Let me start by saying that WordPress is a superb effort to bring web publishing to the masses. The single most important reason I became interested in WP was the K.I.S.S - Keep It Simple Solution ;-) nature of the software. KUDOS! I first dabbled with ver. 1.2 and implemented several installations for others to use. Those users were by and large non-geek, that is to say, they don't know (never going to learn xHtml) and so never did much with their sites as the publishing interface was a little too complicated for them. I learned that things I take for granted as no-brainer were NOT no-brainer for them.
With the release of 1.5.1 things have become a whole lot more user-friendly. The number of templates out there certainly makes it easier to find something suitable enough for different tastes as far as looks and behaviors. Lots of users could care less for constantly tweaking, adjusting their site. They are looking for a quickly implemented, easily maintaned web publishing platform they can use to disseminate either personal or business photos, knowledge, experience, information, latest product news, etc.
Some of the plugins that have been developed certainly lend themselves well to the non-tecnical user such as; Static Front Page, 'Adhesive' Sticky Post, Email Notification, Subscribe to Comments, Search Pages Plugin, DashLite alternative "Dashboard", and for security, WP-Morph and Bad Behavior.
The mods for Alphabetical Categories, Customizing the <!--more---> tag and Designating the <!--more---> tag text are indispensable, and the new functionality for creating 'Pages' outside the chronological sequence is one of the best adaptations adopted (IMHO) for making WP a viable CMS type web publishing software.
I have started to remake some of the sites I created for others based on these improvements. The 2 most significant improvements that have improved non-geek user interaction has been the DashLite alternative "Dashboard" (combined with editing the user levels allows me to simplify the publishing interface for them.) The other is a WYSIWYG editor. Although there is no complete solution yet (both variations I have tried,WYSIWYGII & Joe Schmoe's Wysiwyg have their strengths and weaknesses) I want to reiterate the point that a WYSIWYG editor for WP is a hugely desirable feature, and would be tremendous if it was built-in (with a toggle on/off selection from within the admin).
For example, I'm setting up a personal site for a collaborative contribution of news, photos, memories etc., for blood relative family members to all be contributing authors. If it's not dead bang simple for them to interact with it will never elicit the participation of the intended authors whose ages range from 13yrs old to 78yrs old. They can find the site, understand how to register, have a grasp of typing in a form and with the right WYSIWYG editor can easily create content and learn to upload and insert graphics or photos, especially if there are some simple photo manipulation tools right there in the interface ie crop, resize as in WYSIWYGII. WP with WYSIWYG is the perfect solution.
I have read several threads that when the subject of WYSIWYG editors is brought up, it is quickly hooted down. Bretheren this ought not so to be! I personally hate WYSIWYG editors, (I also write xHtml and CSS with notepad and read all of the important Dev Blogs out there), but there is a huge and growing potential sector of users, dare I say potential 'customers' that having this one feature could/would capture. It is good to keep in mind that feature requests may be less than an individual personal ('I want it my way') request than someone trying to encourage the development of a solution based on user/customer feedback. I gotta tell you, setting up a site for your grandmother or siblings and watching how they interact with the program speaks volumes about intuitivity and usability!
Just my .02 cents. I really am impressed how far WP has come and thankful for all those who make up this community and have made this tremendous solution available and continue to keep it on track and improve on it. Thank You!
thejamessons.com case in point