39 Responses

  1. krembo99
    krembo99 Published |

    Great … finally I see someone who address the issue of those annoying “admin panels” and ” admin frameworks” for themes . The Settings API is really all what is needed !
    This voice should be more loud across the net .

  2. Tung
    Tung Published |

    Here to echo Justin’s first statement. The WordPress UI team has a very difficult and thankless job. On top of that, the open source nature of WordPress isn’t a good platform for people to collaborate, design wise. Even when geniuses collaborate, the result is often less polished than the best of their individual efforts.

  3. Ozh
    Ozh Published |

    I read a lot of criticism concerning the admin area, but I honestly fail at understanding what’s difficult to use there… I’ve set up several blogs for non-techie average-smart people, and once I’ve explained them what to do and where to do it, they seem to be just autonomous. A couple of “here’s what’s difficult” example would help 🙂

    1. Odai
      Odai Published |

      If I were designing a “simpler layout” for beginners, one thing I would do is make QuickPress much more prominent, similar to how Tumblr is configured.

      The average user wants to write a post and approve comments primarily, so all other options should be relegated to a separate area to avoid distraction.

  4. John Saddington
    John Saddington Published |

    call it like you see it, eh?


    I have no problem with introducing new looks to the admin – I’m not sure it’s too bad and I agree with @ozh that a few educational videos or even “looking over their shoulder” technique can do wonders.

  5. Adam W. Warner
    Adam W. Warner Published |

    Interesting thoughts and an area that hasn’t seen much traction from designers, but an interesting vertical to get into.

    In my experience, one issue with changing the Admin area for clients is if that if it’s coupled with sending them to any kind of tutorial videos (like http://wp101.com), the confusion sets in fast.

    Whether to include any customizations has to be decided on a case by case basis of course.

    Case in point is that I use Ozh’s Admin Drop Down Menu plugin on several sites. That looks a lot different when a client decides to start watching WordPress tutorials on YouTube;)

  6. Randy
    Randy Published |

    “inline styles halfway down the admin pages need to be moved into an external stylesheet”

    Thank you for stating that! I have only branded the admin area a few times and I recall what a nightmare it was. I actually don’t mind the default WP admin theme, though, any time I need “members” access to profiles, etc. I have them manage it all on the front end rather than allowing back-end access. I got tired of fighting constant changes in the admin structure.

    To help my clients out I remove some things from the admin area to clean it up but the real help comes on the “front end” where I started adding more “edit” buttons to other things like widgets, slides in a slider, menus, copyright text, etc.

  7. Justin Tadlock calls for more admin themes : Post Status
  8. Chad
    Chad Published |

    oh this panel wordpress which I like from image looks great but it is true and I agree with what you always say wordpress panel is very disorganized and especially for people who are just getting to know wordpress.

    And thanks for the recommendation of the WordPress themes I have too intoaccount.


  9. Leho Kraav
    Leho Kraav Published |

    Not sure what you mean referring to admin + Gravity Forms combo as an option. GF, at least as of the 1.6-branch, cannot be used in admin screens. It is a front-end only tool. This is well documented in several gravityhelp forum threads.

    If you were thinking “build your more complicated admin stuff in frontend” well that doesn’t seem much of a solution to me, but it’s the path I’m being forced to take for a customer. Fortunately it’s a just single “admin” screen I need to implement on the frontend.

  10. Erlend Sogge Heggen
    Erlend Sogge Heggen Published |

    With regards to theme options, how do you feel about the “Options Framework” by Devin Price?

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  12. Chad
    Chad Published |

    Terribly sorry to go a little off subject — I did visit devpress to check this out. It seems the devpress blog has vaporized. Any word on what’s happening? There have been some substantial changed over at DevPress, since my last visit. Surely the blog shouldn’t be too much of a task to find(?)


    1. Tung
      Tung Published |

      I’m making drastic changes to DevPress. First is the blog, instead of small updates and theme release news, I’ll focus it on tutorials and editorials. Here’s the first article related to the DP Dashboard.

      1. Chad
        Chad Published |

        Thanks Tung,

        I’ll keep checking back as you make updates. With that being said, did you delete previous posts?

        Take care!

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  14. wp-admin ui - Shellcreeper.com
    wp-admin ui - Shellcreeper.com at |
  15. Victor Victor
    Victor Victor Published |

    I recolored and renamed the admin UI to make WordPress easier to use for students in a robotics team. Many first-timers have minimal trouble getting around as they can now tell the difference between a “Post” (News) and “Page” and the boxes stand out better (not sure how that makes a difference):


    I also added 6(!) admin themes: Bootstrap, Classic Grey, XXX Green, XXX Purple, Lite Green, Lite Purple. There are about 40+ editors working on the website and the freedom of design (or color here) is important:


    Of course, I think that WordPress still needs an overhaul for those who are new to the platform because I had to spend 3+ hours teaching everyone on how to use WordPress after letting the students play around with WordPress for an hour.

  16. Tim Osborn
    Tim Osborn Published |

    This is fantastic news.. I see it as the beginning of / potential for a standardised approach to the backend: WordPress is great in being so backwards compatible with themes, but the advice I’ve received regarding the backend is “Don’t mess – it will likely change radically next release”, “editing the dashboard is a maintenance ball and chain” (I just learnt the phrase technical debt).

    Happy Tables is a great example of what can be achieved with the backend.. I’d love the admin space to be as vibrant as the front end..

    Nice work Tung Do!

  17. Shannon Wood
    Shannon Wood Published |

    Ladies and gentlemen, Justin is right! I guess you can call me the hick from Alabama that uses it. Even though there are some things on Word Press I still don’t understand the admin is as easy as it comes.

  18. Matt Van Andel
    Matt Van Andel Published |

    DevPress is gorgeous!

    When handing over the keys to a site to a client, I usually do a “simplicity pass” on the admin – hiding low importance items and sometimes outright un-registering menu items, meta boxes, or dashboard widgets that aren’t relevant for the site or client.

    In most cases, this makes the admin much more simple and straightforward for the client (which they like) while dramatically reducing the likelihood of their accidentally breaking something (which we all like).

  19. Mustafa
    Mustafa Published |

    I’m huge fan of bootstrap and here is one of them well designed for wp. – https://github.com/aristath/bootstrap-admin

  20. Rudd
    Rudd Published |

    Ha ha. Thanks for this article. I just realized that I got the lifetime membership with Devpress that I bought long time ago. I already knew about this plugin when Tung Do released it (I think few months ago). So, time to download and install it 😀

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  22. Chris Hess
    Chris Hess Published |

    Funny enough just last week I had a client who didn’t want their site to look like WordPress at all. In looking for a solution (I knew there had to be one) I stumbled upon the idea of admin themes.

    I think the idea is great and will work perfectly for this particular client, however I do share the same concern of Adam Warner (above) that if they know it is WordPress and start watching videos it could definitely cause confusion.

    However, I do like the idea of the WPMUDEV’s “Easy Blogging” which enables the ability to turn on and off the simplified admin settings.

  23. WordPress Admin Themes - Does WordPress need a facelift? | WP for Biz
  24. WordPress Admin Themes - Does WordPress need a facelift? | WP for Biz
  25. Cathie
    Cathie Published |

    We use Wordpress themes all the time and I would love to see this or an increase of this (Wordpress admin themes). I cringe for your roommate if he ever read this blog post…I mean saying he’s not the brightest of guys.

  26. Jason Loftis
    Jason Loftis Published |

    Justin, have you tried the MP6 plugin? http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/mp6/

    Matt Mullenweg and several other important Core UI contributors are using the MP6 plugin to experiment with the WP-Admin UI. Their intent is to get more developers involved with testing their ideas as they try things, so they may arrive at a great long-term solution for opening up theming of the WP-Admin and add it to core.

    I’ve been using it in conjunction with a custom plugin I created. It allows me to easily do things like add icons for my custom post types using an icon font. And it is simple for me to override some styling choices they make that I don’t like (i.e. they removed the .icon32 class of icon from the heading on all screens).

  27. Nils Bossaller
    Nils Bossaller Published |

    My take on this is:

    the admin panel is not bad, but could be improved.

    The things that do not work as I would like to are these – the widgets area might benefit from having its own menu link. I think it is not so easy to understand at first why it resides under the “Design” link.

    I would also like to see a frontpage editor built into the Wordpress core. It should be possible nowadays to directly edit a page with an WYSIWYG editor live. This would be the best for editors. This would also take away some of the problems that arise with the admin menu. People that just need to post an article or edit a page, would not have to face the variety of options that might overwhelm them.

    There is a plugin for this, which actually works quite well, but I would like to see this functionality to edit “on the fly” built into the core of Wordpress to make edits even more easy and circumvent people having to switch between admin and frontend so many times.

    Other than that I think Wordpress is still doing a good job 🙂

  28. Nils Bossaller
    Nils Bossaller Published |

    I forgot to mention the name of the plugin: Front-end Editor – http://scribu.net/wordpress/front-end-editor

    Doesn’t work with multilingual sites though (at least not with qtranslate so far)… But I would like to see this functionality built into the Wordpress core.

  29. Justin Tadlock calls for more admin themes | Post Status

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