One of the first things a WordPress user quickly becomes accustomed to once he/she begins to work with the open source software is the Dashboard. The WordPress command center is well known for its simple yet effective layout that places main menu links on the left-hand side while reserving the middle portion for content editing and creation. On the right side are custom menus for page templates, post types and more. The Dashboard layout has been a staple of the community for the better part of five years. However, plans are now in place to give the long-standing panel a facelift for the better. In this article, we will give our readers a “sneak peek” at the upcoming WordPress Dashboard upgrade which was announced Friday by WordPress.com.
Automattic’s Matt Thomas wrote Friday, “Though nothing stays still for long with WordPress, the design of your blog’s dashboard hasn’t changed much lately. While we’ve added new features and made some adjustments along the way, the dashboard has been looking forward to a refresh for some time. With that in mind, seven weeks ago, a scrappy gang of web designers and developers teamed up to explore how to do just that. We asked ourselves the question: ‘What should a modern version of WordPress look like?'”
Future Dashboard Design
For one, developers concurred on the fact that the Dashboard should boast a simple, uncluttered design that is not bogged down by excessive decoration or peripherals. This is the best way to allow webmasters to focus on their own content while not confusing beginning website administrators. The second point of agreement was that webfonts should be highly attractive but also utilize legible typography that is consistent in all browsers; including Safari, Opera, Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.
A responsive design seems to be a no-brainer in today’s age where a significant amount of all Internet users are navigating via a mobile device such as the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, iPod Touch or tapping their way through content on an iPad, Samsung Galaxy or similar device. The way the small screen market has taken off in the past two years is amazing to witness, and WordPress.com along with premium theme companies have made a major commitment toward improving products for small screen users. Developers also agreed that the new Dashboard should be able to perform all of its necessary functions while still retaining its familiar, user-tested interface that so many WordPress users have grown so used to over the years. This means that the upgrade is highly unlikely to go through a major cosmetic change; which will be a relief to a large amount of those who use WordPress.
What Will Be Changed?
In his April 19th blog post, Thomas told readers, “We’ve drawn new icons, increased contrast and font size, and generally modernized the design from top to bottom. We’re still working on it, but you can preview it starting today! To step into the future, head over to Users → Personal Settings in your blog’s dashboard and check ‘Enable experimental admin design (MP6),’ then Save Changes.
We’d love to have you preview the new design and let us know what you think. You can use this feedback form to send us your ideas. Since it’s a work in progress, you may see some things that don’t look quite right or aren’t working just yet. You can instantly switch back and forth between the new and old dashboard design during this test period. We’ll switch on the new design for everyone later this year.”
What are your thoughts on the future look of the WordPress Dashboard? We’d love to publish your opinion.