This report presents the results from the 2014 BuddyPress Survey held from Jan. 7 – Feb. 10, 2014. Three hundred thirty-eight developers from fifty-two countries completed the survey. Thank you all.

52 country flags of survey respondents

Goal of Survey

Guide the direction of BuddyPress plugin development in 2014

Objectives:

1. Discover current and actual BuddyPress usage.
2. Provide users the opportunity to post their feature requests.
3. Identify key areas for improvement.
4. Prioritize areas of BuddyPress development.
5. Set benchmarks to streamline development processes.
6. Identify volunteers who are interested in contributing to BuddyPress development.

Background

The concept of an all-out BuddyPress survey began with @djpaul’s suggestion during an IRC devchat to embed a mini-survey in the plugin’s admin “What’s new” panel a week before BP 1.9 was released last December. The idea was to engage users in BP development for version 2.0.

Skype discussions a couple of days later brought about the decision that while the mini-survey was feasible, it would be much better to conduct a full-blown survey. It would be similar to the 2013 Codex Survey but with an expanded scope to help guide BP development in 2014. After some testing and reviews, the survey was launched in the second week of January.

Survey Method/Design

I prepared the sample survey questions based on users’ posts at the BP Forums and the tickets at BP Trac during the Christmas holidays for review of the core team. The final 32 questions were re-categorized into four sections: a) You and BuddyPress, b) Themes and Plugins, c) Components and Participation, and d) Opinions and Requests.

The online survey was created using Polldaddy.com. A variety of survey question types were employed to gather the data required: multiple choices, check boxes, a matrix, and open‐ended comments. The last type would also provide a veritable mine of information from responses in stand-alone questions and from “Other” options in multiple choices.

Key Findings

    1. bbPress (2.x) is the top forums solution for BuddyPress sites
      bbPress is the forum solution for most BP sites
    2. More than 50% of BuddyPress sites are on the latest versions of WordPress and BuddyPress.
    3. Sixty-two percent of respondents have built 1 to 5 sites each and more than half of those sites are on Shared Hosting plans.
    4. Theme Compatibility introduced in BP 1.7 has expanded the available theme choices for BuddyPress sites. Per survey, themes used for BuddyPress sites are now almost evenly divided between: a) Free WP themes with or without BP support, b) Commercial WP themes with or without BP support, and c) Own custom themes using BP theme compat or custom themes overriding template parts with BP theme compat disabled.

      BuddyPress themes

    5. The top features wanted in a BuddyPress theme are:
      • Compatibility with the latest BP version
      • Responsive
      • Light and Fresh Design
    6. The top 12 BP-specific plugins and plugins with BP support activated are:
      Activated plugins in BP sites
      • bbPress
      • BuddyPress Activity Plus
      • rtMedia
      • BuddyPress Group Email Subscription
      • Invite Anyone
      • Buddypress Docs
      • BuddyPress Activity Privacy
      • Buddypress Xprofile Custom Fields Type
      • BP Labs
      • BuddyPress Custom Profile Menu
      • BuddyPress Pending Activations
      • s2member
    7. The majority of users are satisfied with all BuddyPress components except for Site Tracking which can only be activated for multisite installations.

      chart of rated BuddyPress components

    8. Sixty-five respondents from 31 countries submitted their email addresses to get involved with BP development. Thank you! We will be contacting you soon.

      country flags of volunteers

    9. Sixty-seven percent of respondents evaluated other social networking software before choosing BuddyPress.

      social network software evaluated

    10. The top 10 categories of BP features requested are:
      Top BP Feature Requests
      • Group enhancements
      • new Media component
      • Activity Stream improvements
      • a BuddyPress theme
      • Membership add-ons
      • xProfiles additions
      • improved Documentation
      • easy configuration of Profile/Group navigations
      • Performance improvements
      • more Privacy options

    Acknowledgements

    • Survey Preparation: @johnjamesjacoby, @boonebgorges, @djpaul, @r-a-y, @imath, and @hnla
    • Online Survey Solution: Polldaddy.com and Automattic for the corporate account
    • Survey Report: d3.js, Chart.js, Github.com, and @johnjamesjacoby for helping me get the report site up and running in gh-pages
    • Last but not least, many thanks once again to the survey participants who completed this survey :)

    Moving Forward

    The core team who has been updated regularly since this survey began, has already started discussions on the feature requests along with working on existing Trac tickets and creating new ones based on your responses to this survey. In addition, adopting the WordPress features-as-plugin process, some new BP features will be developed as plugins first to get more people involved in the frontend and backend requirements.

    You can keep abreast of latest developments by subscribing to http://bpdevel.wordpress.com and joining BP devchats at irc.freenode.net.

    Finally, please visit the mobile-friendly BuddyPress 2014 Survey Results page to see the graphs and visualizations prepared from your responses to the survey. Cheers.

    social network software evaluated