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  • Ryan Boren 10:56 pm on June 30, 2015 Permalink |
    Tags: 16434, 31845, 32706, 32808, , , , , image-editor, menus, , site-icons, today-in-the-nightly   

    Today in the Nightly: Site Icons, Text editor in Press This 

    Here are a few cool things that recently landed in trunk. They are available right now in the nightly build. Install the nightly, and try them out.

    Site Icons

    We’ve wanted site icons in core for a long time. #16434 was opened four years ago and will be resolved as fixed for 4.3.

     

    Our crop controls are not easy to use on my iPhone 6+. The images overflow the right side of the screen. Horizontally and vertically scrolling an image bigger than the screen while working a rubber band select that resets when the image is tapped is not pleasant.

    Provide feedback on #16434 or on this post.

    See these visual records for more screenshots and flow storyboards.

    Text editor in Press This

    Press This now has a Text editor for editing HTML, just like the standard editor in post-new.php.

    32706.1-wide

    Provide feedback on #32706, in #core-pressthis, or on this post.

     Padding for image settings

    The Image Crop and Thumbnail Settings boxes received a little bottom padding.

    And so that we are always aware of what our mobile experience looks like, here are those settings boxes on an iPhone 6+.

    When you see a sidebar obscuring content on a phone, you can be pretty sure you’re witnessing lingering desktop bias. These screens were designed for desktops where you have room to use  sidebars. You can’t make a screen responsive and call it ready for a phone. The image flow effort is working on this.

    Provide feedback on #31845 or on this post.

    Manage in the Customizer

    Appearance > Menus received a “Manage in the Customizer” button to match Appearance > Widgets.

    Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 3.16.57 PM

    Next, fix up mobile.

    image

    Provide feedback on #32808 or on this post.

     

    Previously: Today in the Nightly: Inline link toolbar and Press This split button

     
    • Emil Uzelac 11:05 pm on June 30, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Just awesome!

    • Ryan Boren 11:45 pm on June 30, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      To create these posts, I work my way through the latest commits looking for changes to visuals. From the changesets, I visit the tickets. If the tickets don’t have before and after screenshots for both a desktop and a phone, I test the changes on a desktop and a phone and take screenshots. I upload those screenshots to the ticket. I comment on the ticket with any bugs I find in the process. I often find something, especially on phones. If I don’t have time to test and screenshot, I tag the ticket with needs-screenshots so I can get back to it later.

      Now that I have tickets with screenshots. I collect those screenshots and publish them as “Today in the Nightly” using the tool we’re all making together, WordPress. I often find bugs that way, too. Triage, recursive dogfooding, visual archiving, visual awareness, and a useful post to show for it. Recruiting drive: This is a great way to contribute. Help us with flow patrol, as we call it. :-)

    • Andre 4:27 am on July 2, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I am just now playing with the beta 4.3, but regarding the site icon…I’m sure many will be extremely happy about that feature being part of the core. The only thing that should be given consideration is the labeling of it. I think it might confuse many end-users who may wonder what is a site icon when most are familiar with the term “favicon”, which as I understand, is the correct name for it. Just something to think about.

  • designsimply 10:47 pm on June 27, 2015 Permalink |
    Tags: call for testing, , menus, needs testing   

    Call for Testing: Customizer Menus 

    First, thank you so much if you help out by taking the time to test new features!

    Customize > Menus will be one of the new features in WordPress 4.3. It is being added in addition to the Appearance > Menus page and the Appearance > Menus page will not be changed as part of the new feature.

    How to Setup for Testing

    1. Always backup first or test on a site that was made for testing (see warnings below).
    2. Go to Plugins > Add New and search for “WordPress Beta Tester”
    3. Click the “Install Now” button for the WordPress Beta Tester plugin
    4. Go to Tools > Beta Testing
    5. Select the “Bleeding edge nightlies” option
    6. Click the “Save Changes” button
    7. Go to Dashboard > Updates
    8. Click the “Update Now” button

    You should see the a message similar to this in the footer in wp-admin pages:
    “You are using a development version (4.3-alpha-123456).”

    Warning!

    How to Test Customizer Menus

    Test creating menus including adding, removing, and editing menus. You may just poke around and test on your own to see if you can find any bugs, or you can use the following checklist as a guide:

    Before you begin:

    Sample testing checklist (time estimate: ~20 minutes for new users):

    1. Make sure you have installed the latest nightly WordPress release (see setup steps above).
    2. Go to Appearance > Customize and then click on Menus.
    3. Add a new menu named “Main Menu.”
    4. Add all of the pages already saved on the site to the menu.
    5. Save the changes you’ve made so far, exit the Customizer, then navigate back to the menu you just created in the previous step.
    6. Set the “Main Menu” as the primary menu so it shows in the live preview.
    7. Reverse the order of the menu items.
    8. Add the “Travel” category to the menu.
    9. Move “Travel” so it is a child of the first item in the list.
    10. Add a link to Twitter and make it a submenu item next to Travel.
    11. Move Travel and Twitter from the first item so they are submenu items under the About page. Save changes.
    12. Create a new menu for social media with at least one social media link in it and find a way to make it show up in the live preview on the right.
    13. There is a way to use advanced menu settings to enable descriptions for menu items. Try to find it and add a description for the “About” page.

    Other testing ideas:

    1. Test using a very large menu with a lot of items. (Also see #32769.)
    2. Test using a menu that is 10 levels deep.
    3. Test with various themes and other types of menus.
    4. Comment on this post with any other testing ideas!

    If you want to dig in deeper and get involved with usability testing with others, that would be so cool! Please comment on this post or in the #core-customize Slack channel if you’re interested in doing more.

    What to Look For

    Look for blockers! A blocker is a very bad bug that blocks people from using the feature. At this stage, the biggest problems are the top priority and you should look for those first and foremost. Be aware of the known issues (see below).

    If you do find a bug, report it in Trac or ask about it in the #core-customize Slack channel.

    Known Issues

    Here are a few key issues still being worked on:

    /cc @jimmysmutek @lisaleague @kevinwhoffman @dinamiko
    (because you expressed interest in helping with testing somewhere along the way) :)

     
    • Matthew 5:42 pm on June 28, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Awesome! I will try to do some testing today.

      • designsimply 12:46 am on June 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks! Whenever you get to it would be awesome. Please say hello in #core-customize on Slack if you have any questions.

        • Saravanan 3:19 pm on June 29, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          @designsimply.
          I tested the menu customiser on safari today using the alpha (4.3-alpha-32991). Every thing worked as expected. I am not sure this is a bug, but just though it worth mentioning. In the twenty thirteen theme, while customising and after setting the menu, the sub levels seem to be not wrapping into the window, it just keeps extending the window with a horizontal scroll. This happened only with the twenty thirteen theme, so I am guessing it is normal. Here is a screenshot.
          https://cloudup.com/cYiwyR3QZwZ

          • designsimply 9:09 pm on June 30, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Thanks for testing! Very cool.

            Thanks for Twenty Thirteen note and screenshot. Screenshots rock!

            In your screenshot, it looks like you are using some testing data with submenus that are actually 10 levels deep. Submenu items that are siblings (so, all on the same level) should appear stacked vertically in the dropdown in Twenty Thirteen, but if they are not on the same level they will display horizontally and that’s what’s happening here. Basically, Customize > Menus supports menus 10 levels deep, but the theme itself doesn’t support that many menu levels (which is typical since most people don’t create menus with that many levels).


            Seen at http://whatisinfinity.com/wp-admin/customize.php?return=%2Fwp-admin%2F with WP 4.3-alpha-33000 on Firefox 38.0.5 on Mac OSX 10.10.3.

    • Saravanan 2:50 am on July 1, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for the explanation. The test data is from wptest.io on VVV and the submenu’s are ten levels deep. I am not sure what more screenshots I can help out with. If there is any thing I can help out with, please let me know.

  • Nick Halsey 12:00 am on June 3, 2015 Permalink |
    Tags: , , menus   

    Feature Plugin Merge Proposal: Menu Customizer 

    The Customizer team is proposing to merge the Menu Customizer plugin into core for WordPress 4.3. In this post, I’ll outline the purpose and history of this project, as well as highlighting the improvements that we have made.

    Purpose & Goals

    The purpose of the Menu Customizer project is to move navigation menu management from the WordPress admin to the Customizer. In the process, we hope to offer an updated design with improved user flow, a mobile-first interface, improved accessibility, rebuild the administration UI from the ground up to be JavaScript-driven, solve long-standing problems with the current implementation (#14134), and clarify the purposes and capabilities of the menus feature. Additionally, Menu Customizer contributes significantly to the long-term goal to move all appearance functionality and, really, everything that could benefit from live previewing, from the admin to the Customizer.

    Background

    Menu Customizer started out as my Google Summer of Code 2014 Project. The initial proposal and revised schedule highlight the initial goals and provide good perspective for where we’ve come in the past year. See also the periodic posts here on make/core for updates. Development has happened on GitHub since the project opened to the community.

    Core API Improvements

    As I began developing this feature in plugin form, it became clear that the core Customizer API would need a lot of improvements to support something as complex as menus. Countless tickets have worked towards this goal over the past year, from the addition of the concept of Panels ( #27406) to JS/Underscore-templated controls ( #29572), and now, full support for dynamically-added sections and controls ( #30737, #30738, and #30741).

    Developers are still realizing the full potential of the Customizer API, and Menu Customizer pushes the boundaries of what can be done here pretty far. One of the goals with our approach is to bring as much functionality that should be natively available in the API into core as possible. With the improvements made here already, as well as the future potential to continue abstracting functionality like the add-menu-items fly-out panel or the ability to add screen options in Customizer Panels, Menu Customizer broadens the potential for developers to extend the Customizer to do anything, in core, plugins, and themes.

    Contributors

    In the initial GSoC project, I (@celloexpressions) developed the plugin from scratch, using Widgets in the Customizer as the design basis, with @ethitter and @obenland serving as my mentors. When the project was opened to the community for contributions, several designers and developers stepped up to help. Code contributors to date include @westonruter, @valendesigns, @voldemortensen, @adamsilverstein, and @kucrut. @designsimply and @folletto have also put in a tremendous amount of time helping with design and usability.

    Plugin Overview

    I highly recommend trying the plugin, which currently requires the latest version of 4.3 alpha. @designsimply has prepared a video demo:

    I’ve posted a comparison of the mobile menus flow in the admin and the Customizer on make/flow, and @designsimply has also posted flows there (more flows with more recent versions of the plugin on trunk are still needed). Usability testing has been conducted on usertesting.com, with results posted on make/design. As further refinements are made, additional testing and feedback can be incorporated to make the new experience as polished as possible.

    A couple of technical details: each menu is a Customizer section, and new menus can be added (dynamically adding new Customizer sections and controls in the process). Menu items are Customizer controls. To maximize scalability, menu items are all rendered using a single JS template, only when their containing menu section is expanded. The add-menu-item panel loads available menu items on an as-needed basis via ajax. The plugin uses several custom Customizer objects including a custom panel that implements screen options, two custom sections (menus, for lazy-loading of menu items, and new menus, which is rendered as a button toggle), and several custom controls. But everything is built off of the core Customizer API.

    A summary of some key improvements that the plugin includes:

    • Modernized, simplified, and more compact UI
    • Mobile-first design that leverages the Customizer
    • Scalable, JavaScript-driven and avoids performance issues ( #14134)
    • All menus easily accessible in one place, without page reloads
    • Live previews of active menus as they are edited
    • Menu locations that can be set from the main panel or while editing
    • Global search that includes all post types and terms in all taxonomies
    • Quick-delete for deleting several items sequentially
    • “Original” item links open directly into the live preview
    • The Customizer API can be used to hook into the experience in countless ways with plugins. Support for additional menu item fields can be added much more easily now in a future release, potentially leveraging the Fields API

    Core Tickets Fixed

    Menu Customizer fixes numerous tickets on core trac. This is not an exhaustive list, but covers many bigger ones:

    • #14134: Menus item are limited to 16 item and will not save more than that
    • #28138: Updating menu item requires passing all of a menu item’s data to wp_update_nav_menu_item() (The plugin steps around this, we can actually fix it in core on merge)
    • #32218: Remove title attribute option in Menu Editor (off by default)
    • #19272: Add Filter to Nav Menu Support Themes Text (can modify via Customizer API)
    • #21603: Add ability to delete multiple menu items
    • #16828: Add filter on initial_meta_boxes for nav menu Probably fixed, all are shown currently, which could use improvement but it will default to more being shown at least
    • #19464: Auto add do_action for menu in admin (can use Customizer API)
    • #31391: Make the list of registered nav menus (locations) filterable (can use Customizer API)
    • #32440: on Menu page, turn posts by default on “view options”
    • #18517: Visual Feedback for Nav Menu UI

    The Plan for the Menus Component

    This project has a very explicit goal of not just adding menu management to the Customizer, but also removing the existing admin page in the process. The menu management screen has significant, fundamental problems in its implementation and will never scale (see #14134) without a significant refactoring along the lines of what we’ve done with the Customizer. Additionally, the new UI in the Customizer is considerably more polished than the admin screen and already includes numerous features and bugfixes proposed for core (see above). Ultimately, the new UI provides a much better experience for all users, including desktop, mobile, accessibility, etc.

    The plan for the “removal” of the old menus admin screen is as follows:

    • Immediately and officially “deprecate” it: wind down any ongoing development efforts and focus all new administration-focused Menus component work on the new UI in the Customizer. Update trac tickets accordingly, and add a “Manage in Customize” link to the existing screen. Any existing tickets proposing enhancements or new features for menu administration would be required to be adapted to the Customizer version, with the (discouraged) option of also making changes to the old screen.
    • Point the “Menus” link in the admin bar to Menus in the Customizer in 4.3. Remove that menu from the admin bar in 4.4 in favor of a top-level Customize link, and put something more useful in its place (as all of its core links will point to the Customizer now).
    • Retain the admin screen codebase, along with existing links to it throughout the admin.
    • In WordPress 4.5 or 4.6, remove all core links (including admin menu) to the Menus admin screen, or point them to the Customizer. This would likely coincide with a similar change for Widgets and Themes to use the Customizer versions exclusively, once full feature-parity is achieved with the Customizer versions of the other features (Menus has it now). At this point the admin screen would be accessible only by plugin-added links or for users who cannot access the Customizer (no-js, IE7, IE8&9 with domain mapping, a very small percentage of users overall).
    • The admin screen and related code would likely not be removed entirely from core in the foreseeable future, and critical bugs or security issues would still be addressed. New feature development and enhancements would be restricted to the Customizer version.

    The above plan is fairly aggressive, to eliminate any ambiguity about future plans and intentions and to avoid the potential for mass trac ticket rot. The fact that the Menus component has no maintainers and has not received significant attention since the 3.6 release indicates that there is a general lack of developer interest in dealing with the mess that the current system is. I am willing to step up as a component maintainer for Menus if the above plan is implemented.

    Ongoing Work

    We have a few issues left that work working on. Notably, @westonruter has proposed refactoring the way menu item settings are handled, along with menu creation and deleted, and has begun work there, but wouldn’t finish until after a core merge due to time constraints and integration with core code. @adamsilverstein is working on improving drag & drop to work with sub menus. There are also several minor issues remaining on GitHub, which would either be handled in the next couplle days or after merge (many issues have been punted to after a potential merge already).

     
    • Weston Ruter 12:20 am on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      refactoring the way menu item settings are handled, along with menu creation and deleted, and has begun work there

      Note that this is not a refactor for the sake of making it more elegant. It’s a re-architecture for how the data is represented in the Customizer and eliminating Ajax requests that persist data in WordPress out-of-band with the Customizer session (the settings). The re-architecture is required to ensure that this help text remains true: “Customizer allows you to preview changes to your site before publishing them.” We need to ensure that there are no database changes made at all until the user hits Save & Publish. For more information, see issue 67. It is considered by myself and @ocean90 to be a blocker for shipping the feature in the 4.3 release.

      • Nick Halsey 5:14 am on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Specifically, there are five interactions that result in immediate modifications to the database:

        • Screen option toggles
        • Add new menu item
        • Edit existing menu item, other than changing order
        • Add new menu
        • Delete menu

        For adding and editing menu items, the database changes are essentially just adding draft posts (which is exactly what they are), and these are only saved there temporarily if they don’t get published. Screen options we obviously wouldn’t change as it uses the system used throughout the admin. Menu-addition I would expect to change the db immediately because actually having menus is more of an administrative thing that doesn’t get published in any way until the menu is added to a widget or theme location (which are previewed). Menu-deletion is the one that should be changed if possible, although the delete menu option is only available for menus that aren’t in use published or in the preview, both for UI simplicity and to minimize accidental clicks (there’s also an are-you-sure dialogue), so that does minimize issues there.

        Other than menu-deletion, nothing is published but draft objects are added to the db with the current setup. In terms of user-facing changes, the only tangible impact this would have is that menu deletion wouldn't be permanent, and a couple of bugs with previewing would be fixed (although they could also be fixed in other ways). There's a distinction between published to the publicly visible site vs. published to the database, albeit with a draft status like a draft or autosaved post. The refactoring would also likely improve performance, as there are certain likely unexpected bottlenecks right now that can cause large quantities of these draft items to be generated (especially with submenus).

        Hopefully this clarifies exactly what's going on here, and how a developer might think of this change versus the impact to a user. Blocker for release, but not a change that will have major implications on the user-facing side of things, allowing us to continue testing and iterating on that as needed in the meantime.

    • Spacedmonkey 8:32 am on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      One thing that is was not mentioned was plugins that have built on top of the menu panel ui? One off the top of my head that I use is this – https://wordpress.org/plugins/advanced-custom-fields-nav-menu-field/ . Will all of these plugins break after the upgrade? Is there a plan in place to educate both theme/plugin developers and users of this massive change?

      Also, can’t believe that work was done on the menus and this ticket wasn’t touched – https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/16075 . Not being able to easily put CPT archives into the menu is mine and all the people that user my sites biggest pet peeve. I know work around it with custom links, but if you change the slug of the CPTA when that isn’t reflected in all the menus you have the custom link in.

      • Tom 11:52 am on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I am one of those menu plugin authors, yes it would break the plugin. On the up side, it shouldn’t be too much work to get it working again.

        Regardless of that, [i]my[/i] thoughts on this can be condensed into a single sentence:

        Content Management does not belong in the Theme Customizer.

        • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 3:37 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Tom, what is it about the change that broke? If it’s something easily grep-able, we can get a list of plugins in the repo that might be affected really fast.

          • Tom 5:14 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            My plugin enqueues assets on the nav-menus.php page. It also uses jQuery to add a button to each menu item (which in turn loads a lightbox containing more settings for the menu item). Removing the current nav-menus.php admin page would break that functionality.

            That’s not a concern though, I can change that.

            My concern is I believe this will have a negative impact on the usability of WordPress as a whole. I don’t believe the theme customizer was ever intended to be used for anything more than customizing a theme, it doesn’t seem intuitive to expect users to manage content in there too.

            • Weston Ruter 5:41 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink

              The Theme Customizer is just a framework for live-previewing any change to WordPress. Initially the customizable settings were just appearance-related things like colors and images, but it never had to be limited to that scope. Starting with 3.9 widgets were added to the Customizer. Before 3.9, it was not possible to see what impact a widget change would have on a site without making it live for all users. The same goes here for menus in 4.3: it allows changes to be previewed before impacting any user.

            • Tom 6:13 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink

              Weston, a similar argument would be that writing content is essentially customizing a post, and therefore is suited to be done inside the Customizer. You could preview your changes on the fly, but I’m sure most people would agree that the Customizer is not the right place to be editing or managing posts.

              Widgets are a grey area, they look like content on the front end, but they “go” when you switch theme.

              Menus, pages, posts etc are content items that form the “backbone” of a WordPress site. Menu management is content management, not customisation.

            • Weston Ruter 7:04 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink

              Yes, post editing can be done in the Customizer as well. The Customizer provides a framework for implementing front-end editing, which has been talked about for awhile now. Note that the Customizer doesn’t mandate changes be done in the left-hand pane. They can be done inline as well. So for those who want inline editing, with full preview-ability of post changes on the frontend, then they would certainly think the Customizer is the natural place to do this.

              Widgets should be considered content, and should be stored in posts as well (see #32474). The widgets don’t go when you switch themes. You may have to re-assign them to the new theme’s sidebars, just as you have to re-assign menus to their new locations after switching themes.

          • Tom 5:30 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Here is what you could grep for in my case:

            https://plugins.trac.wordpress.org/browser/megamenu/trunk/classes/nav-menus.class.php#L110

            “nav-menus.php”

          • Merv Barrett 12:28 am on June 11, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I second this. Content management does not belong in the customizer.

            Every time the customiser appears I want to find a way out of it. It’s horrible for theme selection when developing sites for clients.

            The customiser is terrible for widget management too.

            It’s probably great for single users working on their own site.

            But where you are building sites daily and have 30 layouts each supporting unique widgets, the customiser is a pretty shiny object that gets in the way of productivity.

            Terrible idea to disable Appearance > Menus

            Sorry for being harsh but if it works don’t fix it

        • Julie @Niackery 11:01 am on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Agreed! “Content Management does not belong in the Theme Customizer”! How does menu content benefit from front-end editing? Not at all! Only menu design does, and it should be left at that…

          • Samuel Sidler 3:48 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            There are a couple aspects of menu management that benefit from visual management:

            • menu placement, so you know exactly where your menu is going; naming isn’t always very helpful for this
            • menu item length can cause your site to “look weird” if a menu item is too long for the menu (for example)
      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 1:53 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Plugin developers are emailed before release to remind them about testing, and in general once a feature product hits beta (and is no longer a plugin but included in core) most developers SHOULD be already testing… Can’t make em. We do try to alert and scan the repo for anyone who might be impacted.

        Any chance you want to test the feature plugin with the one you use right now and give a heads up? Then we know for sure and can start scanning and poking around :)

      • Nick Halsey 3:04 am on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Because the new interface is completely different from the bottom up, plugins will need to be adapted to extend the UI. The Customizer API will actually allow for significantly more flexibility with several components, essentially adding hooks throughout the interface and letting devs tweak things at a more specific level from plugins. One of the reasons that we’re proposing to wait a few releases to remove the old screen is so that plugins would have ample time to transition.

        The one thing that the new system does not yet support is adding new fields to individual menu items. Currently, this is only possible in the admin screen for one plugin to do at a time, but it can be done so a few plugins do it. We’re still working out how best to facilitate plugins adding options here; it could be a simple (for us, but would make it much harder for plugins) as an action in the menu item template, or as involved (for us, but would be much easier for plugins) as a API for custom menu item fields, potentially leveraging the Fields API.

        Once the available hooks and APIs for customizing the Menu Customizer experience are complete, we’ll do a post here with details on what old hooks won’t work in the new interface, and what new ones are available. Note that the plugin doesn’t touch the deeper internals of menu management or the presentational layer, only the administrative layer.

    • Andrew Norcross 6:54 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The decision to deprecate / remove the existing menu is a horrible one IMO. While I don’t like the idea of putting menus in the customizer to begin with, removing the existing one poses a lot of problems for existing education / training done with users. I have trained at least 100 clients on how to build and manage their menus, both in person and with online / printed manuals. Removing this creates a new set of required training for both the menu area and the customizer as a whole, not to mention opening up the idea of “can I now customize X part” on sites that were built to specific scope and needs.

      I hope the core team reconsiders this.

      • Weston Ruter 6:58 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Removing the existing Menus admin page wouldn’t happen for quite a while, I imagine. Widgets were added to the Customizer in 3.9, but the Widgets admin page remains and isn’t planned to be removed anytime soon.

        • Travis Northcutt 7:00 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          The proposal above lays out a pretty clear plan, including “In WordPress 4.5 or 4.6, remove all core links (including admin menu) to the Menus admin screen, or point them to the Customizer.”

      • designsimply 7:04 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Aside from documentation needing to be updated, I think a better UX for menus combined with live previews will be a benefit for your clients as well as all WP users. Did you try out the plugin? Since you have experience teaching people how to setup menus, do you think they will find the newer flow easier to work with?

        • Andrew Norcross 7:09 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I have tested the plugin, yes. And I’ll keep my opinions on the customizer to myself for a moment, but I in terms of menus I do not think it’s easier or better UX. It’s a constrained space to work with and the live previews aren’t a value-add for something as straight forward as a menu.

          • designsimply 7:15 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I see. In user testing, I have found that the current menus admin page is itself not intuitive and not straight-forward for everyone, which might be one reason why you needed a lot of documentation for it before.

            Thanks for your input.

            • Andrew Norcross 7:20 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink

              Most users need training because they do not use systems like WP on a daily basis like we do. Once they understand, they find it easy to use. For a few clients who do have the customizer in place, they’ve found it difficult to understand and muddled.

            • designsimply 7:25 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink

              I’m game for helping test those kinds of interactions. If you spot specific flows that are troublesome, let me know in Slack and they might be things we can make sure to cover in user testing.

            • Andrew Norcross 7:39 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink

              the important thing here is the removal of the existing menus. I understand it may not “scale” but for the vast majority of users, scaling is not an issue whatsoever.

      • Robert Dall 8:15 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I completely agree with you Andrew.

        Personally I don’t like removing the menu completely from the admin. Sure if you want to use the customizer that fine. But I should be forced to if I don’t want to.

        And to echo Chris Lema’s statement as well.

      • adamsoucie 12:22 am on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I want to second Norcross here in regards to training. Outside of how to write a basic post, the menu system is the area my clients find easiest to understand. Often times they are more comfortable making changes to menus by themselves than they are actual posts because the interface is pretty easy to understand.

        This feels way too much like a solution for a problem that doesn’t really exist for most people, at least as far as my limited experience is concerned.

      • ahortin 2:33 am on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I totally agree with everything Andrew said. I’m not a fan of the Customizer, full stop. I think it’s a horrible user experience and the more options that are added to it, the worse it gets. I don’t like the idea of the menus getting added to Customizer and I would really, really hate to see the existing interface removed. Having a live preview for menus is of absolutely no benefit.

        There needs to be more input from the community when big decisions like this are made. As well as using it on our own sites, we deal with clients every day so we know what they do/don’t like. This new customizer implementation of the menu system is not going to make it easier for end users, and isn’t that one of the things that WordPress prides itself on, being user friendly? This is taking a step backwards.

    • Chris Lema 7:03 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Sticking what has been done in a large screen into a small space feels like the things young people do because they a) learn quickly, b) are tech savvy, and c) have great eye sight.

      But in enterprises that use WordPress, people are often older, learn slower, and are less tech savvy. So I would strongly recommend not squeezing the menu into the customizer. I would also suggest that if this plan goes forward, they leave the main menu in place for years, not versions.

      • intriguingnw 7:03 pm on June 6, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        In respect of Customizer and Menus, seems like UI decisions do not reflect what users want or do. It’s not just Mr Lema and Mr Hancock folks. See discussions in Advanced WodPress group o Facebook. Most people don’t believe its not a good idea. Chris is right, its not change that people are against, its ‘change for changes’ sake. Please leave support in where it is for menus as its just creating a pain point for no real end-use benefit. I realise you all know much more than most of us about the coding but those of us who use WP and have to get end users, clients, corporates and busy teams sticking with WP want changes where it solves a problem or pain point. This feels like its just creating one.

        I was really tentative about making any commen here because I realise you are all leads on the technical but heck if users start leaving in droves for Squarespace and we make changes that don’t really add value, what is the point?

        What users want is a front end that is more like lasso.(Nick Haskins) so we can compete in the drag and drop world, where most folks want to be. This change just substitutes one place for another. So I may wear glasses, be a bit older but I want positive change as much as young people do but I would like it to make a difference in the market and this already feels like it is not going to do that.

        Realise my voice probably will not make a difference because it looks like its already been decided but somehow before revisions and changes get prioritised can we get some wider participation from users not just expert coders. With all respect.

    • Jon Brown 7:03 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This seems like a really pretty laid out proposal but that doesn’t mean I’m in favor of it.

      First, I share Tom’s concern about existing plugins. There is no talk about hook compatibility between the existing menus and the customizer. There needs to be a plan before this even starts for what happens with plugins when the current menu admin goes away.

      Second, I share Andrews concerns. I still don’t love the customizer, especially it’s attempt to move beyond “theme customization”. I really think content control should have been handled differently. I want to drag/drop/edit widgets directly ON THE PAGE, not in the sidebar. It’s the same issue with this. If I going to do this on the front end, I want to edit the menu directly IN the menu, not in a side tool bar.

      • Weston Ruter 7:08 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        As I commented above, the Customizer doesn’t require all interactions to be done in the left-hand pane. Inline editing is also possible but it just hasn’t been widely implemented yet. So yes, drag-and-drop of widgets directly in the page preview is possible, as is doing the same for menus. It is more difficult to implement a cross-theme compatible way of doing such inline editing, however, so this is a reason why editing remains in the Customizer pane.

        • Jon Brown 7:19 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          For me it feels like the customizer already has WAY too much going on in there… it’s not intuitive and getting even harder to navigate. User testing here is way more meaningful than my cranky opinions though.

          I think the customizer _should_ require all interactions occur in the pane. That’s easier to understand, as the hybrid some in/some out approach is confusing. Rather than put more in there other UX for editing content (menus/widgets/etc) outside the customizer should be developed.

          +1 on NOT removing the admin nav-menus.php in a few versions… should be in a few years. Still having problems with plugins that were built for the old media library layout, and problems with the new widget customizer dying/freezing on sites with heavy widgets.

          • designsimply 7:24 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Some themes add a lot of extra panels to it too! I think things will keep getting added there though. Ideas to help:

            • Spotlight style help search (I would looove something like that for all WP Admin)
            • Toggle for before-and-after so I can see what I’ve changed via the Customizer before saving

            These are outside the scope of the menus feature itself, but I see your point about findability becoming more of an issue as more things get added to the Customizer.

            • Jon Brown 7:27 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink

              I think about it this way…

              Why build a GUI into the customizer (ie. the drag and drop arrangement of menu items) when there is a perfectly good GUI in the preview window? Why can’t I just drag and drop ON the page?

              Same goes for widgets…

              The customizer makes some sense when the panel has settings like color, font size, etc… it doesn’t for arranging content.

              As Tom said, it’s content vs design.

          • Weston Ruter 7:27 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            problems with the new widget customizer dying/freezing on sites with heavy widgets

            Yes, this is a known problem. See #32103. I have a fix in the Customize Widgets Plus plugin’s “Efficient Multidimensional Setting Sanitizing” module.

      • Jon Brown 7:11 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        sorry, premature posting above without editing.

        In short, rather than squeeze more content editing into the sidebar, leave that for “global theme customization” (like it was original intended IMHO), and instead find a better way to enable front end layout and content.

      • Tom 7:15 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I would just like to make it clear that although the change will break the plugin I develop, that’s not my concern here. I can fix that up pretty quickly. If anything it will probably be easier for plugin developers to hook into the menu system through the customizer.

        I’m simply concerned this change would make menu management more difficult and less intuitive for the average user.

        • designsimply 7:19 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I’m simply concerned this change would make menu management more difficult and less intuitive for the average user.

          Why do you think this change makes menu management less intuitive? Can you be more specific?

          • Tom 7:48 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Sure. I don’t think a new or “the average” WordPress user will instinctively head to Appearance > Customizer to manage their menus. I simply wouldn’t expect menu management to be placed there. Regarding increased difficulty, I don’t believe the Customizer offers a suitable amount of space to manage large menus (50 items plus), or menu’s with more than say 2 levels.

            • designsimply 7:50 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink

              Thanks. I’ll look into these things.

            • Zach Wills 5:24 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink

              +1

            • Ryan Boren 5:09 am on June 7, 2015 Permalink

              Toolbar > Customize is the route I take. I’d like to move that above Themes now that theme switching is built in. Directly after creating a site I head to the front page and go to Toolbar > Customize. I don’t want to see wp-admin. Having to see wp-admin is a failure. I don’t want to dig through Appearance menus in a busy admin silo. New users don’t instinctively go to Appearance > Menus. They don’t have that history and baggage. They want to Customize. From there they find what they need and never have to delve into legacy. Between the iOS app, Press This, and the Customizer, I can ignore a lot of wp-admin. I want an Edit This plugin that hooks editing and draft centric flows up with Press This so that I can ignore even more of wp-admin. I use wp-admin when setting up a business site with heavier CMS flows, although less and less as we get more capable on mobile. After that I’m good to go on a phone for the bulk of my day to day, occasionally drifting to a laptop to get at the full editor on a bigger screen.

    • carlhancock 7:15 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Not a fan. I don’t think the Customizer UI is well suited to managing Menus. Sure it’s fine if you have a blog with a single menu and simple structure. It will quickly become frustrating when using WordPress as a CMS for a more complex site involving larger menus and multiple menus.

      Not only will it be frustrating to manage a complex menu structure within such a constrained space, it will also be distracting with all the sliding in, sliding out, the site itself being displayed in the main window, etc.

      When i’m creating the navigational structure for a site I don’t look at it in terms of visual design. I look at it is mapping out the navigational structure of the site like i’m sketching a site map. This is exactly why I prefer the existing menu management tool. It’s much easier to concentrate on the task at hand.

      I also think it’s a mistake to further split up Dashboard functionality between the Customizer and the traditional Dashboard. The Customizer makes sense for visually customizing the design of your theme. Not so much for managing content. To me managing menus is more like managing content and not like managing the visual design of a site.

      @chrislema also raised extremely valid points as it relates to the wide variety of users that utilize WordPress. Those types of users most definitely aren’t going to like this. At all.

      • Mario Peshev 12:16 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I’m not sure what’s going on, but it seems to me that the Core team is hanging out with some people in their circle that probably like that change. Among the hundreds of people around me who can’t grasp that idea at all (including myself), I haven’t seen anyone outside of the decision makers who thinks that it is a good idea.

        Democracy may create a a chaos here since every decision would have people who agree or disagree on a given idea – just due to the large volume of active people. But I can’t ignore the fact that numerous major decisions lately did not involve any usability testing with different target groups or actual users.

        Obviously solutions like https://wordpress.org/ideas/ are not getting any attention anymore since there’s some roadmap on getting things in Core regardless of the approval factor from the wide community of developers, business owners, users.

      • Alvaro Gois dos Santos 3:10 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Menu is content. Menu should not be a part of customization except for the placement part. It seems obvious to me.

        And it also seems people who’re involved in this decision, as @nofearinc also puts it, are disregarding a large portion of users.

        If I had to suggest a change in Menu, it would be it’s own place in the dashboard menu, apart from Appearance and not hide inside Customizer.

    • Richard Tape 7:33 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      My main concern here is when there is forced SSL on the admin-side (very popular in the enterprise) and not forced SSL on the front-end (sadly, likewise). My experience with this is… the customizer is entirely unusable, as you’re unable to load non-ssl content within an SSL context. This isn’t necessarily tied to this project, but the customizer as a whole.

      I see that links to the menu page would be removed further down the line, but the ability to actually get to and use the menu pages would still exist. Whilst I’m going to let my opinions on this functionality simmer for a while until they are fully formed, I wanted to make a point that it is vital that the ability to affect changes such as menu editing (And widget editing) outside of the customizer remains in place until we all live in a world where SSL is everywhere.

      • Weston Ruter 7:45 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Yes. This is a problem, but I do have working solution in the Customize Widgets Plus plugin’s “HTTPS Resource Proxy” module. (You’ll still most likely have to kiss any 3rd party ads goodbye, however.)

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 7:48 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        To touch on this, it’s only if https://domain.com isn’t workable.

        In my case, I have WordPress HTTPS enabled and set to force ‘https exclusively’ which means if you hit domain.com, it forces http unless I’m on a specific https-only page.

        Obviously the answer is ‘Use https for all the things!’ but that’s both expensive and complicated. In addition, if you happen to have Multisite, good luck finding a GOOD ssl offering that can do both multiple domains and wildcard subdomains on said domains. So until LetsEncrypt.org takes off (soon, soon), it’s not a great experience.

    • Lisa 11:42 pm on June 3, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m joining because I really care about the future of WordPress, because the future of it depends upon the users not just devs or core contributors. I am heavily invested in the WordPress ecosystem.

      As business owner who runs on WordPress, designer and user, I really don’t want to see so much stuff crammed into the customizer. Navigation and plugins will just make it worse.

      I’ve used it for simple themes and more complex and experienced issues with settings not carrying over from parent to child, and those themes like Theme Foundry’s Make, touted as the example of how the customizer should be used, just seem like waaaay too much stuff crammed into a tight space.

      When I click on widgets in the admin bar, I want to go to the admin, not the customizer – now it’s several clicks away. It’s just annoying.

      My main business is online courses and membership, but I do have a handful of client sites that I host and maintain, and I hear their pain. While it’s more business for me to do the stuff they can’t figure out how to, I really don’t want to, I set them up on WordPress so THEY could maintain their own sites, not me.

      WordPress used to be much more usable and I see this as more of it veering away.

      I would love to see a standardization of an options panel instead. Themes have evolved, and there’s just more room there to handle the evolution.

    • Knut Sparhell 1:09 am on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Nice work! All for this great enhancement. Deprecate and remove the admin interface, but slowly, and everybody will be happy.

    • Piet Bos 3:33 am on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I agree that the current navigation menus UI can be improved and in that aspect the Menu Customizer works great.

      I do not agree that the UI should be added to the Customizer for all the reasons that have been mentioned already.

      What I don’t understand is why these type of decisions seem to be pushed through without too much consideration? WordPress originally was build as blogging software and there is still a vast amount of people using it as a blog.
      But there is also a vast amount of people that have moved beyond and use WordPress as CMS, as @carlhancock already mentions.
      I even have sites for clients where I simply remove everything that has to do with Posts!

      Why does it seem again and again and again that the powers that be simply make decisions on things, without too much consideration or hearing people’s concerns?

      If WordPress is all about “democratize publishing through Open Source”, then why does it feel that the core dev team is more and more a totalitarian regime?

    • Nick Halsey 4:04 am on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      First of all, please keep in mind that this is only a proposal. No final decisions have been made yet, other than that we’re tentatively going to merge the plugin, based on today’s dev chat.

      For those who are concerned with the usability of Menus in the Customizer, please try the plugin on trunk and see how it feels. If you’re concerned about your clients, or specific user types, please help us with usability testing and report back with the results. Speculation and theory are subjective and can only go so far, we need to actually put it in front of users to validate our opinions one way or another. If you try the plugin though, I think you’d be surprised at how nicely it works. Even though it may be familiar, the admin screen really isn’t a great experience in a lot of ways (including using much more space than it needs to).

      Many of the objections here are resisting change for the sake of resisting change (ex. revising training practices, etc.). WordPress cannot continue to improve and evolve without making changes like this. This project addresses several specific problems with the existing system, while maintaining nearly all of the existing paradigms for how menus work and retaining a very functionally similar UI. Other than finding the UI (which deep-linking would take care of), users that are familiar with the existing system really shouldn’t have any issues with the new one.

      The problem with keeping the admin screen is that there is barely any community developer interest in maintaining, let alone improving that system. Based on what has happened with other features added to the Customizer, and the current status of the menus component, I think that we’re best off focusing on on admin system for menus and drawing a hard line on it to avoid fragmentation. Menus diverge from widgets her in that they’re feature-complete now, whereas widgets aren’t, so we could remove the admin screen immediately in 4.3. But at earliest we’d keep the legacy system around for a few releases to allow time for plugins to move over.

      • Chris Lema 5:12 am on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        “The problem with keeping the admin screen is that there is barely any community developer interest in maintaining, let alone improving that system.”

        This is a scary reason to make this kind of change. I understand it, but if we had done the same with documentation when people weren’t interested in documentation, we’d be in a very different place.

      • carlhancock 12:01 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        You think the massive amount of rejections from the community on this post, in Twitter, etc. is because people simply don’t like change? WRONG.

        People don’t like this direction because it’s not a good one. Not because of change.

        I’m all for change. I’m all for making WordPress better. I just don’t think this particular change is the right direction and judging by the comments here, on another blog posts about this change, in Twitter and in Facebook… I am far from alone and it appears I’m in the majority camp on this one.

        It’s pretty amazing that despite the near universal condemnation of this direction that it was agreed to tentatively merge the plugin in the dev chat. You guys obviously haven’t been paying attention to the overwhelmingly negative feedback that has been received on this matter.

        • Gabe Shackle 4:39 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          This +1000. I’ve built and maintained many sites with menus running 3-4 levels deep with fairly long titles. Trying to fit menus that large into the customizer would be a massive step backwards in usability. I’d like to see the same example video with a menu containing 50+ items in it and 3+ levels.

          Controlling the DISPLAY location of a menu via the customizer is completely understandable. Forcing users to manage menu CONTENT via the customizer is not.

    • Helen Hou-Sandi 5:11 am on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      #18517 and #32218 are fixed now.

    • Ben May 6:04 am on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      On the large projects we work on, everything apart from the menu manager is hidden or removed. While there are some quirks to the menu manager, it’s solid enough for clients to work on and use.

      Moving the menu management to the customiser really feels like it’s going to cause a lot more pain for our use case / clients / audience.

    • Jeremy Felt 7:10 am on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is a really excellent write-up, and the menu customizer team has done a lot of great work to get things this far over the last year. Thanks @celloexpressions and all.

      A few notes from my perspective:

      • I’d like to see a more visual indicator of the drag and drop behavior. I had a hard time in Chrome with the touchpad on OSX getting menu items to consistently drop into place where I expected them.
      • The preview of submenu items in Twenty Fifteen seems broken. There’s no great way for me to expand a menu on the previewed site and then watch as submenu items are reordered.

      Those two probably belongs as GitHub issues, but hey, here we are. :)

      • I haven’t tested it yet, but the architecture is meant to fix the `max_input_vars` issue with the current menu system, which is freaking fantastic. That said, hitting the `max_input_vars` limit in the current menu screen is usually an indicator that some other solution is necessary. (i.e. BU Navigation). I would personally be okay if the customizer UI for menus worked beautifully for smaller sets of menus rather than trying to account for a structure that involves managing hundreds of pages. Dealing with a long set of menu items and trying to drag and drop all the way up the chain is no fun in any interface.
      • The fly-out for adding new menu items is great.
      • The reorder option is great, but does leave me wishing for something just a bit better. I’m not sure what that is yet.

      Overall, I think things have progressed really well and this is a good example of panel usage in the Customizer. I’d like to see this merged in 4.3, though I’m also worried about how much user testing has been done so far. The plugin has 5000 active installs, which is great. It would be nice to have access to more real-world user feedback. I think more usability videos on the .org end would go a long way.

      I’m going to activate it at WSU tomorrow and try to get some feedback over the next week so I have a better idea of how groups will make use of it in our environment.

      The proposal to replace the current menu screen with the Customizer version is a bit premature. I know it’s been mentioned in past customizer posts, but I would have liked to see links to existing discussions to kind of fill in the blanks for those who don’t live core from day to day. There’s a sea of information that we publish together and it’s hard to find all the bits. :)

      Part of me can imagine keeping the old menus interface around in the hopes that it can become a page/menu manager of sorts in the future. I don’t think it’s anything we need to rush into and I think we can still focus on the Customizer being the primary experience after it ships.

      • Nick Halsey 5:59 am on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The first issue (drag-and-drop drop location indicator) is in progress here. Second issue is a minor theme support thing that will be discussed further after a merge. Patch for Twenty Fifteen is two lines of JS I believe, and already included with the other work @westonruter is doing that requires core patches. Essentially, we’re trying to do “partial refresh” previews of changes to menus rather than reloading the entire front-end preview, but this does require themes that have dynamic JS on menus to be using event delegation, etc. properly. We may put this behind a theme_supports flag, but as of right now we’d like to see whether we can enable it by default.

        Note that unfortunately WordPress.org is grossly mis-reporting the active install numbers due to the existence of a similarly-named premium plugin. We really have no idea how many are actually using the feature-plugin, especially since the nightly and per-commit version bumps that the github syncer does results in mass version fragmentation that makes it hard to tell from the version stats.

        Regarding panels, the Panel API was specifically created to support menus in the Customizer, which posed the problem of user-created Customizer sections that absolutely required a dedicated area. Glad that we can finally use the API for this :)

      • designsimply 12:49 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It would be nice to have access to more real-world user feedback. I think more usability videos on the .org end would go a long way.

        Agreed. Great suggestion! I will work on this.

    • davel 7:10 am on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Not a fan either. I have small firm clients; clients who are not technical. I only give them access to the parts they need to control; and to the parts where they could not mess up the site; like the customizer could do.
      Moving the menu to the customizer in therefore not a good idea. Regardsless of how good of bad the UI is of the customizer; some clients go into panic seeing to many options to click. And the thing is: most of my clients don’t want to have acces to modify the ‘looks’ of the site. If customization needs to be done they contact me -the webdesigner-. So having opening up the gate to the customizer some of my client would experiment or would click wrong and then would be suprised if their site looks horrible or changed into something else.

      • Ryan Hellyer 12:09 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        That doesn’t really make sense to me. This doesn’t allow your clients to change anything more than they already could, it just moves the UI from the backend to the frontend.

        • Seth Alling 12:38 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I believe @davel may do what I do. With some clients, I remove the permissions for them to edit widgets and use the customizer, but they still have to ability to edit the menus. This is because they could do some serious damage to their site.

          Forgive me because I haven’t used the customizer much, but is there a way to lockdown areas of the customizer based on capabilities? If there is, then I’m neutral with the change, but if not, then I’m against it as well.

        • Slava UA 1:01 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          But it makes sense to lots of other people and developers. We, the Community, are your “focus group”. You proposed this particular change, most of us rejected it.

          And now regarding Davel’s example. We change admin area nav-menu items visibility. We want editors (or any particular user) not to have access to customizer. But they should have access to Menus – and this is an easy task right now. And now, when you move things to Customizer, we are in situation when we should give such non-tech users more power in destroying their site (accidentally). Menus are NOT visual thing by nature, it’s a navigation – rather structural thing. I just don’t understand why it should be where you propose it to be.

        • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 1:41 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          A lot of people lock down or remove the customizer, especially on Multisite (I know!) to maintain a homogeneous site design. All you can edit are menus and widgets. No color changes etc.

    • Fabien Quatravaux 9:35 am on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This proposal is, in my opinion, a very good move. I have realized that the current menu management page is really hard to work with for new WordPress users. So it’s very good news that menus can now be managed directly in the customizer.

      I’m also a plugin developer that uses the current menu administration page. I’m using the “wp_edit_nav_menu_walker” filter to let user add an image to each menu item. That could be a good thing to grep for you @ipstenu.

      Thanks @celloexpressions for the detailed explanation and keep up with that hard work everybody !

    • MyInternetScout 12:18 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Without repeating all the solid points already mentioned about how the menu shouldn’t be moved to the customizer, I support Chris Lema’s (and others’) position to not move forward on this item as proposed. Training and re-training clients can be difficult. A sudden change like this could overwhelm the support capabilities of a small boutique design firm. Also, many see the menu system as a ‘content’ element that should be located were ‘Post’, ‘Pages’, ‘Categories’ and ‘Tags’ are – something I agree with.

      A little off topic, but related… because the WP user-base is so large and diverse now, I wish the Core team would start minimizing the frequency of UX changes to maybe once a year. WordPress does have a steep learning curve for non-developers (aka my small business clients)…and, unless these UX changes are truly intuitive improvement, such as drag and dropping photos into the media library, they’re not helpful. It presents WordPress as an unpolished product/platform.

    • John Teague 12:38 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Honestly, if the goal is to turn WP Admin into to Squarespace UI just say so and let’s be done with it.

    • jadpm 12:53 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Sorry to say, but WordPress seems to be trying to solve the multiple not-standard loaded problem on theme options frameworks with a single standard even-more-loaded GUI that deprecates existing, working and familiar interfaces.

      Not a fan.

    • danhgilmore 1:35 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      In my largest installation, I have 38,752 sites. Will the current menu settings be moved over to Customizer, or will I have to train my customers how to do it?

    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 1:39 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m not opposed to change. I’m not opposed to changing my mind. I think that having the menus as something I can set visually, to see how long a menu is and how it will look on my site in the GUI like the theme customizer is a good thing.

      Having the menu be visual, to see “oh hey, this looks bad on mobile” by resizing the screen, is awesome.

      But I don’t think it should be the ONLY place we do that.

      Similar to widgets, if I want to quickly reorder things, the widget panel is faster. One click to the page, move a box, done. Swapping out a link, I don’t want to go through the customizer not because it’s different, but because the flow is not sensible for what WordPress has been.

      Menus are post types, which has driven much of our design and purpose with it. Since they’re post types, we treat them as content, not design. Exactly like we do for widgets. Menus and widgets are both content.

      As for the customizer, well, using that for theme design makes sense. You (should) only design your theme once. You set it up, make it pretty, and you concentrate on what’s important. Content. Yes, we want to see how our content looks within the context of the site, and to that end I laud the customizer. But to have it be the only place, while annoying to mess with for support in two places, strikes me as a bit more logical.

      I would hope the ten tickets with solved issues (including the fact that the menus hang on save with ‘too many’ items) is carried back to the original menu interface. It’s a more practical interface for many businesses who lock down the customizer, in order to prevent people from changing major design aspects.

      And of course, given that the customizer doesn’t work if you have any sort of http(s) mismatches when you have secure admin but not a front end (not all CSS or font content will load because of insecure content), it feels like a ‘not yet’ moment. We gave WP the ability to be used in myriad situations. We have to support those people now.

      • carlhancock 1:58 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I’m not opposed to a Customizer style UI either. I’m just opposed to how it’s being down as it is right now. It seems obvious that there are plans for the Customizer to become the defacto WordPress administration tool. This is fine with me, if it’s done right.

        I don’t think doing it piecemeal the way it’s being done is the right way. Fragmenting the WordPress admin having some functionality in the Dashboard and some functionality in the Customizer just causes confusion. Especially when things are moved from one to the other in a piecemeal manner.

        If WordPress wants a Squarespace style admin, then build a Squarespace style admin. Outside of WordPress. In a plugin like MP6. Over a longer period of time. With more developer buy in. Work with plugin and theme developers to prepare for such a change over a longer period of time. Publicize the hell out of it and prepare the public for such a change. Then roll out the admin all at once at a later date with a big release.

        Yes this is a daunting proposition. Scary actually. But I think that baby steps with the UI involving fragmentation of functionality between 2 different UI’s just looks bad from a product standpoint. It looks patchworks. Amateur.

        Otherwise leave the admin alone and keep the customizer confined to managing the visual aspects of your site. While Menus are displayed visually on a site, they are actually a type of content. Stick to styling the menus in the customizer and managing the menus in the Dashboard.

        I wouldn’t be at all opposed to a radical new admin UI along the lines of what the Customizer is. Let’s face it… It’s a SquareSpace admin UI. It’s worked for Squarespace. It could work for WordPress.

        But i’m not a fan of the piecemeal implementation that is happening. It’s not good from a usability standpoint, and makes the WordPress admin look like a hot mess of different user interfaces.

        • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 2:28 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I don’t think the customizer should be the de facto admin tool. Maybe the DESIGN tool, for people who can’t code it’s great. But design and day to day work aren’t the same thing. They engage different parts of your brain.

          “Menus are content” – exactly that.

          • carlhancock 2:42 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I agree. Right now the customizer is a design tool. That’s how it was implemented.

            But Squarespace, and others, have proven that an admin UI can be implemented overlaid on the front end of the site like this and incorporate more than just design elements. Let’s face it, that’s where this pressure is coming from. Solutions like Squarespace, Wix, etc.

            It can be done. But how WordPress is doing it is just causing UI fragmentation which accomplishes nothing but making the product look piecemeal and inferior to the other web site solutions on the market.

            Menus are content, and with the current direction that WordPress is headed with having the Dashboard for content and the Customizer for design… putting it in the customizer is not ideal.

            But if WordPress is heading in the direction of having everything in the Customizer, at which point it won’t be the “Customizer” anymore but rather the new Dashboard or Admin… then they need to go about it a different way. Piecemeal is not the way to do it.

            IF the longterm goal is entirely new admin UI based on the customer then doing it piecemeal is the easy way from a development standpoint. Baby steps. BUT at this rate it will take years to migrate everything over. And during that time WordPress is going to look like Frankenstein. A patchworks of different UI conventions split over the traditional Dashboard and the Customizer style UI. I think that is a mistake. It makes WordPress look bad as a platform.

            I mentioned this on Twitter and it’s relevant in this discussion…

            Developers are not always product people. Ditto designers. WordPress needs more product people involved in core and decisions like this. Situations like this are perfect examples of what happens when there isn’t a product person or product person(s) guiding the overall direction.

            WordPress is an open source project. But it is every bit a product and needs to be treated as such. Anyone with an eye for product development would see that this kind of fragmentation is not a good idea for WordPress as a product.

            • carlhancock 2:52 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink

              And let me be clear. I think WordPress SHOULD move towards a Squarespace style UI like the Customizer for ALL THINGS. But NOT how it’s being done now. Not in a piecemeal manner. And not with the current UI.

              Squarespace UI is far more elegant. The arguments regarding the constrained space don’t take into account the UI can expand as needed, even going full screen. Which is exactly what Squarespace does.

              I just don’t think doing it piecemeal is the right way from a product standpoint. UI fragmentation is bad. Especially when WordPress is already daunting and complex for many users, something that us power users typically take for granted. Fragmenting the UI makes it that much more difficult and annoying for end users.

              I’m all for a completely rethink of the entire WordPress admin. I’m all for a Squarespace/Customizer style interface. I just think handling it in piecemeal fashion is a mistake.

            • Elio Rivero 3:23 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink

              So far I’d like what you’re doing with the menus. I’ve tested the plugin and it’s certainly intuitive. Leaving aside the debateable issue of whether menus are content (which I believe they are) or interface (which I believe they are too), the current path is good.

              Now, there might be other alternatives down the road better than this? I hope so. I would like to see some tool like Iseulde’s Front End Editor to edit every content in the site, whether it’s the site title, tagline, or, yes, the menus. Right now the (dissociative) nature of editing content on one panel and seeing it in other like is a bit distracting. It’s not what we’ve been used to do since, let’s say, word processors? you edit the content inline, but you can also select something and apply style. Another example is to write some text in real life: you choose the color (style) of the text (content) you want to produce. It’s always strictly separated, styling tool – content. Customizer could be something like this, becoming a glorified toolbar strictly dealing with styling, allowing users to enter their content inline.

              Hope it makes sense. Basically, I like the plugin and the overall idea, but I expect to see something more overlaid on top of the site, maybe along the lines of Front End Editor.

      • Nick Halsey 7:06 am on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Slight clarification: menus are actually taxonomy terms, not posts (menu items are post objects). Accordingly they bridge both post objects and taxonomy terms grouping post objects into a sort of index of content accessible on the site. Closely tied to content, but not really content in themselves.

        Of course, as westonruter mentioned a couple of times here already, the Customizer can and should be used to edit content. If you look at our component page linked in the post, you’ll see that front-end-editing that leverages the Customizer is one of our goals for the future.

        • carlhancock 8:53 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          My issue is NOT with using a Customizer style UI for managing menus. My issue is with the implementation of the Customizer UI in WordPress beyond theme styles and the fragmentation of the WordPress admin that is happening as a result.

          WordPress is becoming Windows 8. Microsoft made the mistake of fragmenting the UI and it was such a stupid mistake that they are skipping Windows 9 when they launch Windows 10 to further separate it from the UI mistakes made in Windows 8.

          Were all of the UI decisions made in Windows 8 bad? No. But the implementation was poor so now they’re having to fix it and blend the ideas behind the 2 different Windows 8 UI’s into a single unified interface.

          WordPress is in a similar situation. Right now it’s making the same mistake Microsoft did with Windows 8.

          If a Customizer style UI is the future of administering a WordPress site as a whole… then WordPress needs to go all in with it.

          Splitting administrative functions between 2 very, very different UI’s is NOT good from a user interface or user experience standpoint and makes WordPress look like a Frankenstein of a CMS. Piecemeal is NOT the way to do this.

          I have no issues with the general direction that the UI of the Customizer uses. Squarespace has a similar user interface. It looks great and is far more elegant and consistent. When admin functionality requires more screen real estate, the sidebar expands to accommodate it. It doesn’t try to do everything in extremely narrow columns. For complex actions it expands wider than simple actions. It’s not bouncing you around completely different user interfaces.

          WordPress needs to decide what the future of the WordPress Dashboard is. If it’s a Customizer/Squarespace style UI than fantastic. But the WordPress project as a whole needs to pick which direction it’s going in and commit to it full stop.

          I think it should go in that direction.

          But if the approach is to slowly move things over piece by piece and leave users, developers, plugin developers, and theme developers to have to jump between the old Dashboard UI and the new Customizer UI as pieces are slowly moved over across what would likely be years… I think it is a horrible mistake.

          I blogged about this here: http://carlhancock.com/wordpress-is-making-the-same-mistakes-microsoft-did-with-windows-8/

          Don’t mistake dislike for this direction as dislike of change, or some sort of education issue. It is neither. It’s a dislike for turning the WordPress UI into a fragmented mess of a user interface.

          • Weston Ruter 9:38 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            @carlhancock Yes, fragmentation of the admin UI is a concern. However, we also have logistical problems as you’ve also identified, where this is an open source project with volunteers contributing, so it is impossible to go the route of a closed proprietary team taking an entirely new radical direction all at once. Leaving aside the training/education aspects of changing where things are managed, there is the more fundamental problem of “person-power” to implement the change.

            If the eventual goal is to improve the Customizer to a point where it can serve as the shiny new JS-driven WordPress admin, with all of its current deficiencies accounted for, then the only way it can happen is in a piecemeal way: adding more and more capabilities to the Customizer with each release. The critical thing here though, and this seems to be the primary concern of almost everyone commenting here, is that the existing Menus admin page cannot go anywhere. Perhaps everything needs to stay right where it is in the WP admin until the eventual point where enough contributions have been made to make the Customizer complete enough to serve as the new de-facto interface for WP administration.

            If this is the direction we’re going in, it will take time. If people find the current issues with the Customizer too aggravating to bear with, then they should be able to continue to do things the old way in the WP admin. We need the WP admin to remain anyway for backwards compatibility. But they should check-in periodically to see how the Customizer has improved, and gradually see it evolve to a point where they can say, “Hey, I actually prefer this now.” But in order for that to happen, we need constructive feedback on how specifically it should be improved, and we also need more contributors.

            (BTW, and a bit of a tangent, but my understanding from elsewhere on the Web for why Microsoft chose to name it Windows 10 and not Windows 9 is because of legacy applications that are hardcoded to check for Windows 95 and Windows 98 via looking for the substring “Windows 9”. I could be wrong :-) )

            • nathanrice 10:04 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink

              Then that’s a good reason to develop features as plugins first. That way, they can be tested thoroughly without polluting the admin for users in the time between version 0.1 and version 1.0.

            • Nick Halsey 10:38 am on June 6, 2015 Permalink

              Yes, and for quite a long time the “tipping” point for the Customizer being able to actually take over an entire section of the admin was thought to be moving everything in “Appearance”. Menus is the last major thing there, but it turns out that we can go further, really.

              Not everything should or will move over from the admin, but I’d like to eventually get to a point where the admin is a secondary interface that is more power-user-oriented and has more advanced options. We have to keep everything in the admin there for at least some users because WordPress supports no-js. There will always be use cases, like list tables, bulk edit, etc. that don’t make sense outside of the admin context. But eventually I see the ideal user flow, at least for new users, being primarily oriented around the Customizer. The next big thing to tackle will be content and front-end-editing integrations, but that will of course take a lot of effort to even attempt. Biggest question is where we should remove elements from the admin that really belong exclusively in the Customizer, and I’d say things categorized as “Appearance” would make sense as Customizer-only. If a content-centric (list-table-integrated) menus experience is built in the future in another spot in the admin that’s fine, but menus are currently more at the presentational level of a site than being the actual content (controlling how to present the content in terms of the visitor’s perceived structure, not the actual data structure).

              Sidenote: I actually think Windows 8 was really well done (8.1 particularly, as it addressed most of the issues, but then it was more of a branding problem), especially for the types of interactions it was designed for (hybrid touch and mouse/keyboard). It’s great on a touch screen laptop or a hybrid, less great on a desktop but still better overall than Windows 7 on any device. The navigation between the two UI styles there is pretty seamless, and until we’re able to route users primarily through the Customizer we need to do what we can to guide them in and out. That’s why we’re emphasizing the front end context, and accessing the Customizer from the front-end instead of the admin.

    • Curtiss Grymala 1:52 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Well said, Mika.

      I’d also like to add that menus aren’t necessarily tied to a theme location at all.

      There are a number of use-cases where you can create a menu specifically for use within a widget, and that widget may only appear on a single page or group of pages. Trying to create a menu like that exclusively through the customizer would be extremely cumbersome and potentially very confusing.

      Aside from that, there’s also the current issue that the customizer is locked to a side of the screen (as far as I know, it can’t easily be re-factored to run horizontally along the bottom/top of the screen), which, in many cases, triggers a different, potentially mobile-friendly, layout. A lot of small firms/hobbyists will be completely thrown off if they’re trying to customize a menu this way when, visually, it doesn’t match what they’re used to seeing on their computer screens.

      • designsimply 1:07 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        in many cases, triggers a different, potentially mobile-friendly, layout

        I’ve run into this problem too. There’s a collapse option at the bottom left of the customizer controls panel, do you think it would help to make that more prominent and maybe even re-label it? (Not sure yet what a more user-friendly label might be, but I like the idea of that.)

    • tommcgee 1:54 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I understand the need for mobile-first for a lot of things; but as someone here has pointed out you generally set your menu once and then leave it.

      What kind of menu change would I need that would be so urgent that I couldn’t wait until I got back to my desktop PC? And is it worth the trade-off for making the original setup that much more difficult because of the narrow space that is allowed in the customizer?

    • Lisa 3:43 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks @carlhancock for mentioning SS because now I’ve decided to build a site with it so I can really compare the difference.

      I’m tired of hearing about folks moving to it and bashing WP, so I need to take a good look. Then I’d like to find a way to contribute here more to the future of WordPress.

      So the issue I experienced and mentioned in my comment about child themes is here – https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/27177

    • lockedown 4:36 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The decision to move Menus to the Customizer, and immediately deprecate the Menu admin seems very rushed and may hurt WordPress, the platform.

      There are billions of websites. WordPress powers a quarter of those, so hundreds of millions of people are affected by the UI decisions made by a handful of developers.

      The majority of users are comfortable with using the Menus screen. After all, it’s been that way for a decade. But now, the proposal is to eliminate it completely. I think this will cause mass confusion for those hundreds of millions of users who aren’t part of the WordPress 1% who follows these changes closely.

      I understand that WordPress needs to scale. But when you an important change like this, to how people use the platform, that re-training becomes difficult to scale. The development team will not be able to help re-educate the hundreds of millions of clients who will wonder where their menus went.

      Put menus in the Customizer, but don’t immediately eliminate the Menus screen. Because users will not blame the themes or plugins that don’t update with these changes, they will blame WordPress the platform.

      • designsimply 1:09 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        If you haven’t already, please test menus in the customizer! It sounds from your comment like you haven’t tried it yet.

    • Dan 4:52 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I want to voice my concerns with this move as well. I completely agree with those who are outlining the issues with re-training, the UI, and how this is fragmenting the admin interface and confusing the end user.

      Taking into account the discussion had over forcing repository themes to use this, I really think the WordPress core team needs to take a time out and have a larger discussion about where the Customizer. This approach of shoving it down our throats clearly isn’t working.

      • designsimply 1:12 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Would you be willing to test the plugin with a few users in a training setting? I’d love that and can help with ideas for testing and gathering feedback if it sounds like something you want to help with.

    • bmoredrew 5:05 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Has anyone considered the implications to managing a large menu, like one with 100+ items and several levels deep? This feels like a square peg in a round hole in that case.

      I’m not 100% opposed to menus being brought into the customizer – but at minimum the dedicated menu screen should be left in place.

      • designsimply 1:13 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Let’s test it. Are you volunteering to help test?! :)

        • Bowe 2:28 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Since it’s already approved for merge in core you’d think.. I dunno.. that you’d tested this before accepting it into core?

          • designsimply 9:57 pm on June 25, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            It was. :)

            I would like to encourage more testing though! If you are complaining here, you should really try testing the feature yourself. Many of the commenters sounded to me like they hadn’t tested, and being part of an open source community means you have the chance to get involved in a more positive way.

    • Jonathan Christopher 5:06 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thinking out loud, regarding removal of the link to the existing Menus area: what about the Links Manager approach? For those unfamiliar: as of WordPress 3.5 the Links Manager was simply hidden for new installs and existing installs got to keep it, untouched. To this day you can enable the Links Manager on a fresh install of the latest version with a simple filter:

      `add_filter( ‘pre_option_link_manager_enabled’, ‘__return_true’ );`

      I realize this goes against the grain of being a decision, and a ton of thought/work went into this proposal, but I’m wondering if it’s feasible to consider the Links Manager approach?

      Again, this thought just occurred to me over lunch, I haven’t fully thought it through, and it doesn’t solve the issue of the tickets for the Customizer-version-of-Menus not being rolled into Menus, but personally I think the existing Menus system can continue to work in many ways.

      • David Sullivan 6:12 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        That’s effective. It would save devs link me scores of questions about missing a missing menu editor. Plus going forward, new users get acquaint to the new UI.

      • Mike Selander 8:25 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        This is a very clever idea but it would be difficult to implement for existing sites. We have somewhere in the range of 200 live sites on which we still have contact with the owners and it would be a beastly job to add this to even a tenth of them and retraining that many clients is unfortunately not an option.

        • Justin Sternberg 1:08 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I believe the idea is that: If you already have WP installed and using the menus, the UI will stay in place. If you’re installing a fresh version, the UI would be hidden by default.

          • Matthew Eppelsheimer 1:42 pm on June 6, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            This is a very good idea — similar to what was done with links.

            I share others’ concerned about remove the existing admin menu system. We never want to break backwards compatibility if we can help it. But I think this concern is adequately addressed, if the existing admin menu settings page is kept in place for existing installs, off by default for new installs, and available to be re-enabled for new installs.

      • santeven 8:35 pm on June 7, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Remember the custom Header and custom Background admin pages? And whatever happened to the Themes and Widgets links in the front-end admin bar? As of today in 4.2.2 they easily can be displayed within the admin bar, in addition to the corresponding Customizer links already there.

        So long as the Menu Customizer team does no more with nav-menus.php and themes.php than what the Widgets Customizer team did with widgets.php , I expect the same will hold true for the Menus and Themes admin pages.

        Full write-up and plugin zip-file at http://wpmulti.org/old-school-themes-admin

        `
        <?php
        /**

        • Plugin Name: Old-School Themes Admin
        • Plugin URI: http://wpmulti.org/old-school-themes-admin
        • Description: Display admin bar links to the old-school dashboard appearance pages, in addition to the newer customizer links that recently have replaced them. Themes= themes.php Widgets= widgets.php Background= themes.php?page=custom-background Header= themes.php?page=custom-header
        • Version: 0.1.0
        • Author: Martin Robbins
        • Author URI: http://wpmulti.org
        • License: GPL2 or later
        • License URI: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html

        */

        add_action( ‘wp_enqueue_scripts’, ‘old_school_themes_admin_bar’ );

        function old_school_themes_admin_bar() {

        $custom_css = ”
        .customize-support #wpadminbar .hide-if-customize,
        .customize-support .hide-if-customize {
        display: block;
        }”;

        wp_add_inline_style( ‘admin-bar’, $custom_css );

        }

        ?>
        `

    • theresajennings2011 5:42 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Shoving the menu into the customizer reminds me of Facebook’s decision to have PMs entered in a tiny little box at the bottom of the browser window. I agree with Chris Lema’s relating it to poor vision in older people. I’m 57, but I’m certainly not at a 800×600 resolution. I have a 30″ monitor at its highest resolution! Still, the customizer feels cramped.

      So in the video, I see a brief nod at sub-menu items, but what if you have sub-sub-menu items, and heaven forbid, sub-sub-sub menus too? It feels like we’d be doing our work inside a broom closet. The menu is content, and working with the menus in WP is light years better than working with them in Joomla. It’s like a breath of fresh air, in fact. Could the menu experience be improved? Absolutely. But the menu *is* content, not styling, and needs to stay in the admin area. At the very least, please don’t remove it from the admin area.

    • Matthew Boynes 6:58 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      If this plan went through as proposed, this would be the first feature to only exist in the Customizer. I think the Customizer is a wonderful addition to WordPress, but I think it should remain a complementary feature. I don’t think that any (core) feature should only exist in the Customizer. I’m therefore opposed to removing the existing admin page.

      Dashboard-page-debate aside, great work on a complicated feature!

      • Job 7:30 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        From a non-dev perspective, I agree with this.

        I think having the menu option in the customizer is great. It’s a lot more intuitive for new users, especially since you get to see the result straight away.

        However, I think at least until it has become a routine for existing users to add menus in the customizer, keeping it in the dashboard as well, makes a lot of sense. That would also solve the problems Chris Lema identified on his blog. A more relaxed transition would also allow bigger companies to get more adjusted to all of this.

        That being said, having the menus in the customizer is great. I remember at first struggling to find where to edit the menus. If the customizer was there when I started with WP, I would have faster found them in there then where they are now.

      • Konstantin Obenland 4:39 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I’m therefore opposed to removing the existing admin page.

        There are currently no plans to remove the existing menu admin screen. While the proposal suggested it, it was never part of the decision to merge the existing plugin.

        • Matthew Eppelsheimer 1:50 pm on June 6, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          This is a little confusing Konstantin, because the proposal makes a very strong assertion that does seem to be a plan, not just a suggestion.

          > “This project has a very explicit goal of not just adding menu management to the Customizer, but also removing the existing admin page in the process.”

          Is that goal not sanctioned by the core team?

          Thank you for clarifying.

          • Nick Halsey 8:30 pm on June 6, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            It’s a goal of the team building this feature, but it’s been decided that we aren’t going to make any official decisions on it yet in terms of core.

    • Jimmy Smutek 7:24 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m also not a fan of this idea for all the same reasons mentioned above. I did want to try the functionality out so I installed the Menu Customizer plugin from the repository. After activating the plugin the site crashed when trying to access the customizer with `Fatal error: Call to undefined method`.

      This is on a clean install of WordPress 4.2.2, 2015 theme, and no additional plugins, all running locally on a VVV box.

      For me, as an average user, I don’t understand how such a huge decision could be made to not only move forward with this, but to quickly remove the menu admin screen, when the plugin implementing the functionality doesn’t even seem to be stable at this point.

      Something minor I can understand, and I understand that it’s a feature that is under development – but my _first experience_ with this functionality was a white screen, on a completely clean site.

      I don’t get it.

      • Jimmy Smutek 7:52 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        *note – it would have helped if I were running 4.3 alpha, as the plugin requirements state.

        Sorry about that.

      • Konstantin Obenland 4:38 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I don’t understand how such a huge decision could be made to not only move forward with this, but to quickly remove the menu admin screen

        There are currently no plans to remove the existing menu admin screen. While the proposal suggested it, it was never part of the decision to merge the existing plugin.

    • John Teague 8:16 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I have read through the many comments here today, and also on twitter and elsewhere and decided to write a rare blog post with my views on it. I mainly did this because I have been having this conversations for several months now, and I also agree with @carlhancock on many of his points. Might be worth a read, might agree, or you might want to run me out of town on a rail. But for what it’s worth: http://johnteague.me/wordpress-admin-ui-moving-to-squarespace-ui/

    • leehodson 1:06 am on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I don’t get it. Why replace the existing menu editor with something that adds more clicks to the menu creation process. Why not replace the whole process with a more visually intuitive menu editor that lets users build menus exactly as they display on screen? e.g. drag page tabs directly into the menu bar they will be used in.

      Maybe look for enhancements of the existing system before we move it to the Customizer. For example, the existing menu management system could be enhanced with collapsible top-/sub-level menu items so that lengthy menus can be more easily managed.

      I dislike using Customizer for widget management. Looking at the video I know I will not enjoy using the Customizer for menu management.

      Change can be good and I look forward to seeing the WordPress UI develop. I just don’t like the idea of change being implemented for the sake of it or because the intended result feels cute. Not keen on this particular change.

      • designsimply 2:41 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for your feedback. The changes were definitely not just made for the sake of it, and making an assumption like that isn’t really fair nor is it a good conclusion based on how much detail is in the proposal about the thought that went into the improvements and the amount of work people volunteered to do to get it to the proposal stage. :)

        You mentioned you watched the video, but it sounds like you did not test the plugin. Would you be willing to test?

    • kimstuart 4:08 am on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think it’s a terrible idea for a number of reasons that have already been stated. It’s a terrible mobile experience, it’s a badly designed UI for a desktop experience, and it’s overcomplicating the situation for a vast number of users.

      Envato etc will become even bigger than they are – authors will write themes that people like and want to use and when they are installed, they’ll just start hiding all the parts that don’t work for what their buyers like. And those authors don’t care a whit about being in the repo, they care about cashing checks from sales.

      And what’s the hurry to gin this up so fast anyway? There seem to be a large enough number of objections from qualified people that it should trigger a review of the whole process in more detail, with some serious testing on the possible side effects.

    • Philip Arthur Moore 4:33 am on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Please understand how much time, money, blood, sweat, and tears go into training users for WordPress. Deprecating the Menus screen because there’s not currently interest in it is a very poor argument. I understand the importance of the Customizer, and as a developer use it as much as possible. But trying to force feed this down users’ throats will ultimately cause people to abandon the product. The overwhelming consensus in the comments on this thread and on Twitter, blogs, etc., is that this is a bad move. I truly hope that Menus sticks around the Appearance screen until Menus in the Customizer (and anything in the Customizer) is made better. Right now it feels like we’re trying to create solutions to problems that don’t exist.

      • designsimply 2:43 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Deprecating the Menus screen because there’s not currently interest in it is a very poor argument.

        Would you be willing to work on the menus admin page? It sounds like it needs some love!

      • Konstantin Obenland 4:33 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        There are currently no plans to remove the existing menu admin screen. While the proposal suggested it, it was never part of the decision to merge the existing plugin.

        • Jon Brown 7:51 am on June 14, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Even if not removing the existing menu admin screen it sounds like “it’s dead” and no one is ever going to fix the trac tickets for that screen.

          For example is #14134 going to be set to wontfix? or is the idea that their actually fixed by the customizer? (not: I still can’t get the menu customizer working on large menus that used to be an issue with #14134, it just hangs making it no better than the old admin screen).

          Elsewhere it’s been said that the idea is the admin will remain for “power users”, but what good is that if it still doesn’t work for power users?

          Just want to raise what “fixed” actually means in this context before tickets start getting marked “fixed”

    • Piet Bos 6:30 am on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Something I don’t understand. I was under the impression that it is a PROPOSAL, right?

      But I just find an email in my inbox that says “It was approved for merge” (https://make.wordpress.org/core/2015/06/05/dev-chat-summary-june-3/)

      How does that work exactly?

      Can anybody shed light on this?

      • Tom 11:40 am on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I am not sure of the official process (or if there even is one), but here is what I believe has happened:

        The decision to develop Menu Customizer as a “feature plugin” was made a long time ago. The intention of Feature Plugins is that one day they will end up in core.

        On June 3rd at 1am the official proposal to merge the plugin into core was made. The surprise here is the proposal was not just “it’s ready to merge”, but also included the idea of removing the existing menu page.

        Between 1am and 9pm, 11 people had commented on the proposal, most of them opposing the idea of removing the menu page. At 9pm the dev meeting was held and a handful of developers gave it the go ahead. Important note: the proposal to remove the existing menu page was not approved, that will be decided on some time in the future.

        Most of the comments you see here and social media have been made since the dev meeting was held.

        My take on the decision to merge was that it’s just a formality. The decision that the Menu Customizer would one day end up in core was made a long time ago. The dev meeting was just to discover whether it will be ready or not for 4.3.

      • designsimply 2:34 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Roughly, the process is that developers who take time to create and submit new features go through the checklist guidelines on the following link and then the core developers, together with the release lead, decide whether to approve. There are a lot of factors involved, but this page in the core handbook has a good overview:
        https://make.wordpress.org/core/handbook/how-the-release-cycle-works/features-as-plugins/

        If you are interested in contributing code or learning more about how WordPress gets made, you should definitely check out the core handbook.

    • Bowe 7:29 am on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      What I don’t get is why for some reason everything that includes a “Live” preview should be tucked into the customiser. I can absolutely see the benefit of having a live preview of your new menu before you put it live. So what about just doing what WP has been doing for years with Post previews? Why don’t they add a big nice, shiny “Preview Menu” to the existing (incredibly well made) Menu manager that shows how your new menu will look? And what if this preview window would automatically refresh whilst you are working on your menu. You could dedicate a full browser tab/window to having constant live previews without having to cram all of this advanced functionality into one screen.

      And if that previewer works you can look at using some of the awesome JS stuff in Core to load this preview through a fancy animated JS/AJAX preview. This way you could move towards a preview that does not require a second browser tab/window to be open. Like this: http://codyhouse.co/demo/animated-page-transition/about.html

      What I’m trying to say here is.. It feels and seems like the Core team has decided in order to move WordPress forward it needs to make things more clear and easy to the user through showing changes as they happen. I think this is a great idea but hinging all of this on the Customiser simply because it’s the only part of WP that currently offers this type of live preview functionality is troublesome.

      Please reconsider this way of moving forward Core devs. I think it’s a mistake from especially an user experience point of view.

    • buzztone 9:58 am on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I see no issue with Menus being added to the Customizer. Objective measurement of its popularlity there, compared to the current Menu UI, could then be used to justify subsequent removal of the Admin Menu UI.

      Personally I’d be extremely surprised if Customizer Menus ever show the popularlity necessary to justify removal of the current Menu UI.

    • Jimmy Smutek 4:44 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      @designsimply – I’ll help test. I already have a local test site setup with 4.3 Alpha, I have the plugin installed, and have been messing around with it.

      @Nick Halsey mentions education being an issue. I’m all for education and am more than willing to help out where I can and keep an open mind. @Bowe asks [this question](https://make.wordpress.org/core/2015/06/03/feature-plugin-merge-proposal-menu-customizer/#comment-26036 “Permalink”), above:

      >Since it’s already approved for merge in core you’d think.. I dunno.. that you’d tested this before accepting it into core?

      That’s a pretty good point, and a fair question. Can someone answer that?

      • Nick Halsey 10:44 am on June 6, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It has definitely been tested with lots of menus with lots of items (I’ve played with 4-5 level deep and confirmed that you can do up to ten deep, and menus of roughly 50+ items). But of course the best testing comes in real-world usage, so if anyone is able to test with actual sites and menus (on local copies of course) that’ll help us identify and address any issues before the feature is actually released.

    • nickmg 6:11 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Joining the discussion in the official channel based on recommendation from others. To me the inclusion of the menu system in the Customizer is just scratching the surface of a much bigger issue.

      The core of the problem in my opinion is the current implementation of the Customizer. You want to have a Customizer with a live preview? Fine, no objections there. But if you do such thing, please step back and understand the importance and the implications of not doing it right.

      More specifically, the Customizer is designed and implemented with the Mobile First, Responsive guidelines in mind. Indeed, on a mobile device the Customizer looks and works fine. Great job, well done! No complaints there. Provided that I want to use an iPhone to control my site settings. But that’s another conversation.

      The problem, however, is when you start using the Customizer on the desktop. Then what you see is a cluttered, crowded space, with navigating options that don’t make much sense in the desktop world. The irony is that the UI doesn’t even take advantage of the desktop wide screens. Why, because the width of the Customizer is designed to fit the mobile screen in vertical position.

      To accomplish simple tasks, you need to make several clicks, provided you know where to click first. As many others have said here there are so many UX issues with the Customizer UI, so I am not going to repeat them. And why did this happen in the first place? Because we tried to have one code base for the mobile and desktop versions. Why? Because that’s what flies currently as the dominating design trend and is cheaper. What could have been done and could be done differently going forward? Accept the fact that Desktop and Mobile UX are two different animals and treat them differently. Yes, it’s more expensive. Yes, it’s more work. Yes, it’s worth it.

      The irony of the situation is that mobile users are now treated as first class citizens while it’s clear that the desktop users are an afterthought. And then while having these priority in place — “Mobile first, Desktop last” (punt intended), ask yourself how likely is to design the look and feel of your site on an iPhone.

      Until this problem is acknowledged and addressed we will keep arguing whether a particular element is content or design, and whether it should be included in the Customizer or not.

      • Helen Hou-Sandi 8:55 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The customizer has been around since 3.4 but was only made usable on smaller screened devices in the last release (4.2). It was definitively not created “mobile-first”.

        • nickmg 9:56 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Yours is a rather selective definition. Tablets are mobile devices as well and version 3.4 was obviously designed to work on tablets. See https://make.wordpress.org/core/2012/05/03/wordpress-3-4-tablets-touch-ui/

          I don’t remember whether at the time the mantra “Mobile First” was formulated or not, but that’s not so important. What’s important is that from day one, the Customizer was designed with Mobile interface in mind. Again, nothing wrong with that. What’s wrong is to impose mobile friendly UI onto the desktop and when users complain about it to put the blame on the users. That’s what is wrong.

          It’s another matter that users when complaining about the Customizer UI are not able to articulate best the meat of the problem. But that’s the job of the Product Manager — to collect all the data and make the best interpretation out of it. Because when people complain in droves there is a good reason for it — they are not happy with what you are offering them. Nitpicking on what is a content and what is not is taking away the focus from the main issue.

          • Helen Hou-Sandi 3:31 am on June 6, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I was an active contributor during 3.4. That tablet/touch team did not have much, if any, crossover with the customizer. In fact, that team existed exactly because we needed to retrofit touch capabilities into the admin – the opposite of mobile-first. In any case, I think we can agree that the particular details of that are not important – what is interesting is that your perception of things is that they are developed as “mobile first” when my experience has been the opposite, in particular with the customizer, which I personally spent many hours fixing on small screen iOS devices during 4.2 because it was not created with them in mind whatsoever. So to your specific point about the customizer being designed around iPhones – it categorically was not. We made no effort to cater to devices/windows under 600px wide until 3.8.

            I’m going to take a little time to think through how the perception of “mobile-first” comes about, though, because it is very interesting to me. I find the term to essentially be meaningless, since as we do very much agree, UX needs to be treated very differently between different contexts, which includes but is not limited to devices and their capabilities.

            • nickmg 4:39 am on June 6, 2015 Permalink

              First of all, Thank you for contributing to WordPress. I want you to know that your contribution is highly appreciated. WordPress is a great product which we all love and that’s why we are so passionate about it.

              Getting back to the discussion, I don’t want to shift it to details which are more of a semantic nature rather than substance. When I use the term “mobile first” I don’t mean to say that the first incarnation of the Customizer was done so it can work on smart phones. It could be just my perception as you imply, but from what I have seen, it is my belief that the first version of the Customizer was tablet friendly, which we all would hopefully agree is a mobile device.

              Anyway, the philosophy behind the “mobile first” trend implies that mobile devices as targeted devices are of higher priority, and than the Desktop. As such, more attention and effort is put on the mobile devices than on the Desktop.

              I am very optimistic and thankful that you will take the time to try to understand why the term “mobile first” is not meaningless to me. Because if you do so, you might be able to understand the problem at the very core, not as the symptom which this thread is about. Then you and the people involved would be empowered to make the right decisions and to change course accordingly.

              To me a first step towards resolution of this problem would be accepting the fact that the Customizer UX on the Desktop is not ideal and the navigation principles found in the Customizer are mostly used in the mobile devices.

              Please let me know what else I can do to help you understand better the origin of the “mobile first” perception in my thought process.

    • Kai 7:16 pm on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ve tried the plugin on a site with ~ 50 menu items and, to be honest, it wasn’t better or worse than the current menu manager.
      I think it would really help the project if you manage to improve the shortcomings of the current menu manager, like ( ignoring the open issues this preview version obviously has) :

      • add a switch for a “minimized” item view (just title text, smaller font etc) while dragging/reordering long menus
      • allow for toggling sub-menus

      And in general: I wonder why the whole customizer wrapper isn’t wider on larger screens resp. resizeable (to a certain max-width )?

      • Nick Halsey 11:26 am on June 6, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for the feedback. I generally feel about the same way in terms of handling larger menus – the experience is about the same, I’d say slightly better. I definitely think we’ll be able to improve that by doing things like the ability to collapse sub-menus in future releases.

        I recently started using a large-screen desktop setup (for non-wp things) for the first time and several years, and could see the benefits to going a bit wider than 300px on very large screens (larger than 1600px, would probably set a breakpoint around 1750px). However, while parts of the UI would scale up, it would still be one-column, and I don’t think the width should be user-configurable. I think we need more contributors and feedback from those that use these sizes of devices regularly to make a decision here. See https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/32296.

        • Piet Bos 3:12 am on June 7, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          A screen wider than 1600px is definitely **not** a “very large screen”. Perhaps it is in your perception, but that is not a global definition of a very large screen.

          If we take for instance the iMac. The smallest iMac has a screen of 21.5″ (on my 2009 iMac that is a maximum screenwidth of “only” 1920px). Yeah, it’s a large screen, but not very large as it is the smallest in the iMac family. The other one is no less than 27″, which I would qualify as “very large”.

          As I suggested on the Trac ticket (https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/32296#comment:14) I would suggest 1 breakpoint of 1280px. Below that use a width of 300px, above it use a width of 600px.

          • Nick Halsey 12:50 am on June 8, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            We absolutely would not make a jump in the size like that. We already have issues with the preview window being too small and triggering responsive layouts. I’ve never had problems with 300px on my 1600px laptop. On larger screens than that, I could see allowing proportionally more width but it wouldn’t make sense to have an arbitrary jump; it should grow slightly as screen size increases. Which would allow there to be different experiences more optimized to the exact device size, such as 21″ or 27″ as you mentioned (no idea how those compare in terms of pixels).

    • OdysseyForge 3:51 am on June 6, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The customizer is pretty awesome and it’s a fantastic design tool.That’s what it should be limited to as implemented. There’s a reason that frontend designer / developer and backend designer / developer are often split across two to four individuals. They’re often very different. The customizer is the WRONG tool for managing menus. The frontend is the WRONG place to be editing anything that isn’t just styling as it exists. The menu customizer is a nice OPTIONAL way to deal with WP menus and it should NOT become the ONLY way.

      WP also has an awesome granular role / capability system. It allows backend access to be tailored to nearly any situation. The customizer is not particularly well suited to this task and is quite immature as compared to the Appearance -> Menus screen. Moving the menu screen to the frontend removes that flexibility and degrades the client experience at once. If Automattic is ok with sending us a check to cover the time lost to retraining and support for what is / will seem to the client as an unnecessarily large change, then that’s at least something. Since that’s not at all likely to happen, I pray you all come to your senses and finally dispense with this rash foolishness until you’re better able to execute on an idea like this. By WP v5 maybe but you’re nowhere near ready to pull such a large change like this off well.

      If the plan for the “removal” of the old menus admin screen moves forward as described here, We may have to make some hard choices regarding whether we continue to use WordPress for new projects. If you insist on dragging everyone kicking and screaming into the customizer then we may either choose to stop using any version past v4.2 or fork WordPress itself. Neither are great options but if you remove the choice to allow people to continue to use the dashboard instead of the Customizer for Menu management, could you really blame us?

    • carlhancock 3:04 pm on June 6, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Who is in charge of leading the direction of the WordPress UI from a long term project standpoint? At one time I know that Jen Mylo played that role. Who is that person today? Is there one?

    • Ryan Boren 12:58 am on June 7, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Use the beta tester plugin to put a site on the bleeding edge nightly track and install the Menu Customizer plugin as described here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/browse/beta/

      The Menu Customizer plugin is updated nightly, as we try to do with all feature plugins. The beta tester plugin will automatically update your site to the latest core nightly every night.

      That’s a pretty convenient way to follow 4.3 development. With that in place, create a captioned gallery visual record full of your feedback. Like this: https://make.wordpress.org/flow/2015/06/04/menu-customizer-iphone-6/

      We could really use visual records that compare flow through nav-menus.php with flow through the menu customizer. In fact, comparison vizrecs should be one of the feature plugin merge requirements:

      https://make.wordpress.org/core/handbook/how-the-release-cycle-works/features-as-plugins/

      Here are some example comparison vizrecs. These are very useful and valuable.

      https://make.wordpress.org/flow/tag/flow-comparison/

      I don’t say patches welcome. That’s way too high a bar for having an opinion. I will say visual records welcome. Everyone who commented on this thread is capable of applying their opinions to a set of screenshots and publishing them as a captioned gallery using the tool we all make. Pick a goal, such as adding a menu to the top of the front page containing Home, About, what have you. Start on the front page and show the flow. It sounds like those in this thread have insight into actual, real user flows. Document those in a vizrec using both nav-menus.php and the menu customizer. Compare the two flows for yourself and show your work in a captioned gallery visual record. Help us curate these flows and increase our awareness of what our users are really doing.

      And don’t just do this on desktop. Do this on mobile. Do this on every device you have. There is a lot of desktop bias and mobile blindness in our development community. We are WordPress. We will put the open web in pockets and make it capable and usable. We must be competent on phones.

      • Piet Bos 3:16 am on June 7, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Just wondering why core dev seems to be so keen on making theme settings work on mobile is a necessity? Who in his/her right mind would want to do anything related to the Customizer on for example an iPhone???

        • Ryan Boren 4:18 am on June 7, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Many people don’t have a laptop. I use mine mainly to test. I start, customize, and maintain most of my sites on an iPhone 6+. Not accommodating mobile is how 23% slides instead of rising to 51.

          And, we are an open source project dedicated to the open web, regardless of device. That is part of our philosophy and soul. We will not force our users into walled gardens.

    • nickmg 5:47 pm on June 7, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Agreed that all devices have to be supported. Anyone who wants to use an iPhone to administer their site should be free to do so. In my opinion the majority of people who are not happy with the direction the Customizer is taking, don’t mind the fact the Customizer works on mobile devices. Also agreed that the backlash is coming from the ones who use the Admin predominantly on the Desktop, hence the “Desktop bias”

      It seems to me the main point we are trying to communicate (if I may speak for the part of the Community not happy with the direction the Customizer is taking) is not well understood. It could be that we are not describing well what the issue is or there is not a real will on behalf of the leadership team to listen and interpret what we are saying. Or it could be both.

      Because of that, I am going to make one more attempt to communicate what seems to me to be at the core of the problem and then ideally we can get to the root cause. The inclusion of the Menu Editor in the Customizer is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the last grain of sand which triggers the avalanche of backlash. As such, it’s critical we treat it as a symptom, not the root cause.

      Below is a short list (far from being complete) of the main issues with the Customizer:

      1. Not everyone believes there is a need for the Customizer. The Admin “as is” is just fine.
      2. The ones who need the Customizer and want to use it are not happy with the user experience on the Desktop:

      • UI is slow
      • Not intuitive
      • Cumbersome
      • To accomplish something requires multiple navigational actions.
      • Available space is too little and feels overwhelmingly crowded.

      So when we say that the UI follows the trend “Mobile First” what we are trying to say is that the overall design and navigational principles used by the Customizer are better suited for mobile devices than the desktop. I think the use of this term is what is throwing off some of the core contributors. They seem to take the term too literally and get caught in the semantics instead of trying to interpret what we are trying to say.

      So while we are headed to expansion from 23 to 50, let’s not alienate the group who mostly do their work on the Desktop, because if this continues to be the trend, the math will work out the other way — from 23 to 10.

      How would we know that our voice is heard and understood?

      A first step would be to freeze all development effort of the Customizer and go back to the drawing board. Then summarize all use cases – from self hosted DIY makers, to Managed Hosting Solutions, to Enterprise Market. Then, and only then you will see that not everyone needs the Customizer. The ones who do will want first class experience, however, not something that feels like an afterthought, like a step child. Because if you listen carefully and filter out the noise, you then may be able to understand that the Desktop users feel like being left behind for the sake of Mobile users.

      • Ryan Boren 3:34 pm on June 8, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        > 1. Not everyone believes there is a need for the Customizer. The Admin “as is” is just fine.

        The customizer is about live previewing changes. There is emphatically a need for that.

        The customizer is also about pulling together the things that affect front end visuals. Pulling title and tagline out of settings is one of the most important things the customizer does.

        Aside: Toolbar > Customize is my first stop after setting up a new site, and I setup a lot of them, each with a different focus and flow. I set up sites on several major hosts. I have visual records for mobile and desktop that go from a host’s front page, through their onboarding, through extremely mobile unfriendly cpanel gesticulations, and on through changing the theme, title, and tagline with the customizer via Toolbar > Customize.

        > UI is slow

        Agreed. This needs to be improved. Widgets load in, in particular, feels slow. There is work in progress to speed things up.

        > Not intuitive
        > Cumbersome

        I think the navigation rework we’re testing in trunk improves this.

        > To accomplish something requires multiple navigational actions.

        More so than bouncing around the admin and juggling between admin and front end due to lack of live preview? This is why I want flow comparison visual records of real user flows. This is where contributors to this thread could really help.

        > Available space is too little and feels overwhelmingly crowded.

        Customizer is about live preview. Thus, the big preview area. The big preview area caters to desktops, not mobile. Sidebars are not at all mobile friendly.

        Overwhelmingly crowded is how many describe wp-admin. Aside: reducing crowding is something I’d really like to see feature plugins experiment with.

        I’d rather navigate the customizer than navigate the Appearance screens in wp-admin, and I created most of those screens.

        > So when we say that the UI follows the trend “Mobile First” what we are trying to say is that the overall design and navigational principles used by the Customizer are better suited for mobile devices than the desktop.

        As detailed elsewhere in this thread, the customizer was designed for the desktop. Until recently, it was not usable on mobile. The customizer doesn’t follow a mobile first trend, it follows a desktop biased “customizer with live preview” trend.

        > A first step would be to freeze all development effort of the Customizer and go back to the drawing board. Then summarize all use cases – from self hosted DIY makers, to Managed Hosting Solutions, to Enterprise Market. Then, and only then you will see that not everyone needs the Customizer. The ones who do will want first class experience, however, not something that feels like an afterthought, like a step child. Because if you listen carefully and filter out the noise, you then may be able to understand that the Desktop users feel like being left behind for the sake of Mobile users.

        I agree with summarizing all use cases. I want visual records for every use case brought up in this thread.

        Of course not everyone needs a customizer. I and many others do, however. I want live preview. I want the things I change most often to be in the customizer where I can see the result of my fiddling. That includes menus. Live preview of my menu changes will be powerful and beautiful.

        Desktop users shouldn’t be feeling left behind. They are still catered to almost exclusively, customizer included. We’re getting better on mobile, but we are still chock full of desktop bias.

    • Mel Choyce 12:04 am on June 8, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Really excited to see this merged. This is a really fantastic feature that I, for one, am going to use a lot once it’s in core. It keeps even more of the site building process in the Customizer, making the initial site setup and build much easier and faster for users.

      I think it’s pretty clear that the tremendous work put into this feature will help improve the Customizer as a whole as it moves forward and is iterated upon.

    • Fabien Quatravaux 8:35 am on June 11, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      A lot of the negative feedback posted here is about the Customizer not being easy to use. I was really surprised, as my thoughts (and the feedbacks I have from my clients) are exactly the opposite : Customizer is easier to use than other admin pages. That’s because everything is right there : you do not have to look for the right admin page to modify this or that. And that’s because changes can be seen immediately : you know exactly want you are doing.

      In the next WordPress Meetup I will attend in my local area (Le Mans, France), the subject will be : how to setup and customize a new site. We are targeting small shops owners and new WordPress users and will use the Customizer heavily. I think the Customizer is a perfect tool for new WordPress users.

    • dinamiko 10:58 am on June 13, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I tested the menu customizer plugin and I think that it maybe can be a cool feature in the future but right now in my opinion needs a lot of improvement.

      As for including it in 4.3, I think that although it will be a good and tested version in the future, maybe will be better that it continues as a plugin, there are a lot of users that not need these features and there are other users that love it, so for the users that love it, they can use it as a plugin.

  • Nick Halsey 7:07 pm on December 19, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , menus   

    Menu Customizer: Call for Contributors 

    After a few months off from working on the Menu Customizer to focus on improving the Customizer API in core, I’m starting to pick up development on the feature-plugin. Now that it’s approaching a reasonably usable state, and is compatible with the latest major release of WordPress (4.1), I’d like to begin efforts to see if we can propose merging it into core for WordPress 4.2.

    But there is a lot of work to be done. When Menu Customizer was my GSoC project, it was closed to contributors per GSoC rules. But development is now open to everyone, and I could use a lot of help with both development and non-development tasks. Here’s a list of items that need work:

    •  Development
      • Build-out the core API for adding Customizer sections and controls entirely with JavaScript, #30741 and its related tickets (PHP, JS)
      • Drag & Drop menu item reordering needs to do sub-menus (code imported from nav-menus.php is commented out in menu-customizer.js currently) (JS)
      • Fix problems with previewing updates to menu items, and with previewing newly-added menus once items are added (JS)
      • Eliminate the PHP closure that currently facilitates menu previewing, for PHP 5.2 compatibility (PHP)
      • Redo the add-menu-items “panel” to lazy-load its contents & utilize Backbone sub-views (PHP, JS)
      • Improve the core Customizer on mobile, then make Menu Customizer work on mobile (CSS)
      • Think about an API or otherwise action hooks to allow plugins to add menu item fields, #27066, #21898, #18584, etc. (PHP)
      • Inline docs audit, once we’re mostly done (PHP, JS)
      • Comprehensive code review by people like @westonruter, @ocean90, or @nacin, once we’re mostly “done”, preferably before a core merge proposal. Initial code review/cleanup from anyone can start now
    • Design
      • Overall UI audit/review, propose changes
      • Consider things like #29158 in relation to how the menus UI looks
      • Discuss approach to screen options (currently an icon in the Menus panel header)
      • UX audit, propose changes
      • Evaluate user flows & menus use-cases
      • Conduct user tests
    • Other
      • General user feedback – getting the word out about the plugin and collecting feedback (reviews & support forms on the .org repo would be a good place for feedback). Anyone reading this can try the plugin and provide feedback too :)
      • Accessibility audit
      • Backwards-compatibility audit; in particular, assessing whether Menu Customizer could replace the Menus admin screen, and what further features or use-cases would need to be addressed to do so
      • Research the history of the Menus UI in core and document how Menu Customizer addresses ongoing concerns; also consider open tickets in the Menus component (for merge proposal)

    Development is happening on the WordPress.org plugins repo the a GitHub repo. Some helpful links: create a ticket, Menu Customizer tickets, development log. It’ll probably also be possible to contribute via Github if that’s your preference – talk to @westonruter about how he does it.

    This project will primarily take place over the next month, when core development is largely on hold for the holidays and between releases, and when I’m in between semesters at school. The goal is to be merge-ready before the 4.2 feature-plugin merge consideration happens in January. If you’re interested in helping out, please comment on this post or ping me in WordPress Slack in #core (@celloexpressions).

    Due to the timing of this project around the holidays, we’ll probably do mostly asynchronous communication, but I would like to try a kick-off meeting in #core Slack on Monday, December 22, 2014 18:00 UTC; please come by if you’re interested!

     
    • diddledan 9:11 pm on December 19, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi Nick,

      you may find my plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/custom-menu-fields/ useful as it provides an api for menu fields to be added by plugins. I’ve not updated it in a while, but you’re welcome to have a look and reuse anything you like the look of (we are all GPL afterall :-p) – I might be able to have a look at your code over the weekend or holiday period and see if I can develop and send you any patches I think you might find useful.

    • Nick Halsey 7:51 pm on December 22, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Had our first meeting today. Ongoing discussion will happen in the new #core-customize channel on Slack, so stop by if you have any feedback or want to help out!

  • Nick Halsey 12:20 am on August 8, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , menus   

    GSoC Menu Customizer Update: Live-previewing Menus 

    I’ve finished implementing menu-previewing in the Menu Customizer plugin, building on the scalable approach to saving menus that I discussed in my last update. The entire Menus experience is now consolidated into a Menus panel in the Customizer, where you can preview your menus as you make changes. It’s really nice to have Menus easily accessible alongside the rest of the site-appearance-management tools in the Customizer.

    I only have about a week and a half left in my GSoC project, and I’m hoping to focus on improving the add-new-menu-item panel in my remaining time, making it scale and implementing the search functionality. I’m also planning on cleaning up the codebase and implementing the ability to manage menu hierarchy (submenus).

    If you’re interested in testing the Menu Customizer, and live-previewing changes to your menus, you can get the plugin here. Please note that it currently requires PHP 5.3+, but it’s getting less and less alpha by the day.

    Post-GSoC Plans

    After the GSoC coding period is over, I’m planning on transitioning Menu Customizer development to the feature-plugin format, gathering a group of interested contributors and holding weekly meetings to coordinate our efforts. While it won’t be ready for core consideration by 4.1, and requires some more core Customizer infrastructure to really work well, we’ll continue working on the plugin until menus in the Customizer really shine, and are ready for core.

     
  • Nick Halsey 3:15 pm on July 15, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , menus   

    GSoC Menu Customizer Update: Scalable Menus 

    Since my last GSoC update, I’ve spent a fair amount of time helping prepare the Customizer for 4.0 beta 1. But I’ve also continued working on the Menu Customizer and have a lot of progress to report.

    Add & Delete Menus

    You can now add new menus, via the “+ New Menu” section. Added menus currently have some issues, though; you’ll probably need to reload the page before adding items works. The problems stem from the lack of a proper JS API for adding, deleting, and managing Sections and Settings (and Panels), and the incompleteness of the existing Control JS API. This will probably need to be resolved in core before the Menu Customizer can be considered for core integration, see #28709.

    I’ve also implemented a menu-deletion mode, which can be toggled from the add-menu section. It’s too easy to delete menus otherwise, even with an AYS confirming the delete, because deleted menus cannot be restored, and are not “previewed” before being published to the db (added menus aren’t either). It’s probably worth augmenting the AYS to state the menu name being deleted, and to add an extra warning if it’s active in a theme location or a widget.

    Saving Menus and Menu Item Data in a Scalable Way

    In core, menus do not scale well at all. You don’t have to look very deep into the code to see why – massive amounts of data for each item are hidden on the admin screens (much of which never changes) and then must be updated every time a change is made.

    Since one of the goals of this project is to experiment with new approaches, I’ve begun implementing a new approach for saving menu data, which is currently in use in the plugin. Thanks to my mentors @ethitter and @obenland for guiding me on the best approach to take here, and @westonruter for the way he implemented the Widget Customizer UI, which inspired this exact approach. Here’s how it works:

    • Each menu has a nav_menu Customizer control that contains an ordered array of numerical menu item ids (known throughout the core menus codebase as their db ids).
    • When an item is added, it is created as an orphaned draft via ajax, and its id is added to the nav_menu setting’s array.
    • When an item is deleted, its id is removed from the nav_menu setting’s array.
    • When menu items are reordered, the order of ids in the nav_menu id is updated to match.
    • When menu items are moved into and out of sub-menus, the parent menu item id is updated in the individual item’s data (not yet implemented).
    • When a menu item field is changed (by default, this would mean changing the label or, for custom items, url fileds; there are screen options for several others), the original item is cloned and the copy is updated with the new data, using a wrapper for wp_update_nav_menu_item() that doesn’t require passing all existing (unchanged) menu item data. The cloned item’s id is returned and replaces the original id in the nav_menu setting (thereby marking the original item for deletion). Additional changes are saved to the cloned item until the settings are saved, at which point all items are marked for a new clone to be created if changes are made (not yet implemented).
    • When the user saves their changes from the Customizer (via the customize_update_nav_menu action), the array of ids is compared to the currently-published menu’s items. If there are items that are no longer present, those are marked for deletion. For each of the new ids, the corresponding menu item (which already exists) is updated to be published, assigned to the corresponding menu (for the new items created as orphaned drafts), and the item’s menu_order is set to the id’s position in the nav_menus setting array. Finally, all of the removed items are deleted.

    While menu previewing in the customizer is not yet implemented, it will also be able to use the nav_menu setting’s array of ids to display an augmented set of menu items. I’m also still working on ensuring that menu item data is not posted during the customize-save ajax, but the data isn’t needed so we’re most of the way there already.

    UI Aside

    customize-header-bigflat-buttons-close

    Quick aside: @DrewAPicture pointed out in IRC that the new Customizer close and panel-back icons don’t really match the save button. I’ve done some rough explorations of potential alternatives; if anyone’s interested in discussing them and possibly implementing a change here, feel free to ping me in IRC (@celloexpressions) and/or create a ticket and/or comment here.

    Finally, I’m hoping to finish implementing menu previewing by the end of this week, fully utilizing the Customizer. Once this is done, I’ll essentially be at feature-complete stage (other than some little details and several known bugs) and ready to iterate (I’m already planning on working on the add-menu-items backend, as it currently doesn’t scale).

     
    • michalzuber 5:30 pm on July 17, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m figuring out why is `@todo: Remove choices` in the `wp-includes/class-wp-customize-control.php` ? Couldn’t get it.

      • Nick Halsey 5:43 pm on July 17, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        That’s more related to the Customizer post, but I think that’s leftover from the initial customizer development in 3.4. We can remove the todo, since removing $choices is no longer an option due to back-compat.

    • Weston Ruter 8:26 pm on July 22, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      When an item is added, it is created as an orphaned draft via ajax, and its id is added to the nav_menu setting’s array.

      Something that I’ve been exploring with Customize Posts is the addition and deletion of postmeta. Instead of actually mutating the database, when creating new meta I’m creating faux post meta IDs and then referring to them in the preview filter. When saving the Customizer settings, these posts meta are then inserted at that time. It’s not quite done yet, as I need to now gather the post meta IDs that were inserted at the time of saving, and update the setting to refer to them.

      Generating a virtual post meta ID: https://github.com/x-team/wp-customize-posts/blob/85dc4e562ea806c17480899f5d94f93d42297de1/js/customize-posts.js#L611-L618

      Sanitizing a setting that includes virtual post meta ID: https://github.com/x-team/wp-customize-posts/blob/develop/php/class-wp-customize-posts.php#L303-L310

      It would be ideal if Menu Customizer could add new menu items virtually without touching the DB.

      • Nick Halsey 10:12 pm on July 22, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I’m not sure if it would be possible to add items without touching the DB in a scalable way. The primary reason for doing that is so that menu item data doesn’t need to be sent to the server all at once when saving, which causes scaling problems currently (for example, imagine if 100+ menu items were added to several different menus upon initial setup of a site – that data would all go up together).

        In the existing menus system, items are similarly added to the db via ajax before being made available for manipulation in the UI. So, the concept of orphaned draft menu item posts is existing and currently being leveraged here.

  • lessbloat 5:26 pm on February 8, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , menus   

    Menus Office Hours (Feb 7) 

    Here’s a recap of yesterdays office hours.

    Work accomplished since last office hours

    Major items discussed

    1) Theme locations continues to be our biggest design challenge. We discussed a bunch of options and decided to go with checkboxes for theme locations for now – while we continue to stew on alternative approaches.

    2) We discussed having settings at the top or the bottom, and settled on them being on the bottom.

    On the docket

    • Refactor accordion code (@lessbloat)
    • Re-assess CSS in latest patch (currently 23119.28.1.diff), and move colors to colors.css (Looking for a volunteer here)
    • Browser compat testing (Looking for a volunteer here)
    • No JS testing (Looking for a volunteer here)
    • Code review (Looking for volunteers here – hopefully from multiple people)
    • Commit what we’ve got

    After that

    • Any additional accessibility work
    • Additional code refactoring
    • Am I missing anything?

    p.s. @DrewAPicture, I added a title this time just for you. 😉

     
    • Drew Jaynes (DrewAPicture) 5:57 pm on February 8, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      RE: title, “He can be taught!”

      We also need to do an extensive round of RTL testing as well as completing docblocks for any new functions we’re introducing, @access private or not.

      I can start on no-js testing this weekend.

    • sireneweb 4:50 pm on February 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi, very nice :)
      When you use Mega drop down menu, you can’t delete all children from main menu. It would be great if we can Expand/Collaspe main menu and delete all children sub menu from main menu

      • lessbloat 6:14 pm on February 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I asked @jkudish to gather some data around avg number of menu items per menu for sites on WP.com. Out of 1000 random sites (with at least one menu added), here’s what the distribution looked like:

        Excluding the menus with zero items added, the average comes out to 5.

        So, based on this data, should we make some sort of expand/collaspe menu item functionality a part of core, or keep it in plugin territory?

        I think my preference would be to keep it as a plugin, but I’d love to hear everyones thoughts.

  • lessbloat 4:41 pm on February 1, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , menus   

    We had a great discussion yesterday during office hours. I’m excited to say that we’ve found our direction.

    We’ll only be focusing on changes to nav-menus.php for now.

    I just posted an updated diff containing some of the ideas we discussed.

    Remaining Tasks (already assigned to someone)

    • Test theme locations as checkboxes (@jkudish volunteered to code this up). Note: we decided to leave widgets as checkboxes out.
    • Menu selection dropdown should show location(s) it is used in (@DrewAPicture offered to tackle this)
    • A round of user tests on 23119.23.diff, plus additional testing once “theme locations as checkboxes” and the accordion code is ready
    • Updated copy for help tabs (both manage, and add/edit screen) (@DrewAPicture will oversee this)
    • Updated copy for ​https://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Menu_User_Guide (@DrewAPicture will oversee this)
    • Updated copy for ​https://codex.wordpress.org/Appearance_Menus_Screen (@DrewAPicture will oversee this)

    Remaining Tasks (still needing a volunteer)

    • Code up menu item boxes as an accordion for us to test (similar in style to customizer).
    • Code reviews (multiple people please :-))
    • RTL testing
    • Browser compatibility testing
    • No JS testing

    Comment below if you’re interested in helping out. Thanks!

     
    • Joey Kudish 4:46 pm on February 1, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      In addition to the checkboxes, I’ll help out with code reviewing and all the testing :)

    • Jon Brown 5:53 pm on February 1, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I agree that the checkboxes shouldn’t be there for widgets, that’s be very confusing IMHO. However, maybe there should be a little tool tip or note below theme locations directing users that “Menus can also be added tomwidget areas via the custom menu widget available on the widget settings page”.

    • Travis Northcutt 12:18 am on February 2, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      @lessbloat, what is the “deadline” for getting the accordion done for testing?

      • lessbloat 1:14 pm on February 4, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I’d like to wrap up all dev for this feature ASAP. I’ll likely pick it up if no one else grabs it by tomorrow.

  • lessbloat 2:53 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , menus   

    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 WordPress.com 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 blog/site.
    • Having to scroll to see all of the menu item meta 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 widget is not exposed anywhere.

    Did I miss anything?

     
    • cvernon 3:26 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      1.
      I agree theme locations isn’t working as it is now defined and managed.

      Most sites I make & use have only one menu, so I do not declare theme locations at all in the theme. This is how it should work, that you don’t need to understand the concept of theme locations unless you have many menus and know how you want to organize them. This should all be hidden by default.

      I like the idea of have the “base menu” concept just be a single menu that is not assigned a theme location, OR no menu at all in which case the fallback is to pull from all pages structure. Then if someone wants to get more complicated there should be another level of complication with multiple menus, in which case we want theme locations.

      2.
      Also, the way the wp_nav_menu() behaves differently [generates different html, accepts different arguments] whether or not any menu is declared [just takes the existing pages], or whether the menu is assigned to a theme location. This is a template tag issue but relates to how menus are managed in the admin & database.

    • deltafactory 3:41 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I agree with every point here. Two more thoughts, based more in the plugin/api area:

      The steps required to implement a “custom menu widget” are not obvious. At first glance at the code, it seems to rely on a complex interaction of both PHP and Javascript. The solution might be in documentation rather than changes to the code, but it’s still an area I would like to see improved.

      I would really like to see some additional filters to enable better caching alternatives. Even with an object cache, constructing a large menu results in a high number of cache hits. I have seen some opportunities to cache the menu item objects or even static HTML and greatly improve that part of the page output.

      If these requests aren’t out of scope, I can assist/suggest specific changes to code.

      • Bob Gregor 10:00 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        +1 on the unclear menu management API! I had almost forgotten how I had to reverse engineer the custom menu widget to create a plugin menu item interface. Not clear at all.

    • Philip Arthur Moore 3:43 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      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 WordPress.com 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.

      If my quick-and-dirty digging is correct, then only a very tiny handful of themes on WordPress.com use more than one menu in any significant manner, which means that the number of users who use more than one menu should be even smaller.

      I’d highly recommend approaching this problem with the direction that users will primarily need one custom menu for their blog, with the caveat that I’m sure the case could be made for more if a theme is more CMS-centric.

      • lessbloat 4:14 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for pulling this together Philip!

        If my quick-and-dirty digging is correct, then only a very tiny handful of themes on WordPress.com use more than one menu in any significant manner

        A couple thoughts:

        • My guess is that this is true for themes in general. So, I’m not sure how far off it is compared to wp.org usage.
        • Menus can also be added within widgets. My guess is that out of users who have multiple menus, chances are the majority of them only have one theme location menu, in addition to one or more custom menu widgets (again, just a hunch).
        • Even if all we get out of this is a better picture of how many users have no menus vs. one menu, I’d still find that hugely insightful.

        I’d highly recommend approaching this problem with the direction that users will primarily need one custom menu for their blog

        My gut agrees with you 100%. But it never hurts to at least attempt to back assumptions up with some data 😉

        • Bob Gregor 10:02 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          My experience with theme / custom WordPress development has shown that 98% of my client sites (wp.org) use just 1 menu location / no menu widgets.

        • Ricky Lee 12:23 am on January 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Having built close to 100 themes since release of Menus, I can say 1 primary and 30% of time using depth=1 for footer menu is correct. Just started using Theme Location attribute since switching to _s as our base theme before we gave clients Editor level permissions and named menu “Main”.

    • Frankie Jarrett 4:01 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great to see this list of pain ponts in priority. The more I think about it, the more I am liking the concept of a “base menu”.

      I just have a few more to add, which could perhaps fall under something already mentioned above, but I wanted to mention them anyway.

      1. Some users are finding it difficult to figure out how to nest menu items and create levels. There is no visual representation on the Menus screen that would suggest items can be clicked and dragged to the right to perform nesting.

      2. When adding a new item to a menu it is automatically appended to the end. This can create headaches for menus that are very long. It would be great to see the UI supporting drag and drop of the items directly into the menu list, similar to how widgets are placed in a sidebar area.

      3. Requiring that users go to Screen Options in order to select additional item fields (class, description, etc.) seems counterintuitive. It would seem that a simple “view more/view less” accordion could reveal the additional fields on a per-item basis.

    • Joey Kudish 4:58 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m going to attempt to gather some data from WordPress.com as to how many users have one menu vs. more than one vs. none.

      I went ahead and got this data for you. I selected 4 random sets of 1000 WordPress.com blogs that have had wp-admin activity in the month of January 2013. I then calculated for each blog how many menus they have (total, so regardless of how that menu is being used) and collated the results. 75.78% of blogs have no menus; 18.23% have 1 menu; 5.925% have more than 1 menu.

      I put together the full breakdown of my calculations here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AszYZoR3BU_jdHJmZHRTQ19PcGdHSWhhempWRzBDeHc#gid=0.

      Let’s keep in mind that this is WordPress.com users and not self-hosted users, and I suspect there is a significant higher amount of “power users” on the .org side, who use menus differently, via widgets (which is possible on WP.com), and by calling directly wp_nav_menu in their custom themes/plugins (which is not possible on WP.com).

      Hope this helps with deciding how to proceed.

      • lessbloat 5:48 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Very cool. Thanks so much for tackling this @jkudish! Even with your disclaimers in mind, I find this data insightful.

        Here’s a pie chart of the breakdown:

    • Jon Brown 5:50 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Maybe a crazy idea and maybe overly influenced by my personal preference for building on Genesis… But what about getting rid of theme locations all together in favor of a single primary menu location that automatic tied to the primary menu and making the rest widget areas? (note I think the widget UI is in far greater need of a make over than the menus, but that’s definitely OT here). My initial thought is additional menu areas would show up on the widget page and custom menu widget widgets could be dragged in?

      I’d thought a while back that menus should be more like links were. An interface to build the link list/menu, but not the interface that actually places menus/links on the page/theme.

      Note, don’t know that I love the idea, I typically build custom themes with 3 menu areas (above header, below header, footer), but separating placement of menus and construction of menus sounds like a great idea.

    • lessbloat 8:32 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      So, what if we used the number of menus a user has to determine what they should see. Here are my latest thoughts:

      If they have 0 menus

      About 76% of users would see this (based on WordPress.com’s stats).

      They’d see:

      • We’d auto populate the “blank slate” view with all of their existing pages. However, this menu is not actually created until they click “Save Menu”. If they navigate away from this page without clicking “Save Menu”, they will still technically have zero menus.
      • If they have only one theme location, we’d just use the theme location name (i.e. primary) as the menu name, and we’d auto assign this menu to their theme location upon saving.
      • We’d hide all “manage menus” functionality
      • And test using an accordion for the menu item options on the left (vs. meta boxes).

      So, if a user (with zero menus) came to the screen above, and immediately clicked “Save Menu”, they’d see:

      If they have 1 menu

      About 18% of users (based on WordPress.com’s stats).

      They’d see

      • We’d take them directly to the edit screen for that menu.
      • We’d hide all “manage menus” functionality

      So, based on the above approach (and the stats from WordPress.com), 94% of users would never see the management screen.

      If they have more than 1 menu

      After landing on menus, they’d see something like this:

      Clicking on a menu would take them to something like:

      Clicking the blue “Menus” header link (vs. showing tabs here), or the “menus” link under “Appearance” in the left nav would take them back to the manage menus view.

      When adding a menu

      Users would see:

      and then after creating their menu, if they had a single menu:

      If they had multiple menus, we’d link up “Menus” in the header.

      Other considerations

      Switching themes

      If a user has one menu, and the new theme has one theme location, and the user has no custom menu widgets, can we just auto-assign the existing menu to the theme location upon switching?

      Long menus (with lot’s of items)

      This makes menus hard to manage because you have to scroll to see all of your menu items, and when you add new menu items, they are added to the bottom by default.

      My preference (again based on usage stats) would be to keep this in plugin territory. This seems like it would make a great little plugin that could:

      1) Add collapsable tree functionality for menu items
      2) modify the “Add to Menu” button under each menu option to be a split button “Add to top”/”Add to Bottom”, and
      3) include drag and drop of menu items from the left.

      I don’t feel like this functionality should be exposed to the majority of users.

      Thoughts?

      • Joey Kudish 8:57 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        This seems like the logical way to proceed based on everything that we’ve talked about and worked on thus far. I’ll try to gather more usage stats about how users use menus from WordPress.com before our next office hours on Thursday.

        • Bob Gregor 10:17 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Thanks for those stats! Any chance you can find some stats on # of menu items?

          I think that will be very indicative of how we proceed with the UI.

          heres another view of the data you shared: http://cl.ly/image/143B0G3x2y3A definitely looks like a normal distribution.

          • Joey Kudish 2:47 pm on January 30, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Yes, I’ll gather more stats by Thursday afternoon and will include # of menu items per menu in that stat as well. Stay tuned.

      • lessbloat 2:12 pm on January 30, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Here’s an alternate flow that we may consider for when users have more than one menu. It ditches the management screen altogether in favor of a drop down.

        We tested using a drop down before (and it tested poorly), but I don’t think we put enough emphasis on it. It’s worth testing again, as long as it doesn’t overwhelm users (having so much on the same page).

        I also played around with adding check boxes under “use in”, as technically a user could use a single menu in multiple theme locations. I wonder if we could allow the user to select a widget placement from this screen as well via a check box. If they checked “Main Sidebar”, we’d auto-add a custom menu widget to the botom of the main sidebar widget area, and set the title of the custom menu widget as the name of the menu.

      • kwight 8:14 pm on January 30, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Do we even need the Optional Settings part in the 0 menus layout, as that’s default behaviour anyways?

        Also, +1 for your handling of long menus in plugin territory.

    • kwight 8:11 pm on January 30, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      +1 for the Dropdown. I expect it would test better in this format, as it’s distinguishable from the other side metaboxes (by, um, not being on the side), unlike the current layout.

    • Bob Gregor 9:17 pm on January 30, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      part of the problem with the discussion is that there is a large variety of use cases. Here is a visual: http://cl.ly/image/3t0i3g2Y1G0y

      The # of menus data shows the right column to be the typical use case. # of items data is TBD

    • Helen Hou-Sandi 9:25 pm on January 30, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      As much of a problem as theme locations are, I don’t think moving the assignment into the editing of a given menu is the solution. We are then adding a problem of what happens if multiple menus are assigned to the same location, because it then becomes possible to do so.

      Have some other thoughts I need to chew on. Will comment again when I have sentences :)

      • lessbloat 3:37 am on January 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I had two thoughts here. If a theme location currently has a menu assigned to it, we could :

        1) append the name of that menu (perhaps at #999), something like:

        and/or…

        2) onclick trigger a JS confirmation modal that says something to the effect of, “Are you sure you want to change your primary theme location from “Primary Menu” to “Main Navigation”?”.

    • Aaron D. Campbell 10:41 pm on January 30, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      There was plenty of discussion at the beginning of dev chat: https://irclogs.wordpress.org/chanlog.php?channel=wordpress-dev&day=2013-01-30&sort=asc#m543523

      It seems like http://f.cl.ly/items/3y2I0T1q2u3d3G3O0X1h/menus-multiple-select.png is pretty close and worth testing, with the one concern being the settings where a menu is assigned to a location.

    • Robert Chapin (miqrogroove) 10:59 pm on January 30, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It’s still difficult to add tags to a menu. I tend to fall back on making a list of custom URLs when I can’t find things. It’s usually easier and faster too.

      Assigning menus is definitely broken. Every time I activate a theme on a new site it looks messed up. There should be menus assigned by default when assignments are missing.

      • Aaron D. Campbell 11:13 pm on January 30, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Go to Screen Options, check the “tags” box, and then add them like you add anything else (check boxes on left and use “Add to Menu” button).

  • lessbloat 7:12 pm on January 23, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , menus   

    For tomorrows “Menu” office hours I only have one agenda item: To figure out where we’re headed with menus in 3.6.

    (More …)

     
    • Devin Reams 7:37 pm on January 23, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I like your concept.

      While it does require more screens to manage a menu (find the menu from the list, then click to edit it), I think simplifying and making the views granular is ideal:

      1. See all menus (then go edit them)
      2. Edit a menu’s contents
      3. Assign a menu to a theme location

      Some bloggers may only have one menu and this is overkill (just like those with one sidebar) but, many more complex sites may have dozens or a hundred menus, theme locations, etc. A question: what is harder and less flexible to satisfy all these possible use-cases?

      I also think a simpler, granular interface for each action may allow for better long-term goals: new enhancements, making it mobile/responsive friendly, etc.

    • Maor Chasen 8:58 pm on January 23, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I just love the 2nd approach. Especially liking the theme customizer integration. Though, I have never seen an internal use of breadcrumbs within the dashboard. It just seems out of place.

    • mssbee 2:19 am on January 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I like the first time menu screen. I am not a huge fan of more windows to open to get to what I want. Seems this whole project started from the thought that current menu screen is too difficult and even adding a home link is a challenge. I agree with Devin that the average user would probably have only one menu, as this might be overkill. Simple to me is simple interface that is intuitive that doesn’t take multiple clicks to get to.

    • Cliff Seal 2:35 pm on January 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think the flow of #2 would be most scalable and easiest for first-time menu creators to do what they want—but, can we incorporate the accordion-looking ‘Add Items…’ menu from the Nacin concept? I think all the individual CPT boxes, expanded automatically, become hard to locate at a glance.

    • iamronen 3:29 pm on January 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think that all three designs fail to address a core issue in the menu-editing screen. The left side that contains all the visual containers with sources of items to populate the menus is unpleasant to use when there is lots to choose from (many pages, posts, categories … not to mention websites with custom post-types … which create even more boxes).

      I’ve tried in the past to describe the problem in more detail here: http://www.odharma.com/2010/07/review-of-wordpress-menus-user-interface/

      The problem is (in my opinion) so severe that you would be hard-pressed to even draw a mockup that properly reflects the problem.

      This discussion started in a TRAC ticket where I mentioned a few more benefits from a modified design:
      1. My main point is that the second largest (if not largest) UI real-estate area should go to the “things I can add to the menu”.
      2. The tabbed area makes it possible to allocate more real-estate to each of the “types of things” that can be added to the menu. I see no need to have on screen at the same multiple sources. If I am looking for posts – then let me see just posts. When I want to select from pages or categories or anything else I don’t need to scroll down to look for them … and to lose sight (literally) of the menu I am working on.
      3. Within the tabbed area there is then plenty of space that can be used for better search and filtering.
      4. Because the spaces are tabbed it may be possible to do on demand loading of data (instead of loading everything, everytime the screen loads). That may drastically improve page performance …
      5. AND you can use that improved performance to do a smarter load … like indicating somehow which items have already been added to the menu.
      6. You can still add checkboxes for selecting multiple items and an “add to menu” button. However what I tried to suggest was one click add instead of two click add. Instead of clicking to select each menu and then having to move the moust somewhere else AND clicking one more time “add to menu” you simply add directly. It feels to me like a faster, smoother and more efficient experience (unless I am missing something).

      • lessbloat 2:22 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I think that all three designs fail to address a core issue in the menu-editing screen. The left side that contains all the visual containers with sources of items to populate the menus is unpleasant to use when there is lots to choose from (many pages, posts, categories … not to mention websites with custom post-types … which create even more boxes).

        I agree, in that it does suck to have to scroll down to get to additional menu item options. Let’s see if we can figure out a way to improve this.

        The problem is (in my opinion) so severe that you would be hard-pressed to even draw a mockup that properly reflects the problem.

        That indeed sounds like a severe problem. 😉

    • Robert Chapin (miqrogroove) 4:53 pm on January 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      So far none of these address the issue of adding Tags and Posts to menus.

      As for the screen layouts, I think two are appropriate considering there isn’t easy tabbing between menus.

    • lessbloat 2:14 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Office Hours Notes

      • See logs for full transcript.
      • We talked through likes & concerns for both options 1 & 2 above.
      • In the end we agreed to push forward with option 1.

      Next Steps

      • I plan to spend today working through all of the option 1 concerns (that we covered in office hours), and I’ll come up with another proposal for a mockup to move forward with (which I’ll post to this thread for review).
      • After that we’ll get a prototype hacked together, we’ll push a few cycles of user tests through it, and see how it performs.

      Ideas, mock ups, concerns, comments, criticisms are all welcome. :-)

    • lessbloat 2:03 am on January 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Here are some updated mockups based on our discussion Thursday.

      One Menu

      This is all the vast majority of users would see:

      Multiple Menus

      Custom Menu Widget

      Switching Themes

      Adding A New Menu

      Let me know what you think. I tried to cover all of the concerns mentioned in the meeting on Thursday.

      • Drew Jaynes (DrewAPicture) 2:33 am on January 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        These are great! Looking through these, I have a couple of concerns:

        • “Copy items from existing menu” is interesting, but will we be able to maintain the hierarchy when the items are copied over?
        • With “Switching Themes”, it isn’t immediately clear what the process is to “reassign” a menu to a theme location (the current workflow). After a moment, I realized you would “Copy items from existing menu” via “Other menus” but we should provide some kind of contextual help for that. Maybe in the empty menu space?
        • We’ll need to be careful of not assuming too much about users, especially in terms of this “editing one menu at a time” mentality with the surrounding controls.
        • Would “unattached” menus live under “Other Menus”, or is that strictly for theme switching?
      • iamronen 6:28 am on January 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        well done.

        I would consider better balance between the two halves of the screen. There seems to be a lot of potential dead space on the right (menu side) and a lot of crunched up stuff on the left (things to put in menu). I would try either 50-50 or even 60-40.

      • Joey Kudish 8:01 am on January 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Nice work. I really like the updated direction! A few comments:

        • I agree with Drew regarding switching themes, what happens then?
        • What happens if your theme supports several menu locations, it’s not quite clear to me from the mockups how it is that you assign menus to theme locations anymore.
        • Considering how little real estate the “add menu” button takes up and how valuable it might be to some users (especially those are now used to the current workflow) I am not convinced that hiding it by default is a great way to go about it. Could this be tested with existing users?
      • lessbloat 2:26 pm on January 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        So, my worry after working through all of these mockups is that by trying to be overly simplistic, we’re actually increasing complexity. :-(

        Have a peek through each of the mockups above, and I think you’ll see the same thing.

        Things I like

        • I really like the use of vertical tabs instead of meta boxes.
        • I like that for the majority of users they can jump right into building their menu, and that it is already assigned to a theme location.

        My concerns

        • The “Select a Menu” portion on the left hand side seems out of place to me. It doesn’t fit with the other two accordion options (add items, copy items). If a user is required to select from multiple menus, I still feel fairly strongly that we need to separate the “manage” functionality from “add/edit” functionality, otherwise there is just too much to take in on that single screen.
        • The concept of copying menu items from one menu to another works from a technical standpoint, but it seems overly complex.
        • To think that someone who just switched their theme will know to copy their menu items in order to bring their menu items over from their other theme is asking too much. Even if we could provide contextual help, it seems way more confusing than the way it is now (choose a menu for each theme location and click save).
        • I feel like this approach over complicates widget menu creation as well. The old way of adding a title, and selecting a menu seems like an easier flow to grok than forcing users to make a choice between creating a menu or selecting an existing one, and then switching contexts from widgets to menus and then back to widgets again in the same flow.
        • The concept of having “Menus in your theme”, and “other menus” under “Select a menu”, complicates things. It’s hard to tell the difference between the two. The user will wonder why they cannot delete the “menus in your theme” menus, but they can delete the “other menus”.
        • What happens if a user switches themes a dozen times (trying to find the right one). They’d come to menus and find at least a dozen menus from all the previous themes they tried (since the idea here is to pre-build all theme location menus for each theme). Not to mention, we’d have to write the code that pre-creates all theme location menus each time you switch a theme.
        • While, hiding the “add menu” button seemingly simplifies things for new users, I don’t think it will work. Existing users will wonder where it went. If we leave it there, new users will no doubt get lost trying to add a new menu (either following one of hundreds of existing menus tutorials on the web, or by following instructions in a book, or by just stumbling onto it), when in fact their theme locations menus are already created.
        • If we add icons for each menu item option (in the vertical tabs), what happens when you add a CPT? Would they have to add their own icon? That sounds too complex. I don’t think we can use icons here.

        In contrast

        Out of the last 3 users we tested on option 2 (see results here and here), one of them completed all of the tasks flawlessly, and the other two only stumbled on a single step (selecting a primary menu).

        After the meeting on Thursday, I was fairly confident that we could make option 1 work. After working though all of the edge cases, I’m now much less confident.

        My proposal

        What if instead of diving head first into option 1, we instead chose to keep iterating on option 2:

        • We could spend our energy iterating on the one piece that still seems broken (selecting a theme location), instead of trying to smooth out all of the complexities that come with option 1.
        • We could simplify things for users with just one menu. If they only have one menu, we could remove the tabs and the manage screen, and take them right to editing that one menu.
        • We could bring the new vertical tab menu items selection concept over (I much prefer that to meta boxes, and having to scroll if you have lots of them).

        That’s my proposal, what do you think?

        • iamronen 5:59 pm on January 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I think that a lot of the complexity you mentioned is rooted in what may be a false notion that menus are a part of the site “appearance” – that they belong to a theme.

          A different view would be that menus are another means of organizing “things” in my website (kind of like categories are used to organize posts).

          Though the primary purpose of menus is for navigating in the site (indeed a thing of appearance) that is not what governs their content.

          My intuition (I have no data to back this up) tells me that most people (who have one menu) when they change themes, do not change menus. I can definitely say that in almost all of the websites that I’ve created that have had many menus – that the menus should have stayed when themes switched (the fact that they don’t has forced me to do twisted things in my theme management practices).

          I believe that the fact that menus are a part of themes is a behavior that has evolved from their technical development, not from what they are and do. Their underlying story is just now surfacing.

          If you free menus to be another organizational entity regardless of appearance (though I realize this may be way beyond the scope of 3.6) then they most absolutely should be split into the common WordPress paradigm of managed list and single-item edit.

          I also believe that presented in this way, people will more quickly understand that they can create more menus (since they know this visual paradigm intimately from working with posts and pages).

          This way:

          • menus will be more straightforward and intuitive.
          • there won’t be a need for complex behaviors such as “copying menus” which will only create useless copies of the same thing.
          • there won’t be a need for a unique and complicated interaction and relationship between menus and widgets (the current widget is fine and will be better understood once menus become more clear)

          The only apsect of menus that I can think of that should remain as part of the appearance/theme configuration would be theme locations.

          I realize this may sound radical … but I believe that the complexities you listed are telling us that the underlying story of menus has not been properly addressed and it needs to be re-examined if a good solution is to be found.

          • lessbloat 3:22 pm on January 28, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I guess I’m unclear, where exactly are you proposing that menus should go?

            • iamronen 4:08 am on January 29, 2013 Permalink

              I can’t think of a good answer for that (though I may have inklings of a better question).

              The two options I currently see are (1) inside the “appearace” menu or (2) a separate admin-section. For now, I am indifferent to them.

              In either case, I think it would be better to have them conform to the dominant UI pattern that includes a list of Menus (where the description can be a textual preview of the menu contents) from which you can choose to edit a menu.

    • paaljoachim 12:48 pm on January 28, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I looked at the above wireframes and created some of my own to give inspiration to others. Psd and jpg files are included in this link for anyone to continue testing out things.

      https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4vpue85dkzsrk0q/6FtXDun3QD

      Have a great day!

    • Bob Gregor 9:56 pm on January 29, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      One thought regarding copying menu items – that should be a dragabble / droppable interface. Much lessbloat (pun intended) perhaps drag / drop w/ a featured pointer?

      I like the two tab iteration better – one tab for doing the majority of the work – editing and building menus, and another tab for changing assigning / them. The non-metabox menu builder is a huge improvement, but I don’t like seeing the unrelated options of select a menu and copy menu items. Those feel out of place.

      In any case – I definitely agree we need to keep iterating. Great work lessbloat! The mockups are looking great!

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