companies and teams gain traction they often generously contribute back to the WordPress project
  • πŸ‘ Volunteers within the project are incredibly skilled and dedicated to their work and responsibilities giving extreme care to be thoughtful and sincere in their communications
  • ⚠️ The workload on volunteers and team leads (a team of 2) all plugin reviews fall on the shoulders of a small team
  • ⚠️ There is no known code of conduct for the WordPress Project (unlike the WordCamps) and the plugin review team often experience a lot of pressure and abuse
  • ⚠️ A lack of ongoing UX usability testing
  • ⚠️ A lack of productive channels for expression of frustration, concerns, and dissenting opinions

Past, Present, and Future Innovators

Illustration of a woman creating something new and innovative with WordPress at a drawing board

Jay is a WordPress software engineer working for a larger publishing company. Jay is hired because of their WordPress expertise and after their new platform is completed is is well received among early adopters! They sell subscriptions and business grows.

Diagram of Past, Present, & Future Innovators WordPress Journey Map
  • πŸ‘ WordPress software engineers, developers, and designers are in demand as the popularity of the platform grows and delivers reliable experiences
  • πŸ‘ Multiple authors are able to contribute within the platform
  • πŸ‘ As the community evolves and grows troubleshooting issues becomes less daunting for teams
  • ⚠️ Improve communication and decision making to minimize the disruption experienced when a big change to WordPress occurs
  • ⚠️ Before a big release is shipped, plugin and theme developers need an adequate amount of time to develop and test their products to ensure readiness
  • ⚠️ Need for open communications and timeline decision making for the future

The WordPress Project: Some Paid and Some Volunteer

Illustration from the WordPress project showcasing diverse people using WordPress around the globe

From the collection of volunteers, builders, administrators, and users who support and use WordPress, Sasha is a sponsored team lead for the Accessibility team. WordPress teams are currently building the new block editor called Gutenberg.

Diagram of The WordPress Project- Some Paid and Some Volunteer Journey Map
  • πŸ‘ The community works hard together and takes on extremely difficult challenges together
  • πŸ‘ Ambitious work on projects or initiatives often takes months and years of teamwork to achieve set goals and to secure forward momentum for the project
  • πŸ‘ WordPress teams often take proactive measures towards identifying deficiencies and beginning to work on solutions
  • πŸ‘ The project provides for backward compatibility through the fluid nature of the technology
  • πŸ‘ WordPress project leader sets up “Office Hours to Gutenberg and 5.0 Listening Office Hours” to create opportunities to open up the lines of communication and continues to promote transparency and improved communication moving forward
  • ⚠️ The is tension between paid and unpaid volunteers
  • ⚠️ Prioritization of suggestions & contributions by unpaid team members
  • ⚠️ Projects for governments and higher ed (USA) must meet accessibility regulations and WordPress could therefore give equal weight to this priority
  • ⚠️ Need for improved communications, transparency and inclusion for road-mapping the future of WordPress
  • ⚠️ Improve processes, consensus, and rules as well as a role in the process for standards, inclusivity, and accessibility teams
  • ⚠️ Consider how to organize and represent our community across the wider web and how to contribute to improving the state of the web

WordPress Community Supporters

Illustration of a WordPress supporter pointing to the sign with the WordPress logo to signify how welcoming the WordPress community is

Terry, leads a monthly MeetUp in South Africa and volunteers to coordinate a larger WordCamp held annually in Cape Town. Terry decides to start a new WordCamp with a group of co-organizers. They regularly give back to the community, create and share their learning, and build networks of support so that people can help themselves. WordCamps help launch careers, build meaningful connections and help to move the web forward.

Diagram for WordPress Community Supporters Journey Map
  • πŸ‘ Community supporters have made some excellent professional relationships as well as some life long friends for themselves and for others
  • πŸ‘ The WordPress community builds networks of support so that people can help themselves through community events like WordCamps
  • πŸ‘ Meet others that share the same passion β€” WordPress
  • πŸ‘ Budget provided by Central covers the venue, swag, food, and beverages
  • πŸ‘ The price to attend and learn at a WordCamp is affordable and inclusive
  • πŸ‘ The “5 For The Future” initiative supports some of Terry’s team for some of their volunteer time working at this camp
  • ⚠️ People travel from long distances to contribute to and to learn more about working with WordPressΒ 
  • ⚠️ Challenges experienced by unpaid volunteers who create & execute a WordCamp in their city or territory
  • ⚠️ Improve communication and support needed by these organizers and their unpaid contributions, challenges, and sacrifices

Grouping of Stakeholders

WPGovernance MindMap | Stakeholders  – complete in progress – living documentation

Diagram of Grouping of Stakeholders WPGovernance MindMap