Introducing WPMU DEV 7.0 – Crispr!
As WordPress turns 15 on May 27th, this old site here, WPMU DEV, just turned 12 last month which gave us a nice opportunity to roll out a brand new design that I’m going to christen Crispr – because it’s nice and clean and, I hope, reflects our new DNA :)
The blog looks more or less the same, but you’ll find lots of nice new pages like our Features overview page, a tour round The Hub, a review of our white label client Reports and a combined performance page for Hummingbird and Smush. As well as a bit of a cheeky homepage, if you’re not logged in.
Of course as it’s pretty much all brand new (kinda got too big to AB test so we thought ‘hey, let’s just go with it’) there will be quite a few edits and improvements to come (I already have about 10 lined up) but overall I’m really happy with it and reckon the team has done a great job… and I hope that you’ll like how it reflects exactly where our focus is now. On you, dear WordPress focused web developer, and you alone.
And what better time to look back at some of our previous incarnations and track the progression and aesthetics.
So, without further ado, let’s roll back the years.
Version 1 – ‘Default’
Back in 2006, my co-founder Andrew put together the first WPMUDEV.org at the root domain (one day soon we’ll fix the domain thing up, I am aware that wpmudev.com doesn’t exactly look the best!) and started hosting and supporting the nascent WordPress MU community.
I modified some themes so they would work with MU and put them up there in a pack, it was really popular!
Version 2 – ‘Whynot?’
I can’t remember who exactly had the first idea to have a premium version of wpmudev.org alongside a free one, there’s probably some ancient Gchat archive, but suffice to say once we had joined forces and started Incsub, we figured that it’d make sense to put some of the plugins we were developing for Edublogs (and even some of our client’s plugins, with their permission) up on a membership site… couldn’t hurt eh?
We were still really committed to the idea of having a free repository too as had been Andrew’s original vision.
Version 3 – ‘WPMU RED’
If I’ve ever bored you with our roots story you’ll recount that it wasn’t until the GFC that we really decided to double down on WPMU DEV.
Essentially Incsub had been making most of our money by developing large scale MU sites for various ISPs, media organisations and, well, anyone who had the cash. Post GFC it seemed nobody wanted to splash out on a big speculative blog site any more, which was pretty troubling.
But WPMU DEV was there in the background, chugging along and doing fairly well, so we figured hey, let’s double down on this… I remember doing the first lot of SaaS math on the back of an envelope, almost literally, and getting pretty excited. And the red really delivered! Thank you World :)
Version 4 – ‘Members’
Somebody (ahem, me) had been reading too many 37Signals posts, and hey, given we were all about our members then that’s what I was gonna do… be all about our members!
By this time Andrew and I had parted company so it was a pretty terrifying experience, saddled with a lot of debt and trying to set up a ‘real’ company for the first time we actually started working on some serious designs and did our first AB testing ever! Which ended up going from loads of different members to just Julie… thanks Julie :)
Version 5 – ‘Zooooooom’
This one was fast. Well, kinda the opposite of fast in that we spent aaaaages making it and then it turned out to be complete rubbish because we got so abstract that people no longer knew what we did.
Beautiful art, great design, the best site we’ve ever made… appalling business decision.
Version 6 – ‘My Hero’
And to the rescue came, well, Devman and the crew!
This had initially lost out to the F1 allusions in general discussions but when it was clear that wasn’t working, and we had some of the art in place, well we figured we’d just smash it out and, with now some excellent animations (and epic voiceovers) the first version of our present incarnation was born.
Version 7 – ‘Crispr’
And so, to today!
And, as I mentioned, it’s all about clarity. In terms of what you get as a member, what’s coming soon, in terms of accessibility, in terms of aesthetics and in terms of what we are focused on as a business – specifically providing you with the core tools and services that you need to create, manage, update, secure, optimise, support and run an unlimited number of WP / client sites… from one place.
Oh, and with some nifty plugins thrown in too :)
And as an added bonus, now we’ve knocked this out we can get onto our next big (ok, not big, it’s *massive) project… namely being The Hub 2.0… which I’m even more excited about because it’s essentially the equivalent of jumping from V3 of the designs right straight through to 7. Along with the functionality. Woof.
Anyway, we hope you like it… let’s see how long this one lasts :)