March 31, 2008

WordPress Admin Redesign

Over the weekend WordPress 2.5 was released, and oh what a release it is. The WordPress admin has had a complete facelift, a joint effort from Automattic, Happy Cog, and many individuals from the WordPress community, amounting to over 90 contributors. The new admin was re-built from the ground up, with clean markup and a shiny new design.

I first worked with Matt Mullenweg about three years ago when I had the pleasure of redesigning the WordPress logo, so I was very excited when he approached Happy Cog to help redesign the WordPress admin. Though many talented people have had a hand is this project, Happy Cog’s was just one piece of the whole. We were tasked with re-architecting the admin (expertly done by Liz Danzico), creating a revamped design (done by me), all overseen by Jeffrey. We worked on a good handful of pages which the Automattic team coded and extrapolated to create all of the other pages. WordPress has grown so organically over the years, that certain areas of the old admin became like little serfdoms, complete with their own unique styles and functionality. One of the biggest goals we sought to achieve in the redesign was to bring a system of consistency to the different admin pages, forms, and content types.

WordPress logo

I won’t go into all of the new features and advancements, Matt has already thoroughly covered those, but I do just want to mention that this is an iterative process. A lot of things have been reorganized, streamlined, or altered. Little odds and ends of the design work we executed haven’t made their way into the system yet (or will be included in the .com rollout of the admin). So, some things may take some getting used to. It’s important to understand that this project is setting the groundwork for the new WordPress, and that this is just the beginning of development. And of course, if something is missing or broken in this release, you can always file a support ticket.

We are very excited by the results, and hope you will be too. My hat goes off to Matt and the Automattic team, and to all of the passionate members of the WordPress developer community. If you are interested in checking out the new WordPress, take 2.5 for a spin or watch a screencast of the admin in action.

Commentary (28):

1. Rémi Prévost says… mar 31, 2008 | 8:17 am

So, when are you planning to switch from MT? :)

2. Natalie Jost says… mar 31, 2008 | 9:06 am


3. Ian says… mar 31, 2008 | 9:50 am

What a coincidence, I installed 2.5 this weekend. Looks great so far. Nice work, superstar.

4. Nick Whitmoyer says… mar 31, 2008 | 9:53 am

Nice work Stan! The previews look great. The admin for Wordpress has always been a bit of a mess. For the past year or so, I’ve been using admin UI that Steve Smith put together. It’s nice to see that a plug-in to replace the admin won’t be necessary anymore. Can’t wait to try it.

5. David Yeiser says… mar 31, 2008 | 10:11 am

Really nice work! It looks and feels wonderful. The new interface encourages writing now, whereas before it felt more utilitarian.

I also never knew you worked on the WordPress logo. That’s a fun fact.

6. Xavez says… mar 31, 2008 | 10:44 am

And what a redesign it is, indeed. Magnificent in both idea and execution. Congrats, Happy Cog, you’ve done it again!

7. Joshua Blount says… mar 31, 2008 | 10:55 am

I was hoping you would post some insight on this. Thanks for your hardwork, and your entertaining writing.

8. chris says… mar 31, 2008 | 11:13 am

What’s the best way to go about learning Wordpress?

9. Pat says… mar 31, 2008 | 12:09 pm

Great job. I’ve used wordpress for a couple years, and was always peeved by the admin section. Since upgrading to 2.5, it’s become quite a joy and a much easier process to manage content. Also, I feel much better about setting up “non-blogs” on wordpress for clients now that the backend is so much more visually appealing and easy to use. Thanks.

10. Dave Bowker says… mar 31, 2008 | 1:11 pm

Excellent job. Nice and clean, looks great.

11. Philip Renich says… apr 1, 2008 | 6:04 am

Very nice. Congratulations! And excellent timing, I am just preparing to build a site for a client who needs a bit of a backend that I think WordPress will work nicely for.

12. clint fisher says… apr 1, 2008 | 8:02 am

Jason, great job man!

13. Jared says… apr 1, 2008 | 8:45 am

Wordpress needed this. We needed this. Everything looks really great. I cannot wait to go home and start playing.

14. Dan says… apr 1, 2008 | 2:42 pm

Great job on the redesign. And I’ve only seen screen shots so far. I can’t wait to upgrade and actually start using it.

15. blurb says… apr 1, 2008 | 11:28 pm

Thank God!

I wonder how payment works when you do an open-source project like this…

Great work!

16. Matt says… apr 2, 2008 | 3:35 am

That was fun - let’s do it again some time.

17. Matt Radel says… apr 2, 2008 | 9:10 am

I am diggin’ 2.5! Great stuff Jason. The admin is much easier on the eyes, and makes so much more sense visually. You guys rock.

18. Jason Santa Maria says… apr 2, 2008 | 10:39 am

blurb: Matt Mullenweg is an amazing cook, he would hold these crazy bake sales every weekend to drum up funds to pay us. WP has VC funding :D

Matt Mullenweg: You’re on!

19. yani says… apr 2, 2008 | 7:25 pm

Well done mate, looks great and works a treat!

20. Xavez says… apr 3, 2008 | 1:57 pm

Hey Jason

After having used the admin interface extensively, there are two minor things of which I think they can be improved:

  • On the dashboard page, you may want to change the background colour of the “right now” bar to something less alarming. Either make it more brown, or more orange. But this gives me the idea something is wrong—and I’m probably not the only one feeling that way :).
  • On the write page, at the bottom, their should either be a button to “go to top” or a second button to “preview/publish”. After I have set all the options, I need to scroll back to the top of the page. Not quite the usability you’d expect. Adding such a button would certainly make a great improvement ;-)
Everything else seems to be working out great for me!
21. Jemaleddin says… apr 3, 2008 | 9:26 pm

Jason: What do you think of the Fluency Admin plugin? Just curious…

22. Jason Santa Maria says… apr 4, 2008 | 10:44 am

Jemaleddin: I think the Fluency Admin is great! The new WP code is nice and clean making it very easy for people to skin or just change the color palette into something different. We never hoped that everyone would love the new skin, but sought to create something easily malleable for people to do whatever they wanted with it.

23. Rachel says… apr 5, 2008 | 1:35 am

It look great, some really great improvements and I love it!

24. Brady J. Frey says… apr 6, 2008 | 9:47 pm

I just wanted to note, I love this admin redesign; probably the only time I took joy in spending a whole weekend upgrading over 50 wordpress managed systems:). Fantastic job, and my compliments to your team as a whole!

My one small, minor gripe… I almost always write a post more than a page. I keep accidentally hitting ‘Write a New Page’ since it’s the first button on the dashboard ‘Right Now’ section - gives me reason to write another plugin I suppose.

25. Damjan Mozetič says… apr 10, 2008 | 2:54 am

I have been using 2.5 for a while now, and I am very satisfied with the changes in the interface. Good job guys!

26. DeeJay Marrulla says… apr 19, 2008 | 11:12 pm

Great Work my friend, thanks for making wordpress better.

27. John says… apr 24, 2008 | 12:53 pm

Jason great job on the redesign! However, I’ve got to say that your talk at “An event apart” was (is) amazing.

I’m a fan and follower for sure!

28. Byrne Reese says… apr 27, 2008 | 1:08 am

Jason - Happy Cog and team did a wonderful job. The new UI is wonderful. Congrats!