Plans begin to emerge for a Dashboard CSS overhaul in WordPress 3.3


WordPress 3.2 was released yesterday, and brought with it a number of awesome features and improvements. But with every release of WordPress, one of my favorite aspects remain the same: with 3.2 released, discussions about 3.3 will soon begin.

Talks of 3.3 development have already popped up in a few places. One notable discussion is focused on the plans for a complete revamp of the WordPress Dashboard CSS. This wouldn’t be a redesign like 3.2 saw, but would mean cleaning up and streamlining old CSS files and (wherever possible) enhancing the CSS with more modern techniques.

Lead developer Andrew Ozz is running the discussion on the Make WordPress UI blog, and the request for project volunteers has been made.

Do you spend a lot of time working with CSS in your work? Will you consider taking part in the (possible) CSS overhaul for WordPress 3.3?

12 thoughts on “Plans begin to emerge for a Dashboard CSS overhaul in WordPress 3.3

  1. Whatever is done to the interface it shouldn’t be much. Cleanup of CSS and improving it without changing to much visually is OK. WordPress has already had too many interface changes in the past year, and I have several clients that already voiced their concerns with me on the changes in WP 3.2. They think that interface should be left alone for some time and maybe change it when major 4.0 or 5.0 is reached. Now we have situation that each new WP looks different and that should stop.

    • Why should it stop? Because people do not like changes? Come on, that’s just wrong.

      I agree that the focus should not be on improving the admin interface over and over again. But these changes aren’t ground breaking, it’s an improvement of the previous interface. I always felt like it was a version of the admin interface that needed a new revision. This new look is – with it’s new look and minor tweaks – modern and totally ready for the future.

      The main body of the admin interface is still the same.

      • As with any other technology, its the same with WP, most users are not tech oriented, and they don’t like to upgrade and get different product that they need to learn to use. I agree that WP 3.2 is not that different from WP 3.0/3.1, but still, many users are not that comfortable with so many changes. As I said, I have many clients that use WP for they work, they don’t follow closely all the development progress or trends around WP, they use it as a tool for their job, and they don’t like that it changes so much visually.

        No matter how much I like all the work done with WP over the last 3 versions, interface changes cause all sorts of problems to plugin developers also. I had to changes all CSS files for my plugins and to provide two separate CSS files for older WP and new WP. Tweaks and minor improvements is one thing, but I am afraid that too much time is spent on the visual changes.

        • Dear Milan Petrovic,

          Some of the condition what you said is right for end user & developers! Let me tell my opinion on “change” I like changes, difficulties, solving problems and challenges!
          How many times release the wp versions, the only important thing is usable coz’ how many times apple company release their i phone style, design & other feature, the good thing is i phone users don’t need to search “how to use this feature in iphone in google” because i phone developers make it easy for user to understand automatically all of the feature. I also think that when wordpress new version release and we upgrade our old version to new old , we always have to change a little or more codes.That is developer duty and there are some ways that we need to change a bit even we upgrade our old version. That’s all depend on how you construct your themes.So, when we upgrade new wp version, I think that construction of your wordpress plugins & your theme! If any think mistake in my word, please forgive me!

          • Yes, but most user will not update WordPress to the latest version, and right now 3.0 and 3.1 have great many users (even 2.9 has some 10% users). So, plugin should look right on at least last 3 WP versions, and I need to maintain it for last 3 WP version. And I have several plugins and such work can be much more than a little change in the code.

    • They think that interface should be left alone for some time and maybe change it when major 4.0 or 5.0 is reached.

      Just like to mention here, That 4.0 is simply the next version after 3.9, which is the next version after 3.8. WordPress uses a decimal version numbering system, The first 2 digits are the “major version” and the 3rd is the point release. eg. 3.2.x is one branch, 3.3.x is the next version.

    • Looks like the changes being discussed are all under the hood: merging admin CSS files, reducing HTTP requests, clearing out redundant code, etc.

      • That would be right direction: remove more of the old code that was PHP4 related, clean redundant code, less CSS files (too many are available and loaded now), improving loading of JS files (that will further improve speed of WP).

  2. I’m all for change and making things slicker, but I feel like it should be an option (like the colour scheme in my profile).

    What draws a lot of people to WordPress is the simplicity. A lot of clients hate change and barely understand the CMS as it is! They should have the option to rest easy while the rest of us opt-in.

    Can’t wait to see it!

    • There’s no reason you’ve couldn’t create a plugin that adds your own admin theme, and do it such that it makes 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 all look the same.

      • You are right, but there are actually many CSS classes provided by WordPress that developers would like to use to ease and the admin page styling process (disabled input, read-only input, select drop-down box, meta box, etc.) Who would want to copy all the CSS rules over and create like 3 versions of them, just to support all upcoming versions of WordPress?

        Both clients and developers do not want so many changes in such a short period, especially changes made to something that take them quite some time to get used to, and that is a fact rather than a thought.

        Looks like the changes being discussed are all under the hood: merging admin CSS files, reducing HTTP requests, clearing out redundant code, etc.

        This is what I hope for too.

  3. I think there should be more than one dashboard option available and you choose what best suits you.

    Clients do not like the one choice fits all idea .Already I have had clients tell me they will not up greade to WP3.2 becuase they do not like the fact that the post content font has been changed and their network button has been moved – they feel like it is interference and intrusion. The size of the site name in the dashboard has also been reduced and some of my clients have not welcomed that either .

    The back end updates are not so important to them becuase they happen behind the scenes but you change a dashboard button location and wow you hear about it …..

    These things are being decided by a few and having to be accepted by the many and I am not so sure this is the right approach in an age of “responsive design” and “user experience” …. a dashboard CSS rethink needs to have a lot of community involvement and feedback before anything is decided.. IMHO

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