Menus office hours recap (Jan 28)

We’re still in the process of determining the best direction for menus in 3.6 (mock ups and ideas welcome!).

My hope is that we can stay true to the WordPress Philosophy by optimizing the experience for the majority of users, and leaving edge cases for plugins to handle.

One issue at this stage is that I can only guess as to what the majority looks like. I’m going to attempt to gather some data from An online implementation of WordPress code that lets you immediately access a new WordPress environment to publish your content. is a private company owned by Automattic that hosts the largest multisite in the world. This is arguably the best place to start blogging if you have never touched WordPress before. as to how many users have one menu vs. more than one vs. none. This should give us some additional insight into the best way to approach menus.

For this weeks meeting my goal was to list out, and then (roughly) prioritize the biggest pain points associated with menus. Since I have little data at this point, this prioritization is based on the assumption that the vast majority of users have either no menus or one menu.

Here’s how I prioritized things, please weigh in if you disagree:

  • One of the biggest disconnects I’ve seen is the concept of “theme locations”. Adding a menu, and then assigning it to a theme location seems broken.
  • Trying to have menu management + editing + theme location assignment all on the same page is overwhelming.
  • Tabs don’t work for users with lots of menus to manage, and they confuse some users (who think they represent menu items within a single menu). Side note: when we tested menu management via a drop down (instead of tabs), users didn’t notice the drop down, and wondered where the menus they had already created were. A “manage menus” tab appears to work for users, but it seems heavy for users with just a single menu.
  • Switching themes poses a problem for menus in that there is no concept of a base menu. Every theme determines their own default menu, and even though two menus may have a single primary menu, you still have to re-assign your menu to that theme location whenever you switch a theme.
  • Users have a hard time visualizing how the menu changes they are making actually impact their blogblog (versus network, site)/site.
  • Having to scroll to see all of the menu item metaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. boxes in the left column can be annoying, and it can make discoverability for items below the fold harder.
  • If you have a long menu (with lot’s of menu items), you may be scrolling unreasonably down from the left to the right column.
  • The fact that you can add menus to a custom menu widgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. is not exposed anywhere.

Did I miss anything?

#3-6, #menus