A dashboard experiment I’ve started

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  George Mamadashvili 5 years, 7 months ago.

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    Ryan Imel

    I like to tweak the WordPress dashboard to better fit how I use it. Recently I’ve created, and am using, a WordPress plugin I call Minimal Dashboard Experiment.

    The goal is to remove the dashboard menu items and elements that I don’t use often. I already move top-level plugin menu items into the settings submenu (one step further than Mark Jaquith’s plugin, and something I should write a post about too) so what I’m talking about here is one step more extreme.

    For instance, right now I have the following WordPress menu items hidden from my default view:

    • bbPress forums and replies menu items (I do click through to the bbPress topics screen, though most of the time I respond/manage from the front end or using my widget plugin.)
    • Users menu item (I hardly ever visit it, except from one of the widgets on my dashboard.)
    • Comments menu item (Again, I rely heavily on the recent comments dashboard widget.)
    • Media menu item (I nearly never visit this to upload directly.)
    • Gravity Forms menu items (I edit and manage forms very infrequently.)
    • Tools menu item (Again, hardly ever touch it.)

    So I have a plugin that does two things:

    1. It checks to make sure that the person logged into the dashboard is me, and if it is
    2. it removes a series of dashboard menu items.

    So my dashboard menu is pretty small, which I like. I think one of the necessities for those that use a number of WordPress plugins (like I do) is to closely manage their dashboard so it isn’t taken over by rude plugin behavior. (Managing plugin footprint on the dashboard, and the front end, are topics I have drafted for the main blog soon.)

    I’m keeping comments in the plugin, tracking how often I need to jump in and re-enable the menu items. For Gravity Forms, for example, so far I have “Used 2 times. (5/1/2012, 5/3/2012)” commented next to the line where I remove that menu item from the dashboard. Depending on how often I have to rely on a menu item, over time I may consider adding it back in.

    I’m really only jumping in and re-enabling a menu item when I can’t navigate naturally within the dashboard itself, or when I can’t quickly type out the screen URL I’m looking for into the browser. For comments I typically just jump to the page from the recent comments widget on my dashboard, since I typically have that widget stationed on the upper left of my main dashboard view. For the users screen, though, I find myself just adding “users.php” to the end of my “/wp-admin/” URL. That one’s so easy to remember, that despite using it more often than I expected, I like not needing the users menu item to get over there.

    Just to be clear, here: I’m in no way suggesting that WordPress shouldn’t have these menu items, or that there’s anything wrong with having them. I’m just playing around with settings (highly custom, some would say crazy settings) that might just end up working better, for me. At the very least, doing what I’m doing will make me more capable of navigating the WordPress dashboard without relying on dashboard menus.

    So what do you think? Am I completely crazy for running this sort of experiment on myself?


    I mostly find my self hiding dashboard widgets like: Incoming List, QuickPress, WordPress Blog, etc. Never tried hiding menus though, really interesting experiment.

    How are you handling this on coding side? are you using your user meta? I think Screen Options implementation of your plugin would great.



    This is not crazy at all. But, I just do that for clients all the time 🙂


    Ryan Imel

    @george: I’m not saving any “what to hide” preferences or anything like that. My plugin just checks for my user ID and then runs a function to remove a handful of things.

    I like the screen options idea for menu items. Maybe “Advanced Screen Options” or something. I like that a lot, actually.

    @ravidreams: It seems pretty common in client situations, yeah. Do you hide things globally, or on a user role basis?


    @ryan: Right, in you case function would be just enough, no need for options screen. Glad you liked idea.

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