We want to improve on WPML’s usability and are investigating the ratio between the number of downloads and the number of people actually using the plugin.

This is a graph of WPML downloads in the last few months:


The graph has a more or less constant shape with peaks for every update that we made. The number of people who update indicates the number of people who actually use the plugin.

I’ve drawn a red line through these peaks and it shows that the number of actual users builds up at a rate of 1.5 users a day. Given an average rate of 90 download per day, we can see that only 1/60 of the people who downloaded actually uses the plugin.

We’re looking for reasons why this number isn’t much higher and I thought to first ask you.

What do you think are the major usability problems with WPML?

It’s a very open question so, please write back and tell everything you can think of.

BTW – thanks to all the people who contributed new languages. We’re compiling that list now and will include all the new languages in WPML 1.3.0.

15 Responses to “Improvements for WPML usability – any ideas?”

  1. a suggestion to version 1.3.0 would be:

    When you choose, redirect to the homepage when a page has no translation, could have a new choice, where I could, put the id of a page, and when a post did not translate, he would be redirected to this page I chose and not to the homepage.

    So I could redirect the visitor to a page that I wanted, like a contact page or a page where he could translate the content.

    • Hi Olivar,

      I think that something like that would be better implemented using a custom language switcher. You can use the icl_get_languages() call and build your own language switcher to include just that.

      Start a thread in the forum if you need any help with that.

  2. Maybe you get a lot of people downloading wpml, who’re just trying it thinking it will babelfish their wordpress blog in no time, and who don’t anticipate what it takes to design and feed multilingual sites. Then, most likely, they drop. My first guess would be that you don’t reach the audience which really needs your plugin. Professional, or semi-professional, that is. If found it by pure chance. And at first couldn’t beleive what I saw.

    I personally think that you lack an add campaign, and reviews in most read WP blogs. Laurelle’s blog, one of the most read WP blog, has a “multilingual WP” page, all of it is outdated and you plugin isn’t listed there !

    This plugin is excellent, (more than a plugin really, more like what wpmu is to wp), and doesn’t pop out of the mass of “translation related plugins” (which are all so limited, that I’ve stuck with other CMS than wordpress so far).

    For example, (I’m not working for them, eh) but an Add campaign on Project Wonderful, targeting blogs out of the US/UK (the people who need multilingual blogs the most are from non English speaking countries), would bring you visibility for a low cost. I ‘d try targeting hosting portals, webcomic portals (drunkduck, webcomicplanet,…), that kind, whose admins WILL be interested, provided they know this plugin exists and interfaces soo smoothly with wordpress and wordpress mu. They all wish to host foreign language webcomics and WPML really would help them do just that.

    Then give incentive for people to vote for you on the WP plugin site. This would help. A plug which has received 300 favorable votes is more likely to stand out.

    In my opinion, your problem is not with quality, but with visibility.

    As for improvements ? maybe a top menu like the admin pannel of Simple:Press Forum

    Also, making the distinction between the plugin-side functionalities and those you offer with “content translation” ; it could seem a bad move, but Google did just that when they introduced addwords ; paid for searches are printed distinctly on your screen, so that you clearly know what you’re reading at first glance.

    Then provide a nice banner with “powered by WMPL”. I’ll put it on my site as soon as available. And you’ll be able to track our sites more easily.

    Last ,auto integration with the 4/5 most downloaded WP themes (with a mention) might help boost its utilization. I’ll put it on my site as soon as available. And you’ll be able to track our sites more easily.

    Seeing who efficient, well integrated,… WPML is, I just cannot conceive it doesn’t become the leader in the field by the end of 2009.

    Just my 5 cents,… as you asked for them 😉

    • Your suggestions are great!

      I’m opening an account in Project Wonderful right now and will start experimenting with it.

      Will also create some nice ‘powered by’ graphics and make them available to use.

      We’re probably thinking about the same thing because we have started to work with top theme designers for adding WPML support to their themes. Right now, we’ve got support for iNove, Arras and Atahualpa. It’s still work in progress and not well documented, but we’re getting there.

      We’re working with theme designers to make WPML support a built in part of their themes. It’s a bit of a long process, but I think we’ll get good results from that.

      I know I need to be more active with popular bloggers. The more comments they see in their blogs about WPML, the easier it is for us to get them to cover it. Any help is appreciated.

  3. We had to convert from a MU install to a standard WP install. Would have been great if we could export and import in the traditional way. This should be something integrated. Either through the WPML admin screens or maybe if WPML is activated and has content, then when a person goes to do a standard export through the WP screens it asks if you want to include WPML data and tables.

    You need to build out a wiki, like in wordpress site that defines and explains all the functions, how they work, and examples. There are different levels of programmers. I myself can read and understand but somethings go over my head. The WPML site is a bit difficult to find the info needed. Some things can only be found by seeing one page and then clicking on a link from within a paragraph.

    Some thoughts… i love the plugin however.

    • HI Gianni,

      Thanks for the feedback.

      You’re talking about features for advanced users, which is very important too. Right now, our developers documentation is very basic.

      In WPML 1.3.0 we’ll be adding loads of API calls and we’ll have to make the documentation much more extensive.

  4. Hi Amir,
    I must say that I agree with most babelcomics already has said.
    1. visibility for your target audience
    2. people who download it, might have different impression of what your plugin can do.

    On top of that I also think that there are a lot more themes out there that are not internationalised yet. I have translated two themes now and it’s a pain. Now before I download/purchase a theme I first ask the developer and more than half of them cannot be bother with writing the code with _e( and (__(.

    And I haven’t even started about plugins! Plugin developers most of the times have different language versions of their plugin, but in no way is that usable with your plugin.

    I think if that doesn’t change rapidly (theme developers making internationally acceptable themes and plugin developers do the same) then perhaps you can lobby with WordPress to make additional categories for full internationalisation…

    Regarding the “powered by”-banner, maybe make few different ones text, graphic, different sizes and colors, I’ll drop them on my sites as soon as they become available!

    Talk soon!

  5. I agree with others that WPML should get more visibility:
    – WPML banners
    – WPML ready templates is definately a good idea
    – getting mentioned in books about WP
    – WPML tutorial on sites like Smashing Magazine, Nettuts ?

    +20,000 downloads… I think you do should have a donate button!

    “only 1/60 of the people who downloaded actually uses the plugin”
    Uses the plugin on a live website? Or uses the translation dashboard (paid service) part of the plugin? It might not have anything to do with WPML, it could be WP in general. WP not yet considered as a valid multilingual CMS?

    Improvement suggestion
    – inherit settings (like page order, allow comments, allow trackbacks) for all translations of a post/page from the main language version. (Currently, you need to set those settiings per translation)

    • Hi Jorix,

      Thanks for your suggestions. I’ve added the properties synchronization to our roadmap. We already have it running for people who used our paid translation and we can modify it to work for people who translate themselves.

      I wish we already had 300 users taking our paid translation. When I say 1/60, I meant people who use WPML at all. A few of them are using our translation service. From what I measured, this ratio is common for WP plugins and many do much worse. This is still not enough reason for us not to handle it seriously. We’re going to do some research and understand where these numbers are coming from.

      Regarding promoting WPML in various web resources, we’re trying to do this but obviously not enough. Any comments that other make in such sites make our work much easier. When the editor gets my email after seeing others comment about it, it’s much easier to get attention.

  6. Just to add one suggestion. Let WPML auto-add a sentence in the page footers together with “powered by WordPress” etc.

    “Multi-language plugin by WPML” “Multi-languge CMS by WPML”

    Thanks for a great plugin.

  7. Very Great plugin. I use it since 2 days

    I install it on my website test. When all is good (templates, seo) i use template for my active websites and pay some translations for them.

    I think all will be ok in 2 3 weeks (seo…) so be patient. Some french webmasters try to use it and we can have in some weeks a lot of “how to…”

  8. Some hosting providers also offer WordPress as free software that can be installed. It might be interesting to get in touch with such providers and have WPML bundled with WordPress installations.

  9. I like screenshots. For this plugin, I’d suggest putting screenshots to let users see the plugin in action. I agree with previous opinions. A video would be even better idea. Personally, I prefer to watch a video telling me what something can do rather than reading a lengthy article. You can put it in youtube for more exposure.

    Everyone seems happy with other translation plug-ins because they proved to be working. Get other blogs test and write about your plugin. People search in Google and they need someone to attest that WPML works and works pretty well. I didn’t know that when I started using it.

    Having an easier way to translate the interface and for this compatibility with other plug-ins is important. I know you are working for cforms to get WPML supported but that’s what many people use with their WP and it is a good example.

    If the plug-in can be featured on wordpress.org extend website that will give it a good chance of exposure.