Preparing Your Clients for WordPress 3.8

I have a confession to make. I love coleslaw. It’s delicious. I’ve had a love for coleslaw since I was a kid. Growing up, the best place to get coleslaw was KFC. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, a biscuit and coleslaw made the perfect meal (maybe not a healthy one, but when you’re a kid you can eat anything!) Then one day it happened – KFC changed the recipe.

What Happened?

I still remember the first time I ordered coleslaw after KFC changed the recipe. I thought something had gone wrong – they must have run out of an ingredient or mixed something wrong. There’s no way they could have changed the recipe. The next time I got coleslaw, it was still wrong. I figured it was just the restaurant I was going to, must be an issue at their location. I tried a new location – same thing. That’s when it dawned on me that KFC really had changed their recipe. I was sad. Then I got mad – how could they just up and change the recipe without some sort of warning? It just wasn’t right. Sure, I was overly emotional about coleslaw, but I still felt betrayed.

So how’s this relate to WordPress?

Coleslaw has nothing to do with WordPress of course, but change, especially unexpected change, does. WordPress is about to release version 3.8 (UPDATE: WordPress 3.8 is now available). The big change they’re making in WordPress 3.8 is the look of the UI. It’s one of the biggest changes to the look of the WP admin in years. Now the functionality of the admin is basically the same as the old version. Many of the buttons, links, and tools are in the same location, but the appearance has changed drastically.



WordPress 3.7 on the left and 3.8 on the right

What can we learn from the coleslaw?

Change is never easy, we humans are creatures of habit. We rarely enjoy change. However, the only thing worse than change is unexpected change. Especially unexpected change that relates to someone’s business. That’s why it’s important to give your clients a heads up that WordPress is changing. The next time they login to a WordPress 3.8 powered site, things will look very different. Assure them that everything is ok, things still work about the same as before, their site will still work the same, WordPress just looks different now. That simple warning may be the difference between a panicked phone call and a simple email saying “thanks for the heads up, we’re adjusting just fine.”

So, learn from the coleslaw experience – don’t change the recipe on someone without any notice. That only leads to confusion, frustration, and ultimately an unhappy client.

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