I'm a new user who only started with version 2.3 and after I got the hang of it, I switched to version 2.5.
I've written a book, but decided to put the entire book online--for free--thus starting a Web magazine. That would make me editor-in-chief. In addition to editing my book for search engine optimization, I've also had to seek freelance writers, buy articles from content sites, and scour press releases (everyday) to see if a story would benefit my potential visitors. This is time consuming. So you can imagine how busy I am.
As mentioned previously, I'm a writer, editor, ad director, PR director, a wife, but I am NOT a coder. I'm familiar with HTML, as I have had other sites that I've owned. But what would really make my life easier, and get back to my new business venture, is taking the guesswork out of plugins and widgets that don't work, or the instructions are sketchy at best. I've spent days trying to get plugins to work (when I could have been writing that next big article for my Web magazine) or the directions are not NEWBIE friendly.
What I propose is a newbie seal of approval stamp for plugins, something like "Dummy Approved" or "Dummy Tested," which would mean that any newbie using WordPress for the first time (no matter the version) can use the plugin out of the box without any guesswork or coding abilities. For the plugins that do not have this seal, most of the time, I would move on to avoid the headache (or carve out some vacation days, because I'm in for it!).
Though oftentimes, I've encountered 5 plugins that perform the same functions, so which one does a newbie like me choose? I'd choose the one with the seal. This will not only save time, this will encourage newbies to join the WordPress community without headaches (not to mention fumbling with the plugin for days and still not getting it to work--time wasted). Sure, the "Dummy Approved" seal would have to be actually tested by newbies (I'd volunteer myself).
Why tested by newbies? Besides the obvious, what I found when going through a lot of plugins, advanced coders tend to leave out information in their instructions. They assume that you are at or above their level of knowledge. They feel that they don't have to tell you "every little detail." False. I tell my husband, for example, he is vastly knowledgeable within his field, but he could never be a teacher. He's not thorough enough.
For the plugin authors who do get it right the first time (or even the second or third time), I have rewarded them with financial donations to keep up the good work, a thanks for making the plugins (newbie) user friendly. I'm sure other WordPress users will follow. So this will be encouraging for authors as well.
Right now, my site is at a standstill because I can't get one plugin to work. After emailing the author, he stated that he'd write a tutorial over the weekend, but I'm hoping the tutorial is newbie-user friendly. Pray for me. But the fact that he didn't know that his plugin was not newbie-user friendly (with vague instructions) is what I find more disturbing. This happens to me a lot. So I won't just pick on this author.
I have several people waiting to get word from me whether WordPress is user friendly or not, so they can use it on their new sites. Honestly, I can't recommend it just yet. Because they will need themes and widgets to make their sites work.
I'd like to get back to writing and growing my business.