Back on April 19th, we shared the news with our readers that the WordPress.com Dashboard would be receiving a major overhaul in the future. On Monday, June 17th, the plan became a reality as Automattician Matt Thomas announced that the change is now in place and can be enjoyed by WordPress.com users immediately. In only four hours following his original post, there have been more than 100 comments posted on his blog entry titled Beautiful Makeover.
Thomas happily wrote Monday, “Each day, you blog, you create, and you make things with your WordPress.com site. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the code that runs WordPress.com gets updated dozens of times a day, as we deploy improvements. While you can’t see the vast majority of those changes, there is one improvement we can’t wait for you to see: a brand-new, redesigned WordPress.com dashboard featuring better contrast and the oh-so-lovely Open Sans typeface.”
Google Fonts: Open Sans
From the early days of word processing evolution in which authors could choose their typography rather than being forced use a single type, fonts have been a matter of taste. Open Sans was created by Steve Matteson or Ascender Corp. with the newest version (2.0) containing the complete 897 character set including Latin CE, Greek, ISO Latin and Cyrillic. Created with upright stress, the font is both legible and works well with mobile, print and web interfaces.
If you’re a WordPress.com user who is using a large desktop monitor to perform work from, then chances are you’ll quickly notice the new font and appreciate the way it reads.
New Dashboard Guidelines
As we reported in April, there were several guidelines that the development staff considered upon undertaking the task of revamping the WordPress.com Dashboard. The first imperative objective was to ensure that the new design would be simple and free of clutter in order to allow users to focus the vast majority of their time on actual content. Secondly, a webfont that reads well on all browsers was considered a must, as was designing a responsive design that would work well with all of today’s popular smart phones and tablet computers. Finally, the final product needed to be innovative while not straying far from the time-tested Dashboard concepts that users have come to enjoy over the years.
From what we can tell, all of these guidelines have been met with the new release, although there have been several comments in the past few hours regarding the new “grey on black” color scheme that may not be optimal for lower resolution monitors or those who are working from older devices that don’t contrast well.
Grey On Black Menu Bar
One of the main areas of contention with the new design is the grey on black menu bar, which looks great when used from a high resolution device or smart phone, but may not be optimal for older computer screens that don’t have as many display options. Ideally, the scheme works best with sharp contrast and a bright screen. However, there have been several comments today that were from WordPress.com users who are not in favor of the redesign. “Please, please change it back. Cannot read mid grey on a black background,” replied one user. Thomas immediately chimed in and requested a screenshot and stated that adjustments could be made if those experiencing problems are willing to send in images that show exactly what is being viewed from their Dashboard. Unfortunately for some users who are not in favor of the redesign, there is currently no opt-out option.
Overall, feedback has been about 75 percent positive. User Jas Baku replied, “Thank you WP people for making the admin stuff (eg widgets) easier to read by adding some contrast to the text. A good move.”
What are your thoughts on the new design? Feel free to leave a comment below to let us know how your experience with the new WordPress.com Dashboard is panning out.
* Images in this article are property of WordPress.com.