Reminisce with the big WordPress 3.2 redesign gallery


While the design update in WordPress 3.2 is certainly not of the magnitude of the redesign that 2.7 saw, it represents a significant step forward for WordPress as a platform. Despite the many significant updates, it’s odd how quickly we adapt to the change and even forget what things used to look like. After using 3.2 for a few days it’s easy to forget what all the changes between 3.1 and 3.2 were. And that’s a good thing.

If you’re using 3.2 and aren’t quite sure of each of the subtle design changes it brought, skim through the gallery below and reminisce on how things used to be. And in the future, when you want to remember what the 3.1 to 3.2 visual shift was like, don’t forget about this post.

For each of the images below, version 3.1 is on the left and 3.2 is on the right. Clicking any of them will bring up the full image.

Login Screen

I overlooked the login screen tweaks at first, but after signing in once or twice they caught my eye. Notice the general tightening up, the hard corners, and one link per line under the form itself.


I spend most of my days with this screen open in a tab. Many of the changes this time around can be spotted from this screen, which contains quite a bit of the new user interface.


Add New Post




I noticed the new widget design right away. The areas themselves are much lighter, with hard corners on each of them. It’s likely just in my head, but moving the widgets themselves around feels much more responsive as well.


Manage Themes


Notice the visual treatment given to the Press This bookmarklet.

Writing Settings



Permalink Settings

Freedoms (new to 3.2)

WordPress Credits (new to 3.2)

Share your thoughts

Are you used to the overall design changes in the new version? Do you find that it has affected your use of WordPress in any way?

Oh, and before I forget: if you’re looking for a bit of background and insight on the design of 3.2, see Matt Thomas’ blog post on the topic.


16 thoughts on “Reminisce with the big WordPress 3.2 redesign gallery

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  2. I’m personally not liking the new admin design.

    Despite the intentions, It comes across as more busy and cluttered. The white on white becomes blinding (whereas the white boxes on a grey background was easier on the eye, and gave more focus through the contrast). The navigation is harder to skim now, and if you have the admin bar turned on, you get this weird battle between the navigation and the admin bar for hierarchy.

    The typography seems messier too. The Georgia/Lucida Grande combination worked well, and they were used in appropriate spots. The Arial/Helvetica is harder to read, and they seem to be more randomly applied to different bits of text.

    The overall effect of the changes, is that I think it will come across as more intimidating for non-technical uses, ie. clients who I build WordPress site for. Part of the appeal of using WordPress for me is that it’s easy to learn for clients, and this works against it.

    • I agree. But if the core contributors want to stick with it, they could at least change the widgets’ grey background to white. The way it is currently just looks ugly and amateurish.

    • Try telling that to my clients. I love wordpress but the user interface has always been poorer than many other content management systems. This could have been a great opportunity to make this really user friendly but sadly it seems to have gone the other way. Cramped and messy and confusing all at the same time – pretty impressive achievement 🙂

      Instead of giving everything more breathing room and a more intuitive hierarchy we now have something which I know my clients are struggling with and many more will find unpleasant.

      I know wordpress is built be a community but surely someone must have some half-decent design skills there? although judging by twentyten and its successor i am not sure…

      missed opportunity 🙁

      • I’m also not totally crazy about the new admin, BUT – it’s not that different and I think I and my clients will be able to adapt to it.

        James – if you don’t already, I would suggest using a plug-in such as ‘hide-admin-panels’ so that users only see the left-menu items they actually need to see. This makes the whole process of administering a site more straightforward.

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  5. I think for me it is more a case of accepting the new dashboard rather than really liking it ..

    Credit to all the core people who have done such a great job with the back end and Twenty Eleven but I am really struggling to like the ” visual ” front-end updates

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  7. Change can be good and I do like the crisp, tidy look that 3.2 attempts. However, I do not like the bright white background and soft gray work areas… that needs to be reversed.

    • It would be quite nice if you could choose to switch back to the previous admin theme. I’m not in favour of wholesale ‘retro’ theming, but the pre 3.2 theme obviously has merits that a lot of people feel are missing from the latest one.

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