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  • lessbloat 2:24 pm on July 31, 2015 Permalink  

    Calling all designers 

    With a location and date officially announced for WordCamp US (Philadelphia, December 4th–6th), it’s time to start thinking about design for the event.

    We’d like to include the entire WP community in this call for designers. If you’re interested, please continue reading:

    Concept proposals

    For those designers interested, we’d like to see a rough design proposal:

    We’d like to see:

    1. Branding concept (logo, colors, typography for the event)
    2. Attendee badge design concept (dimensions: 4in x 3in)

    NOTE: Please free to submit designs in whatever fidelity you have time for (from sketches to pixel perfect mockups).

    Deadline for proposals
    Aug 10, Noon (PDT)

    To submit a proposal, please ping me privately on Slack (lessbloat is my username) including a link to your proposed design concepts.


    When will I hear back?
    We’d like to get started relatively quickly. Please give us a week or so to sort through proposals after the the 10th. Note: I will reply to everyone who submits a proposal (whether you’re selected or not).

    What specific things would I be responsible for designing?
    If you’re selected, you’d design the following:

    • Branding
    • Badges
    • Signage (to be used on location)
    • Website design
    • T-shirts/Swag

    Will I be compensated for my work?
    Unlike most other conferences that charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars to attend, WordCamps tries very hard to keep attendance fees at a bare minimum. We do this by relying heavily on our amazing volunteers. That said, while you won’t receive financial compensation, this is a high profile event, and your work will be seen by everyone in attendance.

    Anything else I should consider?
    It might be helpful to check out the WordPress.org design handbook, specifically the sections on identity, colors, and typography.

    Additional questions?
    Please feel free to ask additional questions in the comments below, in the #design Slack channel, or via a private ping to me in Slack (lessbloat). Thanks!

    • lessbloat 9:01 pm on July 31, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Two follow up answers from pings I received:

      1) Someone asked about the following sentence:

      That said, while you won’t receive financial compensation, this is a high profile event, and your work will be seen by everyone in attendance.

      Please know that I did not mean this in a “you won’t get paid, but you can add it to your portfolio” sort of way. Though now that I re-read it, I can see how it would come across that way, especially in my use of the words “high profile”. I feel bad. That sort of sentiment is gross.

      To clarify, what I meant to say was, this is volunteer work. The design work done for most WordCamps is done by volunteers. Since it’s volunteer work, naturally you won’t get paid. That said, if you have the time, and inclination to work on this, it should be a pretty great event, and plenty of people in attendance will benefit from your work.

      2) Someone asked if the could apply by submitting a portfolio site, instead of spending time to create proposal/concept designs (rather than spend time on a design with the chance that they might not be selected).

      Yep, that works too. If you’re interested in applying, and you’ve got a strong design portfolio that you feel represents your work well, please feel free to just shoot me a link to it.

      I hope that clears these things up. 🙂 Let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns. Thanks!

  • lessbloat 7:11 pm on October 11, 2013 Permalink

    DASH Update 

    It’s been a couple of weeks. We’ve been heads down getting stuff done.

    So, where are we at?

    Here’s the existing dashboard:

    Here’s what our new dashboard looks like:

    What’s changed?

    We removed one widget:

    • Incoming links (which doesn’t really work anymore)

    We combined several widgets:

    • “WordPress Blog”, “Other WordPress News”, and “Plugins” as combined to form the new “WordPress News” plugin.
    • “Recent Comments” was merged into the new “Activity” widget, which now also shows you any scheduled posts and your last 5 most recently published posts.
    • “QuickPress” was changed to “Quick Drafts”, and we merged in “Recent Drafts”.

    Plus we worked on a few additional things:

    • The Right Now widget was simplified.
    • We removed the “Number of columns” screen option. Instead the dashboard is now responsive, and shows the appropriate number of columns based on your screen resolution.
    • We replaced the “Dashboard” H2 title with a fun group of friendly welcome text and idioms.
    • The new “Activity” widget will be hookable, so plugin authors can easily add additional info to it.
    • There’s a fun little smiley if you delete all posts and comments

    What’s left?

    • Code reviews. If you have time over the weekend, please look over our code. If you spot something, and need commit access to the plugin, just ping me in IRC. I’ll be doing a code review of my own (but I’m not a PHP developer, so we could still use your help). We’d like to have this code core-ready by Monday.
    • We still need to write new help tab text for each of these dashboard widget changes.
    • I’ll be adding the “Activity” widget hooks this weekend.

    Huge thanks!

    Major props to @joen, @ryelle, @dbernar1, @kraftbj, and @tillkruess without whom, this plugin would not exist.

    Also big props to @helen, @melchoyce, @samuelsidler, Hassan Hisham, and Valerio Al Kalib for helping out along the way.

    • Ulrich 7:24 pm on October 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Looks nice

      Have you thought how this will be translated?
      “We replaced the “Dashboard” H2 title with a fun group of friendly welcome text and idioms.”

      I saw one array where the values were not starting on a new line.
      There were a few places where the spacing was not to WordPress coding standards.

      What is going to happen about inline documentation?

    • Manuel Schmalstieg 7:41 pm on October 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      “Recent Comments” was merged into the new “Activity” widget, which now also shows you any scheduled posts and your last 5 most recently published posts.

      Yes! Showing the 5 most recent posts is such a great idea. This will save me a gazillion of clicks. Lovely work, DASH team!

    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 9:01 pm on October 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Last 5 posts isn’t working.


      Those are my first couple posts. Happens on all sites I tested running 3.7-nightly

    • Rami Yushuvaev 10:15 pm on October 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Found few RTL issues, i uploaded 6 screenshots to:


    • Andy Mercer 3:09 pm on October 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Been busy for the past few weeks and haven’t been following the weekly updates. It’s looking good! If I might ask though, what happened to the stats widget that was floated a while back?

      • Hassan 8:12 pm on October 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It was a wishful mockup!

        Core won’t ship with stats out of the box. Apparently because of DB load concerns and stuff, but hey! we still have plugins for that 😀

    • Daniel Bachhuber 3:50 pm on October 14, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      One thing I might suggest is making the widgets as hookable as possible. I think you could offer a lot of flexibility by offering actions at the beginning and ending of each widget, as you’ve done with the activity widget, and applying a filter to each set of post / comment query arguments.

      Also, based on a cursory look, this plugin would benefit from a code review sooner rather than later.

      • lessbloat 4:04 pm on October 14, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        think you could offer a lot of flexibility by offering actions at the beginning and ending of each widget, as you’ve done with the activity widget, and applying a filter to each set of post / comment query arguments.

        That’s a great idea.

        Also, based on a cursory look, this plugin would benefit from a code review sooner rather than later.

        We’d love, love, love for someone to step up and do this. 🙂

    • Manuel Schmalstieg 10:21 am on October 16, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I notice that the usual “unset” commands don’t work – if I want to hide the QuickDraft for some reason, I usually did it with this:


      Is there a new syntax to use, or did the names of the boxes change, or is it just not working yet?

      Also, I remember that there was no simple way to assign a new custom widget to a specific place in the dashboard. For instance, if I add a very important custom dashboard widget, there was no way to tell “Your default position shall be on TOP of the RIGHT column, for every user”.

      Is this going to change? (wishful thinking)

      • Manuel Schmalstieg 10:26 am on October 16, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Also, wondering why DASH isn’t using i18n functions for terms that already exist? Many of the strings are already translated in the main UI, why not use them?

      • lessbloat 1:32 pm on October 23, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The quick draft widget is no longer ‘dashboard_quick_press’, it’s now ‘dashboard_quick_draft’.

        I’d love for us to add that too, but it will have to come in the form of a patch outside of this plugin.

    • Manuel Schmalstieg 10:36 am on October 16, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Regarding the new and improved “Site Content” widget, I wonder if it’s necessary to show any content that has “zero” items…

      Imagine a portfolio site that has entirely disabled comments, there’s no reason to plague the user with the “0 Comments” message – which can be misinterpreted in a “see how unpopular you are” way 🙂

    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 5:48 pm on October 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      One thing that I don’t love is that it’s not filling up my screen


      I get that it’s defaulting to 3 columns based on my width, but I really don’t want that. I like two fat columns, and there’s no wat to override it :/

      • lessbloat 1:36 pm on October 23, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Hey Mika,

        Is this still happening for you (the not filling up your screen bit)? I can’t seem to replicate it. What browser are you using?

    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 7:44 pm on October 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      So after a long time of thinking and testing, I actively miss having Recent Drafts.

      When you have multiple authors, and are cross checking each other’s work, this is really important.

      • lessbloat 8:05 pm on October 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        You’ve got your 3 most recent drafts under “Quick Draft” right?

        • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 8:42 pm on October 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          No because I never use Quick Draft so it’s turned off, same with a lot of users. It’s not necessarily a logical association, even with the rename. I’m more often pressing the ‘new post’ button on the toolbar.

  • lessbloat 1:30 am on September 29, 2013 Permalink  

    DASH Update 

    Accomplished this week

    1) Fairly quiet week. Some progress on our planning spreadsheet.

    2) No IRC chat this week. None next week either. Our next chat will be Tuesday, October 8th, 2:00pm UTC in #wordpress-ui.

    3) @ryelle coded up the new “Right Now” widget.

    4) I made a few adjustments to the structure of the plugin.

    5) @kraftbj made a first stab at removing the columns screen option

    Up next

    • Coding, coding, coding. Continue bringing Joen’s designs to life.
    • Again, we’ll skip our regularly scheduled IRC chat next week. Our next IRC chat will be Tuesday, October 8th, 2:00pm UTC in #wordpress-ui.
  • lessbloat 7:57 pm on September 20, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    DASH Update 

    Accomplished this week

    1) I updated our planning spreadsheet.

    2) We held our weekly IRC chat last Tuesday. @joen shared:

    Along with the following thoughts:

    • Far right column is for mini widgets. The added whitespace adds balance, centers the middle columns. Is reminiscent of the “Publish” box on the Write section.
    • We pulled back on the ambitions of the activity stream (for 3.8). We still have high hopes of filling out the activity stream with valuable information in a later release.
    • Hooks would be added to the top, middle, and bottom of the activity stream to make it immediately pluggable.

    This mockup solicited the following feedback:

    • Maybe play with a splash of color?
    • Maybe try light or regular font-weight for the big header at the top?
    • Let’s experiment with rotating through different languages/idioms for the header text: aloha, Bienvenido, etc…
    • How about “Site Content” instead of “Right Now”?
    • Can we remove the # of widgets in “Site Content” area?
    • Maybe try one header area with “Recent Activity”, and two sub areas with sub headers, “Publishing Soon”, and “Recent Comments”?

    3) Joen shared the following mockup in our Skype chat:

    4) I uploaded an updated combined news feed patch. Please test this patch out if you have time, or dive in for a code review.

    5) I riffed off of Joen’s latest mockup, and came up with:

    Up next

    • mrwweb 10:00 pm on September 20, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      A few thoughts:
      1) I have loved the move to “Quick Drafts” from Day 1. It feels like the main (only?) action-oriented item on the dashboard, and with good reason. When people log in, they should be encouraged to create! So from that standpoint, why not put it in the left column where people’s eyes pass first? This would necessitate moving the Activity Stream to the right, but when I think of other sites with a stream (ala Facebook), they’re frequently on the right. What’s more, the activity stream would seem to have a natural affinity with the “Right Now” widget which is on the right. (I even wonder if the two could merge with a global summary of the site that includes both a broad overview and recent changes)?

      2) Does the WordPress News deserves a big widget or whether it’s more of a mini widget.

      3) Has there been any discussion of adding an “Updates” widget? (Probably a mini-widget.) Many people are terrible at updating it would sure be great to nag them a bit more. A “What’s New” link that goes to each plugin’s/theme’s changelog could also potentially give people a reason to update and make the changelog sound a lot less scary.

      It’s been great to watch this concept develop (for the better even!) and I hope to see the final product work it’s way into core.

    • Ali Shafiee 7:55 am on September 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      • Joen Asmussen 2:04 pm on September 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Hey that’s pretty nice!

        We’re currently trying to hammer out the scope of the activity stream, making sure we’re ready for 3.8, so the activity stream in the first release may just be a bulked up “Recent Comments” widget with added pending posts. But that’s a nice mockup, I like that style.

    • Paal Joachim Romdahl 10:08 pm on September 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Awesome work Lessbloat! The various Core Plugins groups really should follow your example! Make spreadsheets showing progress and where work is needed. It will make it really clear for people wanting to contribute what is still needed to be done. It seems some kind of “template” for running a core plugin group needs to be worked out. Which is clear and to the point for various stages of the development. Regular updates are needed for all the groups so everyone can see what is going on. Backward, stand still or forward progression. Communication is vital for anyone taking part.

    • Manuel Schmalstieg 9:02 am on September 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I like the work you’re doing here. But I was really hoping that *recently published* posts would make it into the activity stream. My subjective impression is that, as a blogger, you often want to go back to a recently published item to change a few details. Having a direct link from the dashboard would be top. And in a multi-user setup (team or company site), it’s important to see who did recently publish things.

  • lessbloat 6:22 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    DASH Update 

    Accomplished this week

    1) We held our weekly IRC chat last Tuesday, and @joen shared the following:

    He also shared a whittled down version of the current “Right Now” widget which looks like this:

    These mockups solicited the following feedback:

    • Can we merge the “3 new comments since your last visit” and “recent comments” sections?
    • Under QuickDraft, let’s just start by showing the title. On keyup, the other elements will slide down.
    • Unclear what the three dots mean in the vertical divider (they’re drag handles). We’ll keep working on it.
    • Can we add the plugins widget into the new combined “News” widget somehow?
    • Note that multisite hides the plugins widget. Something to keep in mind as we refactor these.

    2) Joen worked up 2 additional mockups:

    Option A:

    Option B:

    3) In our Skype chat we brought up 2 additional things to think about:

    • What doe the activity feed look like when a user first installs WP? When there isn’t any updates, scheduled posts, or comments?
    • Where does the welcome screen fit into all of this?

    We need your help

    • We need developers. We’re ready to start building some of this out. But we need some core developers to join our ranks. If you have any interest, please leave a note in the comments.
    • Feedback on anything above is much appreciated.

    Up next

    We’ll hold another IRC chat this coming Tuesday at Tuesday, September 17th, 2:00pm UTC in #wordpress-ui.

    • Valerio Souza 6:28 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m totally available.

      • lessbloat 6:32 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Awesome. Ping me on in #wordpress-dev (I’m lessbloat), and I’ll get you added to our Skype room.

    • Robert Dall 6:29 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I really like where this is going… Great job so far. One Question that stick out in my mind is. I’ll still have the ability to have the Right Now in the top left corner if I want it right?

      • lessbloat 6:31 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        If you have the activity feed disabled, yes. 🙂

        With the activity feed enabled, no. But you could have it in the top right corner. 😉

        The activity feed, as proposed will always stay fixed on the left side.

    • TimothyBlynJacobs 7:16 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I like the version 1 mockup much better than the first, I’d be interested in seeing an actual test of whether or not someone would identify that they can drag it. I’m not a big fan of the horizontal line under the title in the second mockup.

      I think when a user first installs WordPress it’d be cool if the dashboard was integrated with the theme chooser as well, like maybe show some popular themes to install. But I think you are asking about what it would look like when there is no information in the feed to show, which could theoretically often be the case on static CMS type WordPress installations with no blog posts or comments. I think it would have to be empty with like a no activity message, otherwise it might be disorienting for a new user if we used the space in a vastly different way when there is no activity, and then suddenly it changes to this weird view.

      I think the welcome screen should be the same. Just above the rest of the elements on the dashboard, the same way it is now.

      Another question I have is, how would comments pending approval be denoted? And should those float to the top of the recent comments list, regardless of whether or not they came after an approved comment i.e.,

      should it be

      –approved comment from september 10
      –approved comment from september 9
      –not yet approved comment from september 9
      –approved comment from september 8
      –not yet approved comment from september 7

      –not yet approved comment from september 7
      –not yet approved comment from september 9
      –approved comment from september 10
      –approved comment from september 9
      –approved comment from september 8

      • Joen Asmussen 1:16 pm on September 14, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I like the version 1 mockup better as well, and for the same reasons. We’ve decided to not mock up the slider further and wait for a prototype. We might find that the slider in itself is unnecessary. We might find it doesn’t have to be visible all the time, but could in fact be visible only when you mouse over the gap between left and right columns.

        That’s an interesting conundrum with the sorting order. From a high level perspective, the activity stream makes the most sense to me if it’s strictly chronological. However, two avenues are perhaps worth exploring:

        1: a pending comment can be pinned, thus jumping out of the chronology
        2: perhaps pending comments are grouped in a section separately

        Imagining the latter, you’d have a section showing maybe 5 pending comments (with more buried). You’d mouse over the top one, click “approve”. Immediately when approved, the comment fades to white, then animates down below to the “recent comments” section. That way, if you need to moderate many comments in a row, you don’t need to move the mouse, because the next pending comment would jump up where the one you just moderated were.

        Perhaps that’s worth a GIF mockup.

        • TimothyBlynJacobs 5:01 pm on September 14, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I love the idea of how you would be able to make “bulk” actions with option number 2. My only concern is that it would be adding another comments box to the stream area. I think there is a question that has to be asked before that decision is made, though. Where would plugins be able to hook into the stream. Currently, it seems that there are three separate and distinct streams: comments, updates, and publishing soon, all of which are awesome, and need to be there in some way. But currently, I don’t see where plugin authors would be able to hook into the stream. If the idea is that they would hook into what is now called the “Recent Comments” stream, then perhaps that needs a renaming, and option 1 certainly doesn’t make much sense, and a distinct comments approval area should be created. However, if comments are going to remain a separate stream altogether, then I don’t think it would be so disorienting.

          In one part of my mind I think the dashboard stream can be categorized into three separate areas. The past, the present and the future :), i.e.

          The Past – recent comments, perhaps backups that just completed, or any other event that happened in the past.

          The Present – things that the user has to take action on currently, pending updates, pending comments, posts by “authors” that need approval, or in plugin territory, maybe contact form submissions that need a response.

          The future – things to notify the user about, future posts, for plugins, an event plugin could tap into it and have maybe 1 or 2 events happening in the near future.

          These sections are already there, but the titles aren’t correct, currently they are too narrow. Adding hooks for plugins might be out of the current scope of the project, but if they were ever added in a later version, it might be worth it to have those sections distinguished already.

          So I think you were spot on with one of your earlier mockups that had the icons. At that point in time it seemed that they weren’t necessary because it was essentially only the pin icons and the comment icons. But if plugins are able to use this area, it would make sense to pull from the icon that they are using on the main menu, so that users are able to see that continuity. I don’t think the icons need to be as pronounced as before, but I think they would be extremely helpful for distinguishing between the different notifications, especially if the comments section, for example, is changed to like things that happened recently, it would be necessary to distinguish comments, from backups, or anything else a plugin might add.

    • Nick Halsey 8:57 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I can help with development!

      I think we could do an iteration of the welcome screen to replace (or go above) the activity feed for new sites, also addressing the lack of activity for new installs. But that screen is definitely one of the only good parts of the dashboard currently.

      I think it would probably look better if the featured widget was after the WordPress Planet feed. And we should look into ways to hide release posts from the official blog if the site has already been updated.

      • lessbloat 9:06 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Nick, great. Ping me on in #wordpress-dev (I’m lessbloat), and I’ll get you added to our Skype room.

    • Paal Joachim Romdahl 10:29 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      New users need guidance where to go and what to do after logging in the first time. How can we guide them?

    • Paal Joachim Romdahl 11:23 pm on September 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I was looking at Unity 3D and the bottom part reminds me of a Dashboard area (even though it is not):
      I share it to give additional inspiration. Perhaps we should look at web pages and share the ones that gives an association of a Dashboard.

    • rockethouse 12:43 am on September 14, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi guys,

      I’m a front-end developer who could help out with theming the UI. I’ve actually started mocking and building up my own Admin template ( http://www.behance.net/wip/241237/455345 ) which I want to release one day. But keen to help work-on and build the default admin theme.


    • Erlend Sogge Heggen 7:59 am on September 15, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’d love a “Hide” (Tooltip: Hide this from the front page) option for the updates. As an example, bbPress 2.4 was recently released, but shortly after there were some pretty annoying bugs reported. So, I decided to stick with the latest stable version until 2.4.1 comes out. So in the new dash, I’d want to keep that hidden until a new version pops up.

  • lessbloat 2:29 am on September 7, 2013 Permalink

    DASH Plugin Update 

    Accomplished this week

    Some good progress this week.

    1) @Joen worked on the following mockup:

    2) v0.1 of plugin committed.

    3) We held our second IRC chat on Tuesday in #wordpress-ui.

    Joen shared his mockup (shown above). There was a bunch of great feedback specific to that mockup. Thanks again to everyone who participated! Here are some high level notes from that conversation.

    • Putting the “Content” part of “Right Now” into a fixed footer didn’t fly. I’ve explored alternatives, and I’m in fact leaning towards ditching the entire thing.
    • The vertical separator which is a slider didn’t look draggable, and it looked like a fancy scrollbar.
    • The icon styling wasn’t WordPressy enough
    • Explore alternative stylings for the “cards”
    • Show only the activity we actually have access to right now
    • Explore the notion that we know which parts of the “Activity stream” are new compared to your last visit (hence the “Welcome back” text)

    4) @dbernar1 (Dan) did some clean up on my initial plugin commit

    5) Dan started work on merging QuickPress and Recent Drafts.

    6) Joen worked on another mockup:

    • New card style with rounded corners and a soft shadow.
    • No icons, they weren’t really helping.
    • “3 new comments since your last visit” and “recent comments” — they’re part of the same screen. I imagine this. A fresh dash says “Howdy”, and we set a cookie time. Recent Comments takes up all the space under “publishing soon”. Next time you visit (day++), the dash says “Welcome back”. Comments that trickled in over night now show up.
    • The 3 dot draggability slider indicator is now at the top of the separator.

    7) I created a new trac ticket requesting a temporary hook be added to simplify our QuickPress & Recent Draft widget merge.

    Where we need help

    • We need someone with commit access to get the temporary hook that I mentioned above added (see #7 above). This is a blocker for us, so it would be great if we could get this added ASAP.
    • I’d love some feedback on my combined RSS feed patch.
    • We’d love some feedback on Joen’s latest mockup (#6 above)
    • We’ve still got a pretty small crew. If any of this looks interesting to you, please ping me on IRC (lessbloat). We’ve got a side-channel Skype room where we’re discussing a bunch of stuff related to this project. Just let me know, and I’ll get you added to the room.

    Up next

    • TimothyBlynJacobs 4:16 pm on September 7, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      RSS Feed – I agree with Helen that tabs would not scale, although if you aren’t planning on allowing other feeds than the current two, I see no reason why we would need to worry about them scaling or not.
      Mockup – I really like it, can’t wait to use it. I was initially confused about the difference between the comments since your last visit and the recent comments. I’m assuming from the hover action that those are comments that should be moderated, but that wasn’t clear to me from a first glance. I generally like how the comments are separated from the activity by day, which I think is much more powerful – I can imagine tons of different ways plugins could utilize that feature. If you click the “3 more pending…” text, will that load the corresponding posts in the dashboard, that would be a really nice thing to have I think. I also agree about dropping the sticky footer, it does start to feel claustrophobic, although it would still be nice to have that information. Side note – What happened to the really pretty colors on the top, I thought that actually added a lot 🙂

      • Joen Asmussen 6:23 pm on September 7, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        About the RSS feeds: Dave initially suggested removing them entirely (which I also thought was a good idea), but that suggestion didn’t fly. Combining the two reduces the visual footprint, and puts the dev-blog, arguably the most important of the two, front and center. So no, the plan isn’t to build-out the RSS widget any more. That’ll still remain very much doable for plugins, though.

        About recent comments and since your last visit — now that you mention it “recent comments” might deserve a rename. Perhaps even “Previous comments” or “Earlier comments”. The moderation tools are pretty much lifted from the current Recent Comments panel — I spent a great deal of time trying to redesign them, making them buttons, putting them to the right side of the comment. In the end the current design worked reasonably well.

        About the “Right Now” information: if all else fails we can put it in a minimal widget such as this, which is probably what we need to do since a bunch of plugins put stuff in there.

        The colors on the top aren’t killed off by any means! I simply disabled that Photoshop layer to focus on the activity stream. Here it is re-enabled, this time in green colors: http://cl.ly/image/403W3Z1z3L26

        • TimothyBlynJacobs 12:13 am on September 8, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I think the comment design is beautiful, a huge improvement.

          Yep I like that minimalistic looking widget. Are we still retaining the ability to shuffle them around the screen?

          Glad to hear that about the colors!

          • Joen Asmussen 10:09 am on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I don’t think we mean to actively break the shuffling around, no, but there’s some discussion to be had still on responsiveness and the removal of the column feature. I’d love the best of both worlds, that the number of columns was dependent on screen real estate, but that you could still in a light-weight way change the sort order.

    • Hassan 7:10 pm on September 7, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good progress here, folks.

      I actually liked this previous mockup much better (especially the upper part). I also got a bit confused about the “three new comments…” and the “recent comments” sections. I thought: aren’t these the same thing? Also, I don’t want us to completely ditch Right Now. It could definitely be improved instead. There’s something amusing when you open your dashboard and quickly glance at some basic stats/numbers (big numbers are cool)… at least that’s what I feel 🙂

      P.S. How do I join the Skype room?

      • lessbloat 9:05 pm on September 7, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Hassan, just ping me in IRC (lessbloat is my username), and I’ll get you added.

        • Hassan 8:47 am on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          @lessbloat Sorry, I came late to the internet and I’m not familiar with IRC nor do I use it 🙂 Can’t you just add me through Skype itself? Or am I missing something?

          • Paal Joachim Romdahl 11:13 am on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Hi Hassan. At top right is a mention of this link: http://irc.freenode.net/ you can go to the website and look to the left and see the webchat link. Click it to enter the IRC channel.

            Another option: I decided to embed the chat into my web site since the freenode web chat area looks old. To make it real easy you can go to this link: http://easywebdesigntutorials.com/wordpress-developer-irc/ Choose your nick name and sign in.

            Multiple rooms are listed in the Channel list:
            wordpress- ui, themes, dev and core-plugins chat rooms. 4 chat rooms that you can switch between. I have a few most used IRC commands below the chat window as well as times to when the various groups meet (please let me know of errors and I will adjust the times and groups). Just ping lessbloat in a room where you see his name mentioned.

            Btw Core developers. What about adding a link to a WordPress Web Chat page similar to what I have done on my own web site? It is easy and quick to setup.
            It would make it easier for people to join in without having a technical IRC hurdle.

            • Hassan 7:35 am on September 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

              Hey Paal, thanks for some good info here. I have looked to IRC a couple of times before, it might seem a bit confusing for new users. I just don’t feel like I’m going to use it… not really sure why.
              Thanks anyway 🙂

        • lessbloat 12:57 pm on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Sure Hassan. What is your Skype username?

    • mindctrl 2:23 pm on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The new mockups are nice. Some thoughts…

      The “Publishing soon” block is the first thing you see. I wonder how many people (what percentage of users) schedule posts for future publishing. I sometimes do that, but usually not. I’m assuming it wouldn’t show at all if there are no scheduled posts and the other stuff would move up?

      The comments since last visit and recent comments is a nice touch, but I think it makes sense to just combine them into one block, and highlight new comments.

      The QuickDraft mockups I’ve seen are nice. One little thing that bugged me was that it seems to give a title you have to go backwards in the flow – shift-tab on keyboard – since the content box got initial focus, and normal forward tabbing seems to go down to categories and tags. Cycling backwards to give a title seems odd. Otherwise nice design.

      The activity stream is a neat idea. Would that show only on multi-author/contrib/editor/admin/whatever sites? Doing it on single * sites would seem out of place I think.

      • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 4:00 pm on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I would say ‘enough’ people schedule posts to make the plugins I’ve see pretty consistently used (they average 20-40 downloads a day combined, which isn’t great, but consistent). That said, if it’s one of the extra options in screen options, that would be awesome too.

      • Joen Asmussen 4:59 am on September 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        “Publishing soon” would definitely not show up if no posts are scheduled.

        I’ll consider your activity stream unification thoughts in my next mockups.

        Regarding quickdraft and titles, I understand that sentiment. I have an idea I’m going to try.

        One goal for the activity stream in this iteration was to see if it was sensible to have with only the activities we have at the moment (i.e. scheduled posts, recent comments, trackbacks, that sort of thing). But more than anything it’s aspirational: the idea is to create a space that can grow. See also earlier mockup.

    • TimothyBlynJacobs 9:08 pm on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      There was a post on uxse about putting the title for an email after the email body, it generally got flack because it broke a convention too much, but it might be cool to experiment with that for QuickDraft. It would allow you to get down the ideas, and then come up with a title based on those ideas, often times you don’t think about the title until the end of the piece, and I think that is more true in this scenario.

      • Joen Asmussen 5:00 am on September 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Hmm interesting. That feels a bit weird to me. What if the tab-index would simply target the body first, then the title? Actually that’d probably be even weirder.

        I have an idea for how to show both the title and the body in a lightweight way I’m going to mock up soon.

  • lessbloat 2:47 pm on August 30, 2013 Permalink

    Dashboard Plugin Update 

    Progress is slow but steady in dashboard plugin land. Here’s a recap of our activity for the past week:

    IRC chat notes

    We held our first IRC chat on Tuesday in #wordpress-ui.

    • Rather than remove both RSS widgets from core, we decided to combine them into one.
    • Transform “QuickPress” into “QuickDraft”, putting the focus on drafting new ideas quickly seemed to be a hit.
    • We are going to play with the idea of merging QuickDraft and the “Recent Drafts” widget.
    • Removing the “columns” screen option is likely something we just need to play with. If we can get the implementation right, it could be a nice win I think.
    • We dropped the “QuickLinks” widget idea. This can stay in plugin territory for now.
    • We all liked the idea of rethinking the “Right Now” widget. @joen is going to lead the work on this one.
    • If we get everything else nailed down in time, we may dig into the design for an “Admin activity” widget focussing specifically on collaboration.

    I updated the planning spreadsheet to account for these changes.

    Accomplished this week

    I started work on a patch to combine “Other WordPress News” and “WordPress Blog” over on #19239. Code reviews/thoughts are welcome and much appreciated.

    @joen shared an initial mockup in the IRC chat on Tuesday:

    And has since worked on a couple more based on feedback:

    Which would work something like this:

    Up next

    • We need your help. Especially developers interested in working on this stuff. The QuickDraft widget work looks to be a fun one to work on. Please ping me on IRC if you’re interested.
    • We’ll hold another IRC chat this coming Tuesday at Tuesday, September 3rd, 2:00pm UTC in #wordpress-ui.
    • We’ll be starting up a persistent Skype chat group to discuss all things “dashboard plugin”, ping me if you want in, even if just to lurk. All are welcome.
    • George Stephanis 3:08 pm on August 30, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Friendly warning: coloring the left arrow into the menu is feasible, but to make sure the coloring matches up with the page, you need to disable the ‘sticky’ nature of the menu, like we’ve done in Jetpack. — https://plugins.trac.wordpress.org/changeset/729476

      That’s a bit overly complex to what you’d need to do to handle it, as I had to account for two versions of a page background image, but still. You wouldn’t want the arrow staying green once it floats down to a white part of the page bg.

    • Joen Asmussen 3:13 pm on August 30, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      A couple of quick notes on the mockups. The feedback I mainly focused on in the new mockups were:

      • furthering the “Right Now” tweak, particularly with regards to the “Content” part
      • rethinking the prime real estate area to emphasize pending posts and drafts

      Don’t forget that these are still mockups, subject to change and more importantly: your feedback.

    • Tom J Nowell 3:18 pm on August 30, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      A word on the activity list, this is not a trivial thing to add and far more work than a simple list. You have to store these items, and hook into things, and handle large numbers of log entries, and cleaning up after yourself, etc etc, it’s not a trivial thing to do.

      Unless you’re planning to build it I’d remove it as it’s misleading. It’s like throwing in twitter and FB engagement stats in for fun as if it’s nothing then doing a U turn later on when you realise you got to implement all the OAuth etc etc.

      Also why the coloured blobs? Can they be turned off or changed?

    • Till Krüss 1:43 am on August 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’d love to see the recent activity listed in the dashboard!

    • Hassan 10:01 am on August 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      These are some refreshing mockups indeed.

      What is that colored background on the dashboard? Is this part of the mockup?

      Also, I see a stats graph widget in the first screenshot, but not in the others. Please, we need a native stats graph widget… not Jetpack!

      • tobifjellner 10:08 am on August 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Yes. I’d really like to see some very basic statistics (or rather counters) in the native WP. But nothing that would slow things down or create huge databases of logs.

      • Joen Asmussen 10:19 am on August 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The background is an idea at the moment, and certainly part of the mockup yes. The hope is to bring some color and fun to the dashboard. We’ll see if it survives until the end 🙂

        Unfortunately after discussing the proposed stats in IRC during the last opening hours, we won’t be able to offer native stats. We’ll have to make room for 3rd party stats modules. The problem is indeed that it’s too heavy on the servers.

    • tobifjellner 10:14 am on August 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Is it possible to allow the user to select what information he wants to see in the “right now” widget?
      Either per-user or per site? The default could be “Let WP guess”.
      WP could refresh once a day a pattern variable:
      IF (number of pages + number of posts) number of posts THEN “CMS mode”
      ELSE “Blog mode”.

      • tobifjellner 10:21 am on August 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Oops. I used the characters “less than” and “greater than”, which means a substantial chunk of my comment was treated as an invalid tag…
        Try again:
        IF (number of pages + number of posts) is less than 10 THEN “Getting started mode”
        ELSEIF double number of pages is greater than number of posts THEN “CMS mode”
        ELSE “Blog mode”.

      • Joen Asmussen 10:21 am on August 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Can you elaborate on this a little bit? I’m thinking a lot about how the “Right Now” widget can best serve users, and particularly the “Content” section is tricky: on the one hand it’s just a bunch of numbers that I personally find rather useless. On the other hand, I know a bunch of people who use this specific box as shortcuts to various places in the admin.

        What would you like to see?

        • tobifjellner 10:26 am on August 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Different people want to see different things.
          Say, someone helps with moderation of comments but doesn’t edit posts. Then it could be nice to uncheck some options for what this widget should show.
          And there could be some overall settings:

          • Show everything
          • Getting started
          • CMS mode (More information around pages and page drafts)
          • Blog mode (More information around blog posts and their drafts)
    • tomdryan 7:15 pm on August 31, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It would be nice to have a small dashboard widget showing a summary of any available core/plugin updates and move the “Update” section down under the Tools menu. Having Updates under the Dashboard menu choice doesn’t make much sense.

    • Turn On Social 1:17 am on September 1, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ll join the skype group

  • lessbloat 11:37 am on August 26, 2013 Permalink

    DASH, Proposed project scope 

    Last week I introduced the idea of working to improve the default dashboard screen in the WordPress admin.

    Project leads

    I will be leading this project, and I’m excited to announce that @joen will be co-leading with me.

    Meeting time

    We’ll hold our first chat tomorrow at Tuesday, August 27th, 2:00pm UTC in #wordpress-ui. Please come if you’re interested in working on this with us. If you can’t make it, but would like to participate, please make a note in the comments below. We’ll plan on having a chat each Tuesday, and we’ll post a status update each Friday.

    Proposed scope

    My proposal for the dashboard screen redesign includes the following:

    Components that I’ll oversee:

    1) Move “Other WordPress News”, “WordPress Blog”, “Plugins”, an potentially “Incoming links” out of core into a plugin called “Dashboard Extras”.

    2) Remove the “columns” screen option, and instead use responsive CSS to determine the optimal number of columns to display.

    3) Transform “QuickPress” into “QuickDraft” changing the focus from posting to drafting new ideas quickly. Potentially merge the “Recent drafts” widget in with this one. Huge props to @melchoyce for coming up with this idea. Here’s a super rough mockup:

    4) Add a new “Quick Links” dashboard widget offering an easily customizable section for links you use all the time.

    Components that Joen will oversee:

    5) Add a new “Admin Activity” widget to the dashboard. This would allow you to see important logged in activity for your blog.

    6) “Right Now” widget re-imagined. We’ll see what we can do to make the “Right Now” section more insightful, and more comprehensive.

    Joen is already working on a v1 mockup of this stuff which he’ll post in the comments for feedback.

    Planning spreadsheet

    Here’s a link to the planning spreadsheet we’ll use over the course of the project to track our progress. I’ve done my best to break down each component into actionable items (they may change as needed). Each item lists what skills are required. Have a look at the list, and feel free to mention in the comments below which items you’d be interested in working on.

    What are your thoughts?

    Tell us what you think in the comments below.

    • Joen Asmussen 11:50 am on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m super excited to work with you all to improve the dashboard experience. I’ve been sketching out and mocking up ideas for where to take the Right Now widget, and how it can coexist with a new Activity widget.

      Please consider this mockup for what it is: a rough draft. I find this way of mocking up helps me better feel how the various elements feel like in a cohesive whole. Don’t let that hold you from criticising elements. Nothing is set in stone.

      Right Now / Activity dashboard early mockup

      • In the mockup, “Right Now” is split into three snippets across the top of the screen.
      • The “Activity” part of this mockup is borrowed from Activity Logs, though we have yet to decide which plugin to model after or use.
      • The background flair is an idea for bringing some colors and fun into the dashboard, it would cycle through a couple of bundled lightweight illustrations.
      • Views and Reads are light-weight new statistics for the week.

      Overall we want to keep what’s useful to you: quick deep links to the most recent activity on your blog, hopefully expand upon that right in the dashboard. I look forward to your feedback.

      • Nick Halsey 8:19 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I like the background graphic idea, it reminds me of MS Office 2013’s graphics behind the “ribbon”, but more colorful.

      • paaljoachim 10:02 am on August 27, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Very nice and clean Joen! I agree it is nice with a simple background. What about a small arrow next to the question mark. Click the arrow and see a drop down of available panel types and at the bottom of the drop down an add panel option. Draggable panels. Post/category feed panel. Video embed to share a tutorial video. CSS styling.

    • Japh 12:01 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Awesome! Would you mind updating the time with the shortcode so I can see in my local time without breaking my head? 😉

    • Lachlan MacPherson 12:42 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Really love the mock up and the overall direction of the new dashboard.

      It would be awesome if the “Activity” widget was also extendable to plugins so it could list things like “a sale was made” for ecommerce or “a back up was created”

    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 1:19 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I won’t be able to make that timeslot, but as I’m mostly interested in testing and helping debug, I think that’s okay 🙂 I can follow the summaries and logs, and such.

      @joen – I love that design! One thought to keep in mind is that plugins like Akismet add to the bottom of the right now box, so leaving some room for that, or sneakily moving them out may possibly be needed. I’ll run a scan of the plugins later today and see how many plugins that is. If its only a handful, that’s fine, we can contact them directly, but if its 100 then something will have to be thought up.

      • Joen Asmussen 1:22 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Excellent point, I’ll keep that in mind for the next set of mockup revisions!

        • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 4:32 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Just over 100 plugins are using some variation of “right_now_”

          Most use right_now_content_table_end which is not unexpected.

          • Joen Asmussen 7:23 am on August 28, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Yep, if we do go down the route of splitting “Right Now” into smaller nuggets, we can probably find an area on the dash (if not in the current context) to put that plugin hook.

    • John Blackbourn (johnbillion) 1:20 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      If an activity log is going to be implemented into core then it needs to be developed separately from the admin dashboard improvement project.

      An activity log is quite a major thing that needs to be planned and architected properly so it’s reliable, scalable and extensible. It’s also something that goes way beyond a dashboard widget.

    • danstramer 1:26 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi, Just a few thoughts:
      1. add an option for a widget showing an iframe / stream – this would be good for developers showing their clients different kind of messages and notifications from their own studio.
      2. have the ability to remove widgets for all users from the admin (currently done only by plugin or via the functions file)


    • Andrew Nacin 2:03 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Can this meeting be held in #wordpress-ui? Thanks.

    • Andrew Nacin 2:07 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Move “Other WordPress News”, “WordPress Blog”, “Plugins”, an potentially “Incoming links” out of core into a plugin called “Dashboard Extras”.

      Incoming Links should probably be re-imagined because the Google tool it uses is largely broken. But, it is very helpful to see generic pingback attempts to your site (that’s really all it is) and it would be nice if we could come up with our own way of presenting this to users.

      I thought “Plugins” was lame too, and we almost removed it a long while ago, but WP.org analytics showed a lot of activity coming from it. We should aim to make it better versus removing it.

      “Other WordPress News” and “WordPress Blog” should probably be re-imagined into a single combined news widget. I think this is a great way for users to see what is going on; is the only way many users notice beta releases, release announcements, and community initiatives; and drives pretty strong traffic (as in, people use it).

      • lessbloat 3:58 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I get that, but what percentage of users actually find value from these widgets? With millions of installs, there’s no doubt these links produce substantial traffic.

        I guess my question is, if we were designing WordPress from scratch today, would these widgets get the same real-estate as they do now? Would they even be included at all?

        If we’ve got to keep them, then, well… We’ve got to keep them. 😉

        My preference would be to move them to a plugin where people could continue to use them is they liked.

        If they’ve got to stay, maybe we could:

        • Move “incoming links” into the new “Right Now” section.
        • Keep one RSS widget like you recommend, and combine those 2 feeds into one.
        • Hide the “Plugins” widget by default?


        • Brent Logan 6:42 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Please don’t combine items, like putting “incoming links” into “Right Now.” That makes it impossible to hide “incoming links” (broken and useless) while still showing “Right Now” (useful).

    • s3w47m88 4:25 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’d like to see a Windows 8 Metro approach to the Dashboard Widgets in addition to the responsiveness. One problem my users and I experience is that some Widgets need to stretch wider or smaller than others. Giving them the ability to drag their width as users do with Windows 8’s “Tile’s” maintains the responsiveness without forcing users to “do it our way”.

      • Joen Asmussen 7:42 am on August 27, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        We’re definitely looking into making the dashboard fully responsive. It sounds like you’d like the ability to set the individual size of dashboard panels, correct? I’m interested in hearing some of the use-cases for that type of customization.

        • paaljoachim 9:32 am on August 27, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          What about dragging and dropping panels to create one column, two column, three column, layout etc based on what the user wants. So take a panel and drag it next to another to make another column. I am thinking that there could also be a drop down arrow on the top right of a panel to select which panel type to use.

          This could mean having one column as the first row with critical user info. As in how to do something in the dashboard (embeded video etc). Below the one column one could have other multiple panels for instance showing recent activity, recent visits – SEO, other news, RSS post – developer creates a post on his own site which will be spread out to where the developer has also added a grab post/category from url panel in the dashboard. This way the developer can share info with his clients in an easy way.

          But this can be up to the developer creating the site to make it user friendly and informative for the client as the client enters the backend.

          There could be CSS code easily accessible to style the panels.

    • mrwweb 5:22 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      +1 on changing QuickPress to QuickDraft (or DraftPress!?). This would take that widget from something I hide in Screen Options to something I’d use every other time I log in.

    • Nick Halsey 8:34 pm on August 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Looks like a great direction overall. 14:00 UTC is nasty for the western US, but I’ll try to make it. Interested in helping out regardless.

    • @mercime 1:47 am on August 28, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      +1 “Draft an Idea” to replace QuickPress is a great idea.
      I’ve been removing QuickPress in all installations since it allows posting without categorizing first 🙂

  • lessbloat 5:53 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink

    Dashboard plugin 


    The dashboard screen (the page with QuickPress, and Right Now stats) hasn’t been touched in ages. It’s all a bit cluttered, and based on my limited research it does a poor job of brining value to the majority of users. I’d like to explore some fresh ideas for ways to make the dashboard not only informational, but actionable for users.

    Some data

    I posted a survey to make/core last week asking a couple of questions specifically around the dashboard page design. In total we had 438 responses. A huge thank you to everyone who participated! Here are the results:

    1. What portions of the dashboard do you like, and use every day? View 366 answers

    4. What sort of modifications do you typically make to the dashboard (for yourself or for clients), and why? View 373 answers

    5. If you could wave a magic wand, what types of things would you show on the dashboard? View 340 answers

    It’s worth mentioning that this data is fairly biased, as the responses came mostly from the development community. With that said, there is still a great deal of insight here.


    I’ll list a few things I learned from this data. I’d love to hear your reaction in the comments below. Let me know whether you agree/disagree with these conclusions:

    A) As it stands, the majority of users find the existing default dashboard fairly cluttered and useless. We should look at which widgets might be better to start off disabled on a fresh WordPress install.

    B) If possible, we should look to expand on the “Right Now” widget to provide even more information about your blog. One easy win would be to show all custom post types and taxonomies totals by default.

    C) It might pay off to look into adding a “quick links” section with links to the areas of the admin that you visit most often. Making these links easily customizable on a per user basis would be a nice win.

    D) It might be convenient to add an array option to wp-config which allows you to quickly disable dashboard widgets without having to mess with any additional code.

    E) WordPress is used in a lot of different ways (mostly as a CMS, as a blog, or as both of those combined). It would be cool to figure out a way to determine how a user intends to use WordPress right when they first start, and then to do some stuff behind the scenes to simplify their intended experience based on which option they selected.

    Next steps

    In the comments please indicate:

    1) If you have interest in working on this plugin
    2) Your reactions to the insights mentioned above (A-E)
    3) Any additional thoughts you have regarding the dashboard re-design

    Once we figure out who is interested, we can set up a regular meeting time.

    • Valerio Souza 6:07 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I enjoy it, and I am available to help.

    • Isaac Keyet 6:10 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      1. No
      I think it’s less about decluttering what’s there and making existing dash widgets more useful and more about figuring out what the purpose of the Dashboard actually is. Is it an overview of all your content? All activity? Is it actionable, a way to quickly do the most common things in WP? All of the above? If it’s the latter, to me that’s the perfect way to group the dashboard and help prioritize items. If people actually use the quick start guide there should probably be a permanent post format centric widget that allows you to quickly get started creating content regardless of CPT, but that would only link to the Post Editor. QuickPress is only quick if it suits your exact needs, if not it’s hugely cumbersome.

      “Right Now” (which probably should just be called Activity) seems like a big win and worth expanding upon.

      The Dashboard is the most useful on mobile devices since you’re likely to have just logged in to the admin from it and the Dashboard would be the first thing you see. If, on mobile, there was a quick way to know what’s been going on and quickly get a post started that’s a huge win. This is also in line with the mobile apps’ approaches.

    • titanas 6:13 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Totally agree on the “Right Now” widget. Starting by changing its name maybe to something more like “Your site” or “Quick View” or something. It would be great if it’s transformed into a quick snapshot of the site’s vital signs including stats and other metrics about the “health” and current status of the site with some graphs, not only texts and raw numbers.

    • Cliff Seal 6:27 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      1. Yep.

      2. I agree that “Right Now” is a quick win, and that we could probably disable more things by default than we do now. I’ve done something like C before, but mostly by adding helpful, relevant documentation for users, and I’ve gotten good feedback on it. I agree with E totally.

      3. I think widgets like “Right Now” are a good example of opportunities where we might give a ‘full-width’ option, where it optionally takes up two columns on a desktop and shows more robust information, but can be compressed to fit a single column or does so automatically on smaller viewports. As an unthoughtful example, full-width might show graphs, whereas the compressed version might just show numbers.

      I also thinking revitalizing the Dashboard might bring more attention to it, and encourage some innovation in the plugin community.

    • hearvox 7:03 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      C) “quick links” is a great idea. nearly every site I work with needs something like that (esp when 1st migrating to WP). Solution is to create a meta-box. But better might be to build that option into core.

      Possibly a new Appearance> Menu intended just for Dashboard display, or that may be too rad. And the following is definitely way too rad: a Dashboard meta-box configurable per user for their own personalized “quick links.”

    • webdevmattcrom 7:19 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Definitely interested in helping however I can, which would mostly be CSS related, bug reporting, UX related stuff. Great research and a great project. Looking forward to seeing it develop.

    • harribellthomas 7:32 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’d love to help in whatever way I can (code/ideas). I have experience in both CSS and PHP, and I am really keen to contribute something to the WordPress core. You can reach me at @harribellthomas.

    • Stephanie Leary 8:21 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I agree about fixing up Right Now and Recent Drafts (see #8243).

      I love the idea of letting people create quick links to things (or just mark screens as favorites? would work for post list, individual edit screens, and option pages; could be a simple star in screen options).

      Maybe news/other news/plugins/incoming links could all be replaced by a single, reusable RSS reader widget.

      I wonder if QuickPress would get more love if it were more flexible. Maybe we can steal from O2 when it’s out?

    • Japh 9:13 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      There was mention of an audit log-style widget for the dashboard page. Is that actually a part of the “Dashboard Improvements”, or its own separate feature for 3.8?

      • Japh 9:13 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It seems like a feature that would have a dashboard component, rather than be a dashboard feature… if that makes sense.

    • Erlend Sogge Heggen 9:35 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Please note that the most probably reason for “Incoming Links” not being used any longer is because it’s simply not working very well. This widget could bring a lot more value if it could be hooked up with your analytics platform of choice for instance.

      • jeffr0 4:28 am on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The Incoming links widget lost its use when they switched providers way back in the Technorati days. Once they started using the Google stuff, things broke or did not work as well. This has been the case since WordPress 2.3 if you can believe that.

    • berkun 10:59 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m thrilled you’re leading this effort! It’s one of the most frequently seen parts of the UI yet has been a sad, orphaned design. While I was at Automattic I spent a lot of time thinking about it and probably have some design mockups somewhere. Anyway – I’m happy to help any way I can.

      Designing dashboards always has the tough challenge of having to cover the very different use cases of: first time user, regular user, CMS user, blog user, etc. and designing for all them leads to disappointment, or a generic wasteland.

      It’s also worthwhile to look at how other blog platforms and CMSs handle the same design challenge. Some (Drupal, Movable Type) have similar design problems to WordPress, but others like tumblr don’t really have a dashboard, making the basic UX flow always go through the posting UI, rather than dash first. Ghost has some interesting ideas too.

    • Adam W. Warner 1:48 am on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Love the idea of including CPTs. Would also add that it would be nice as an Admin to be able to specify exactly which CPTs get displayed. As an example…for devs who build sites for clients, there could be any number of CPTs created by various plugins (ecommerce as an example) and that dev could set those CPTs and no others to be displayed for the end user Admin.

    • jeffr0 4:13 am on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      1. I’m interested in using the plugin and providing feedback from a user experience perspective.

      2A – I think that by default, a fresh install of WordPress should be configured to one column and to show the Welcome screen and once that has been turned off, the Right now box is displayed. By limiting things to one column and one metabox by default, it helps take away the impression of being cluttered.

      2B – The Right Now box is the best thing the dashboard has going for it Right Now, (pun intended.) As I mentioned in the survey, I’d like to see Stats, Recent Comments, A list of Unpublished Content complete with Post status similar to the Edit Flow Plugin – Unpublished Content metabox. I’d also like to see something like a health monitor for the site that reports posts/pages giving off 404 errors or a warning that my average page speed the last 24 hours has increased a considerable amount. Perhaps a bit off scope but it would make the whole dashboard concept feel more like a dashboard.

      2C – The admin bar currently takes care of shortcuts to add new Post, Media, Page, User, and Role. This doesn’t cover everything but it’s interesting that so many people want a quick links widget to do tasks that the admin bar already covers. So perhaps the admin bar is not working, is just not being used, is never seen or is just not the right place to be housing those shortcuts. If there is a quick links section, I would hope that somehow, WordPress would monitor my behaviour and over time, build the Quick Links section for me or at the very list, showed me the last 5-10 Admin pages I browsed to.

      2D – Whatever makes the developers life easier to remove metaboxes from being seen, the better. I like how easy it would be to just add a WP-Config option to disable specific boxes from view.

      2E – I’m a bit concerned with having users tell WordPress how they intend to use it. Or, how in the world could you group certain tasks in WordPress into categories like CMS, Blogging, Application, etc. WordPress is all sorts of things to all sorts of people, how do we reliably classify use cases to make something like this work?

      3. Taking into consideration that many of the survey respondents were developers and consultants, many of their answers correlate with what they commonly experience with clients. The only issue I take with those responses is that I’m not a client. Reading over the survey responses, I get the feeling that people need a ton of hand holding to get anything done or to navigate anywhere within the WordPress back-end. Maybe that’s the case but not for me. I just don’t want to see a bunch of changes happen because consultants/developers need them to do less work and to please clients.

    • TCBarrett 7:18 am on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think that keeping a single dashboard and trying to make it fit in with everyone’s requirements is doomed. The technology behind it should be modularised so that multiple dashboard screens can be created. Developers can create more dashboard screens, tweak current dashboard screens and change which the user lands on by default.

      Then look at the widgets, focus on some simple functionality (like the ‘Right Now’ widget) and make it easier to configure and add to it. Currently we can add our own custom post types, but it could be done in a much nicer way (more the like the admin bar).

      Lastly, I’d like to re-iterate the above points that you are getting your responses from developers. Not end users. But I think that’s a wider problem, and one reason why the WP Engine survey highlighted by Matt in state of the word was so interesting… and so I digress ;p

      • ckluis 1:02 pm on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        For the record – the concept of a widgets page for configuring the dashboard is a great idea – while I agree that it makes sense to come up with a better default dashboard – the usage of a business vs blog vs news source – are potentially very different. Unless the scope of this project includes creating numerous “best practice” dashboards for different use cases improving the dashboard modularity for end users is a good idea.

    • paaljoachim 8:30 am on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Since it is the first screen a user sees. It would be nice to have it start with one big column quick tips with a embed link from youtube or another site explaining how to do the basics (customizable). One could have links below the video for additional videos. Below the one column area there could be two columns one for “quick links” and the other for “right now.” The title area of the “boxes” could have drop downs with various options on what kind of info they want to see (One could also somewhere add a CSS box to change the design of the boxes or some options as to what they should look like). Developers should be able to customize it to help the client get started with WordPress.
      Take one of the boxes and drag&drop it next to the huge one column area to create two columns. Etc.
      Certain plugins for instance SEO adds a box to the Dashboard. Which means the plugin would also add it self to the drop down list of options to choose from.
      The bottom line is that all users begin with seeing the Dashboard so it needs to be customizable and new and old user friendly.

    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 2:56 pm on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Regarding “C” (making quick links) I think @jeffr0 commented on his site that someone else left a suggestion of a search tool in the dash “How do I …” so I could put in “Edit my sidebar” and it would pop up with a link. That would be better than making MORE links like we already have in the toolbar (up top) and the admin sidebars. If people can’t find where things are, then a search tool for that would be great. Bonus points if it was ‘where are…’ and I could put in ‘akismet settings’ and it would pop up with the link to the plugin settings. In theory all it would have to do is search the available sidebars for a name-match.

      D (wp-config ways to remove/add setting options for all users) would be nice. Bear in mind Multisite 🙂 This would be aces for setting up a site for someone else and wanting to simplify it.

    • Jon Brown 6:05 pm on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The data seems to make it clear that its time to ditch or at severely minimize the RSS based news widgets. Like many I remove them by default in my starter core functionality plugin (not hard to do and not sure why we’d need/want that in WP-config). I disable them as much because they are SLOW as they are unnecessary visual clutter.

      The data also seems to suggest Right Now could be the whole dashboard, just move comments, incoming links and drafts into it and it becomes the start of the stats focused dashboard people are hinting at. That’s the direction I’d like to see it go, ideally with some actual light weight native stats being shown, or the ability for plugins to hook stat reporting into Right Now)

      Layout wise I envision Right Now taking up the full width of the dashboard, then additional widgets appearing below in a 2/3 column layout. By default though I’d have everything except Right Now hidden.

    • Devin Walker 6:11 pm on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m interested in helping out!

    • Michael Dance 7:18 pm on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      If anyone wants to take a look at an implementation of Right Now that includes custom post types and taxonomies, I have a plugin that does that: https://wordpress.org/plugins/right-now-reloaded/

      When I was building it, I found the tricky part was trying to balance each column of information, since inevitably some people will have tons of taxonomies and no custom post types, and vice-versa.

      I do like the approach that some people have floated of making Right Now full-width and incorporating recent comments and drafts into it. Those are the three really functional pieces of the dashboard as far as I’m concerned. And by folding them into a larger widget, it means they can disappear when they’re not relevant, so people who don’t have any recent comments or drafts won’t need to be constantly reminded about that.

      • jeffr0 11:09 pm on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Just wanted to say that I’m going to give your plugin a try because based on the screenshots, I thought it was neat how you essentially put draft notices and other stuff right next to comments, post types, etc. A cool way to combine the two other most popular widgets Recent Drafts and Recent Comments all into the Right Now box. Nice work.

      • Stephanie Leary 2:19 pm on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        This is excellent. I love the way the draft post and pending comments buttons are integrated.

    • Joen Asmussen 5:46 am on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’d love to work with you on this.

    • Joshua Goodwin 8:51 pm on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I very quickly made a “Recent Post Revisions” widget, a few lines of code (perhaps I should release it as a plugin), just displaying the last 20 post revisions. For a large site with several different authors, it’s fantastically useful, but for single-author blogs, probably much less so.

  • lessbloat 6:10 pm on April 9, 2013 Permalink  

    How can I help with 3.6? 

    Are you looking for something to work on for 3.6, but don’t know where to start? Here a breakdown of a few open UI & front-end dev tasks broken down by skill set:





    If you’ve always wanted to help out with core, but you’ve never taken the dive, now is your chance. 😉

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