Sneak peek of the in-development WordPress Dashboard redesign


The WordPress UI team and core developers have been hard at work recently working up a slight redesign of the WordPress Dashboard, seen in the video above. Progress has been made since the discussion started up on the Make WordPress UI blog, where a number of contributors had a say in the direction of the new design. If you would like to help out with the WordPress user interface, check that blog to find out more.

Keep in mind, the version of WordPress previewed in the video above, just like other alpha preview materials we post, should be viewed in that manner. What you see won’t necessarily end up in the next version of WordPress—it’s simply under development, and is being considered for it.

Or, if you would prefer our standard alpha WordPress dislcaimer: The content of this post is pulled from a currently-in-development version of WordPress, otherwise known as trunk, which is about as early in the stages of planning/development as you can get. Well, except the mind itself. But until we can perfect our mind reading techniques here at WPCandy, which would undoubtedly increase the provocativeness of our blog posts, we have to rely on Trac tickets and commits to trunk for early WordPress project movements. All of this is to say: take what is reported here with a grain of salt, since it could end up not happening. And try to limit those terrible, terrible thoughts of yours—we might be listening.

20 thoughts on “Sneak peek of the in-development WordPress Dashboard redesign

  1. Pingback: Kako bi mogao izgledati novi WordPress Dashboard? | Netokracija

  2. Redesign should be driven by faults/inconveniences/poor performance of the current version of dashboard, not the whimsy of the designers. Experience reveals none of the negatives that suggest a redesign of the dashboard is needed. (Maybe getting rid of the ugly green buttons and going back to red indicator circles since colors have accepted meanings).

    Design on whimsy leads to code bloat and performance degradation (think MSFT here).

    Why squander talent, time and energy on the unneeded?

    On the other hand, if more can be done with less code have at it. But this concept is never employed by any coders… outside of NASA.

    If “The Designers” want to keep tweaking:
    1. Get rid of media attachment pages, or at least offer an on/off selection.
    2. Have a global on/off for comments.
    3. Hide file structure (server level) for all those without admin privileges.
    4. Set-up WP’s multiple hosting to allow the owner to run multiple for profit blogs using only one (the main blog’s installation) shopping cart (to work around PayPal’s limitations).
    5. Give functionally easy control over which crawlers can access/scan the blog.
    6. Get involved with opposing the US federal government taxing/controlling the Internet and e-commerce. The current US federal government is a scourge on mankind. How long would WP last if it were taxed simply because it existed?

    © 2011

    • @DoktorThomas If you have any suggestions regarding UI improvements for WordPress, do not hesitate to jump in the conversation and give your remarks on the UI dev blog or on trac by proposing patches. I personally believe these changes are for the benefit of WordPress in general: by refreshing the interface, you show to the world and to the end-users that the software they are using is evoluting, following trends, and “up-to-date”. That’s as important as the backend improvements in my opinion, since this is the “public face” of WordPress.

      Regarding your suggestions, most of them are not really related to UI changes, so I don’t think it is really the point of the conversation here.

      @wpcandy Nice walk-through. I am a big fan of the new interface, I think the UI team have done a great job refreshing the admin panel we see every day! I can’t wait for 3.2 to come out to show these new things to my clients!

    • Yikes man, you start off with a reasonable point but your list of ideas is so off-topic it belongs on a different planet. It’s like I just watched a troll being born.

  3. *evolving, not ‘evoluting’ (unless you meant ‘evaluating’) 😛 Anyway, I happen to like the new design. I’ve been using the Fluency admin plugin, which has elements very similar to this layout, t it’s been very buggy for me lately (not displaying right in chrome, not interacting with my iPad very well. Both seem to be issues with my devices, rather than the plugin, but still it’s nice that this is now available, at least if you run the nightlies on your site, which I do)

  4. Couldn’t agree more with Doktor Thomas. All ideas are solid and appealing.

    The excitement of a new design, a new “look,” for novelty’s sake has zero interest for me.
    But there are actual imperfections. I just had a huge problem setting an edited image as the Featured Image on a Page, apparently because the way in came into the Media Library “attached” it somewhere else. (If I could explain the problem, I could probably understand/solve it.) Bottom line for me: more than an hour of fiddling, seeing the edited image in my Media Library but being unable to see it in the list of choices for Featured Image. I don’t usually give up, but I gave up on this. Not interested in a “refresh” for a change of scenery. I want to be so comfortable with WordPress that the sight of it is as boring as a QWERTY keyboard.

    WordPress is a terrific way to get into blog design — quick start-up, ease into light coding, increasing sophistication with Plugins — the evolution takes place in the user: me. WordPress is not perfect, and Doktor Thomas’s suggestions are cogent, meaningful ideas for improvement, not for novelty’s sake, but to address needs.

    I’m still looking to understand the existing program. Much of the WordPress documentation consists of describing what a user sees when looking at screen. I can read a screen. This is a common mistake in software and technical documentation. Yes, I can see the product, too. I need more than that. I need to know things that aren’t obvious. Common misconceptions, common mistakes, hidden buttons. I have had to experiment to learn most of this on my own. I have posted some excruciatingly simple directions on my blog, because it’s what I needed, and still need. Perhaps I could help write the documentation, which has been compared to Wikipedia. My first step would be to delete much of what now appears in the Codex. It is well meaning but not helpful. By the way, the User Interface (UI) “walk through” appeared to be semi-random clicking, not focused on a presentation of specific meaningful changes. Appreciate the disclaimer, and hope changes are undertaken systematically and logically, not change for its own cool sake.

    The beauty of WordPress: you can be a DIY blogger in five minutes. The challenge of WordPress: the steps beyond basic blogging have a demanding learning curve. It was news to me that WordPress supports only one blog string. “Oh, everyone knows that.” Well, I didn’t. Now I know it doesn’t support multiple sites with one cash register.

    How to link my own pages and posts inside pages and posts? Not obvious. I had to look at the code and patch the “link” to one of my other articles with something that showed up on the screen (text or graphic). Not automatic, not obvious, not explained. But doable (apparently, unless I’ve violated some merchant code of banishment for internal linking).

    I disagree with the scope of Dr. Thomas’s suggestion that WordPress address the parasitism of governments, although I may share the fear of taxation of Amazon, Google’s ability to reconfigure its robot spiders, or the starving hordes of spammers, scammers, tag dumpers, vandals, and other unprincipled, semi-literate miscreants. Some of these are of concern for WordPress’s design; most aren’t.

    I am not a programmer, and don’t want to become one. Code is not poetry. Poetry is poetry. If I compare thee to a summer’s *MORN* instead of a summer’s *DAY* you are not going to die or throw up or go suddenly deaf and blind. But if I use the wrong code, my blog might. Code is ugly, strange, immensely powerful and demanding. Code is what kept regular people from coding websites before WordPress. It is not poetry.
    I am not a programmer and I want to see if it’s really possible to use content — and whatever else it takes — to monetize a site or two. So far I haven’t made dime one, but I hear it’s possible. I want to do that, and I want to do it with WordPress. I want to do it myself. I don’t want to lie, cheat or steal repackaged content. Unless that’s how it’s done. In which case, I can make money writing other things.

    Sorry. Not excited by the new writing interface, not excited by things fading away. What I see as a writer is secondary to what my site looks like, its functionality, and improving that with as little mystery or work as possible. I think of WordPress as a tool. Not fun, not flashy, not cool. Ask a blacksmith how much he wants you to mess with his anvil. Ummm, not at all, unless you are making it do something better, faster, or easier. When I hear “UI refresh” I think “eye surgery.”

    Doktor Thomas is right. Microsoft has added so many little programming projects – from the animated paperclip to a horrible, circular Help file that never gets better, to the “features” than justify an upgrade with bulk – that Word is a nearly useless maze of coolness and fonts no one would use except to advertise an amateur circus.

    I’ll be frank. When I click “install upgrade” I get cold. Quick story. I was forced to abandon Thunderbird, the Firefox mail program, following an “upgrade.” Thunderbird previously worked perfectly. Then it couldn’t find and open my existing files. Yes, I was TOO STUPID to fix it after hours of trying. So I went back to a Microsoft product. Sad and embarrassing.

    So when some bright-eyed engineer comes along and tells me he wants to borrow my perfectly balanced framing hammer to make it “nail better,” I’ll let the other carpenters hand over their prized tools for surgery.

    I want to be positive and encouraging. WordPress is a miracle. For me, a miracle. I am a writer who had a manufactured site that sat there for a year, costing me money. Now I am producing stuff and posting it, and learning how to get people to visit (with some success) and learning more every week. WordPress works and has stimulated me to produce. This is hackneyed and trite and obvious from the disclaimer: if WordPress ain’t broke, please don’t fix it. I know you won’t. WordPress programmers, for me, are the Prometheuses who stole fire from the website programming gods and gave it to ordinary man. That fire burns brightly on my little hearth and for that I am deeply grateful. Thank you for listening.

  5. Thanks for this. I’ve been trying to keep up with the upcoming UI changes on the devblog and trac, but clearly a couple things have escaped me. The only nit-pick of a feedback I can give you is that the video could probably have been cut down to less than 2 minutes if you had stuck to just the new features of the UI, excluding the bulk of the general experimenting.

  6. Not to belabor the point, but here’s an example of what I mean about WordPress documentation.

    Look at the article called “Using Permalinks” at

    The article contains a dire warning: “You never, ever put your site url in the permalinks slot. You must use one of the structure tags, or a combination of tags only.”
    Here is the problem: the phrase “structure tag” is not defined. I defy you to search the entire page using your browser’s “find” function set on “structure tag.” Go ahead, I can wait. You will find an entire section heading by that name, but “structure tag” is never, ever, defined.
    There is one clue and it is extensive:
    “Structure Tags
    You can use these tags to customize your “Pretty” or “Almost Pretty” permalinks. A few hints:

    * Make sure to end your structure with either %post_id% or %postname% (e.g. /%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/) so that each permalink points to an individual post.
    * For performance reasons, it is not a good idea to start your permalink structure with the category, tag, author, or postname fields. ”

    So, still curious about structure tags, we see the word “structure.” “End your structure.” Use structure tags “to end your structure.” What does this mean? Juggling the nearly empty phrases “pretty” or “almost pretty” appear to have distracted the author from explaining how to write a Permalink using structure tags. I want to know WHAT THE AUTHOR IS TALKING ABOUT. What is my “structure”? What is a “structure tag”? What might a complete and well formed example of “my structure” look like? You mentioned “fields”? Are those the same as structure tags or different?

    Mason’s Hod
    A breezy, conversational tone is soothing. But just talking about something very useful, like a mason’s hod, does not define terms. Just as partial examples of what I can use a structure tag for does not define the term. Tip: I can tell you to use a mason’s hod to help build a brick wall, never to use it to pick your teeth, and to make sure to use at least one and, if needed, more mason’s hods throughout the brick-wall-building process. But that does not define the term or provide an example of the proper usage of a mason’s hod.

    Above, I just wrote several sentences using the term “mason’s hod.” What is it? Do you know how to use a mason’s hod? Do you know its role in building a brick wall?

    I want to know about Permalinks, because they are apparently important, so important that WordPress allows their customization using “structure taqs.” But this kind of not remotely pretty (NRP) writing merely alludes to their proper usage.

    In a comment above, there was mention of the User Interface (UI) as “the public face” of WordPress. The Documentation also is the public face, and is the public’s golden key to unlock WordPress. WordPress is allowing web coding by the masses. The Codex manual needs to be written for the masses. Without proper Documentation, WordPress falls into the hands of an exclusive, enlightened group, talking to itself in its own language. Exciting for some perhaps? For the rest of us, it’s using WordPress without a mason’s hod.

    Read the documentation through the eyes of the neophyte. That is who it’s for.

  7. Cheers Ryan
    Loved the music that went with the video.
    I could have used a commentary, would have been useful.
    Looking forward to all new features.
    Don’t you just love wordpress…..

    Thanks for posting., I’m still loving the music. LOL

  8. Soooo… where’s the redesign? It looks and functions the same as before except for the distraction free writing, and if you need to use that your are a moron!


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  10. Not a huge fan of the new dashboard. The menu looks funny with the arrow and the inner shadow on the right edge. Also not a fan of the new titles for the meta-boxes on the add/edit pages of the dashboard.

  11. I was hoping to read a handful of constructive views on this redesign but all I found was pretentious
    comments from designers with too many negative views and not enough credible opinions.

    The redesign is what it is unfortunately. It’s a refinement and not an outcome of problem solving. But that’s ok. You can refine without squeezing every inch out of UI.

    I’d suggest challeling your efforts into your own design, maybe you’d have a more impressive portfolio.

  12. Thanks for taking the time to produce this video, Ryan. You beat me to it!

    I’ve gotta admit, I’m not thrilled about spending another two weeks re-recording every video in my entire WP101 series just for a few minor UI changes. I would prefer to see UI overhauls reserved for the major upgrades (ie, 4.0), rather than with minor .x releases. But overall, I do like the changes.

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  14. I’m sure that everybody that is complaining put no effort forth whatsoever to contribute towards the WordPress OPEN SOURCE project to help out. It’s funny how they just like to create useless banter and comments while they are more than welcome, in fact encouraged, to add to and make WordPress what it is.

    Also I’d like to point out that this is a BETA version which means the entire UI could change (unlikely) before the actual stable version is released. There are still many changes that can be made if people were only willing to actually contribute instead of complain.

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