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4/25 Weekend Design Challenge Comments (43 posts)

  1. Jen Mylo
    Key Master
    Posted 5 years ago #

    This forum is a place for people to discuss the design challenge around the 2.8 navigation and header that is posted about here: http://wordpress.org/development/2009/04/design-tweaks-whos-in-an-idea-in-three-acts/

    Since discussion comments are not posted on the dev blog, this is a place to discuss the idea of community design, specific design ideas, file formats, whatever you would have left in the comments on that post.

  2. Curious if you're looking for a reworked PSD file, or a reworked wp-admin.css file? Or both? Or neither? :)

  3. Jen Mylo
    Key Master
    Posted 5 years ago #

    @johnjamesjacoby A reworked psd for the purpose of design selection. If the designer is also a competent coder and wants to code it up, that'd be great, if he/she can do it fast enough. Baseline, though, is a psd.

  4. Tobias Jordans
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Comment about the concept:
    Initially I didnt get why you want to move the header in a Singleblog-Installation... until I read, that you where talking about WordPress MU.
    But in both cases, I dont think changing the header and navigation position is the right decision!

    **For Singleblog-WordPress-Installation:**
    The header hierarchy is right: First comes the header with its quicklinks, then comes the navigation + content for all the blog-stuff that belongs to this header.
    Changing this is a bad usability and iA desicion for all Singleblogs.

    **For WordPress MU-Installation:**
    Changing the navigation to solve the usability-problem of per-blog- and per-wordpress-mu-entries does not work! Even if the navigation is placed like in the new design. How does that help me to understand, which menu-entries belong to the currenct blog an which belong to the superiour level (MU)?

    There ought to be another way.

    For excample: Create a divider in the navigation that places MU-entries separate from blog-entries.
    Or just move those menĂ¼-entries that belong to all blogs (to the MU level) inside the MU-Bar which is above the blog-bar, isnt it? (at least it is in buddypress).

    So my vote is to leave it like it is until the overall problem is solved.

  5. Jen Mylo
    Key Master
    Posted 5 years ago #

    @tobias It may well be that a lot of people agree with you, and the existing nav structure wins the vote (we'll include the current design as an option). With the number of people who've written posts about the nav since 2.7 came out, though, I don't know. As I mentioned in the post, the chats were sampled, and that line about MU just happened to come before the point when Mark did a mockup.

    The main reason to fiddle with the nav/header configuration has nothing to do with MU, it's to get more of the nav bar above the fold. Because there are a lot of sections, there are people who get aggravated when the lower ones drop below the fold on their laptop screens. By moving the nav up a bit, these people could access their Settings section without having to scroll down.

    Please believe me, after all the long nights working on the 2.7 interface, I'm not going to back any interface tweaks unless it seems like they will clearly improve the user experience

  6. engin1984
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    what about that: No quick-links (drop down) and no -moz-border-radius ,n Firefox. So WordPress admin menu faster in openings menus and drag and drops.

    http://img408.imageshack.us/img408/9048/wpadmin.png
    Pay attention top-right menu.
    Sorry for my English.

  7. Jen Mylo
    Key Master
    Posted 5 years ago #

    @engin1984 For this design challenge, changing the functionality (which removing the quick links/favorites menu would do) isn't an option, just changing the style. In addition to it being a popular feature with users, there are a number of plugins that use that menu.

    Andrew has made a number of performance improvements in 2.8, which should make the admin faster. For the design challenge though, we're only looking for visual design changes; removing existing functions isn't being considered.

  8. Tobias Jordans
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    @janeforshort Thanks for your reply. Just to make it clear: You (all) did an amazing job with the new WP2.7 Interface. Its also great to see you thinking about improvements and involve the community in the decision-making!

  9. flashbytes
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    The weekend is almost over. Nevertheless I'd like to point out a few issues with the backend menus when you have many plugins. I have almost 40 plugins installed and so the menu that pops up, when I hover the (minimized) settings icon, the list is so long that I cannot reach the first 4-5 items.

    Also the items are not sorted by the item title but by something else. Sorting the items alphabetically would make the menu a lot better to read and easier to find what you are looking for. Now, when a new plug-in is installed it turns into a sub-menu search.

    Also there should be some kind of visual seperation between WordPress items and plug-in items inside one menu (that goes in general for all menus).

    If I had more time on my hands I'd try to submit ideas how to solve those issues.

    To all of you out there, who solve issues and make WordPress better every day: THANK YOU! :)

  10. Jen Mylo
    Key Master
    Posted 5 years ago #

    @flashbytes Thanks for the feedback. We're not really changing anything functional in the menus for 2.8 other than some new custom taxonomy hooks, I think, but I'll bear your comments in mind when we start making the feature list for 2.9.

    I hear you about the settings menu when you have a lot of plugins installed. I think the answer to that is ultimately to be found in standardizing where plugins place their configuration screens, which will be a tough one to agree on, much less enforce. Nevertheless, we would like to figure this out, and hope to work with the plugin community to determine the best approach. (First up, though, working with the community to determine the best ways to allow discussion and feedback on features in a less fragmented way than we have currently.)

    As to visual separation between core WordPress menu items and plugin in menu items... I disagree. The idea of a plugin is that it becomes a seamlessly integrated part of your WordPress. It should feel like a part of the application, not like an add-on.

    Thanks for taking hte time to comment with your experience, though. I hope when we start to address the issue of plugins and menus, you'll make sure to get involved in the discussion.

  11. Wayne Luke
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Personally, not too worried about it. I like the Fluency design over the current option and its available as a plugin. More than that though, I prefer the dropdown menu provided by OZH. As long one of those options continues to be available. I don't care what the dashboard in 2.9 looks like.

  12. Will Norris
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    I have a lot of reservations regarding the DR* themes, partially for reasons mentioned by others either here or on the PollDaddy poll. Having the sub-menus fly out to right, rather than open up downward both covers up part of the screen (maybe not a huge deal), but also breaks the ability to leave a commonly used menu left open all the time. That alone should be a deal breaker.

    Something I've not heard others talk about is the placement and style of the "Help", "Screen Options", Quick Links, etc. IK seems to be the only design that gets the place completely wrong, having the Quick Links below Help and Screen Options. Quick Links are global, so should absolutely be in the top menu. Screen Options and Help however are specific to the page you're looking at, so should visually be within the context of the current page.

    One of my other concerns with the DR* themes is the fact that Help and Screen Options had been changed from tabs to buttons. Tabs actually work out nicely in the current UI, because they slide down to reveal the additional content. What would the buttons actually do? How would you display the Screen Options? You certainly wouldn't want to slide in like the current UI, they would be very inconsistent with a button. You could do a lightbox, but why take over the entire screen for things that should rightly be in a sidebar. Tabs definitely make sense.

    Given the extraordinary time and effort Jane and the Automattic crew put in to developing Crazy Horse, it would be shame to make a drastic change to the UI without a similar level of scrutiny and attention. If the desire is to ship a UI change with 2.8 (given how little time is left), then it needs to make the least amount of changes possible to achieve the goal (which is to get more of the primary menu above the fold). Almost all of the proposed designed (especially those that are getting high votes) change far more than should really be necessary.

  13. thinkstorm
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    !!! the flyout menus will be terrible to use from mobile devices !!!

  14. thinkstorm
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Flyout menus are usually also not very good for accessibility by screen readers or braille bars.

    One suggestion for the future (before demolishing everything until 2.8 release date): make the interface greasemonkey-friendly, so people could use at least thick-client based scripting engines to adjust their layout...

    Mobile access and accessibility are both key for me.

  15. Dean Robinson
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    If anything, this 'challenge' will provide me both positives and negatives around Fluency which I can look to address in the future. Feedback is good :)

    As long one of those options continues to be available.

    The Fluency plugin will remain available, and will be updated regardless of the outcome of this challenge.

    Having the sub-menus fly out to right, rather than open up downward both covers up part of the screen (maybe not a huge deal), but also breaks the ability to leave a commonly used menu left open all the time. That alone should be a deal breaker.

    In defense of the flyouts, they are only there while your hovering over the menu, at which point you don't really need to see what underneath because you should be looking at the menu. I believe the ability to leave a menu expanded is irrelevant if the menu is show on hover, but maybe that's just me. "Deal breaker" might be a bit strong given that flyouts is how the current menu works when in 'collapsed' mode. My reasoning is here: http://deanjrobinson.com/wordpress/design-tweaks-28/

    What would the buttons actually do? How would you display the Screen Options? You certainly wouldn't want to slide in like the current UI, they would be very inconsistent with a button.

    They would do something like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deanjrobinson/3101608647/ hard to demonstrate everything with a single screenshot

    the flyout menus will be terrible to use from mobile devices

    yes, agreed, however I doubt the current admin is particularly nice to use on a mobile device either. Theres a reason why there is a native iphone app and numerous "iphone optimised admin" plugins.

    also worth saying that there is no reason that the Fluency design can't have expand/contract style menus (like the current one) my mockups have flyouts simply because that what Fluency currently has.

    Theres only so much you can knock together in a couple of hours, with additional time theres probably a bunch of things that I would/will change.

    Keep the feedback rolling, keeps me thinking about ways I can possibly improve Fluency in the future.

  16. psybertron
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Any news on the scope of 2.8 enhancements after the previous survey ? These are all minor tweaks compared to the potential content management changes.

  17. Mark
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    The file mt-dp-up.png (the one by GB if I'm correct) best preserves the classy WordPress look that I think fits the matured WP2.8 or 2.9. Big and classy serif fonts have been a WordPress hallmark for years now. Never change a winning formula. JJ's design also preserves this classy style. If I could vote for more than one, I would vote for these two.

    The Fluency style sans-serif headers do nothing for me; I suppose it looks trendy (well, sort of early 00's) but the visual design is no longer a unity in these mockups. The same problem holds for KM and IK. Besides, the Swiss-style sleek sans-serif font used in these mockups is not actually available cross-browser, so that would probably bring it to Arial, which would be a letdown.

    KD's solution is to place the blog header in a shape similar to the shortcut button. That suggests interaction (a button) to me where there is none (except perhaps in MU installations); besides, I don't know about the green.

    The curved tab in the header of wp28.png (AN) doesn't really fit with the overall visual language of the rest of the admin.

    (Next time the files should have consistent names...)

  18. Kaspars
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    KD's solution is to place the blog header in a shape similar to the shortcut button. That suggests interaction (a button) to me where there is none (except perhaps in MU installations); besides, I don't know about the green.

    The reason I think the blog title should be a button itself is because I don't see the purpose of placing a smaller button (labeled View Site) next to a large title which you know very well.

    The color of the button's background would be configurable in order to make it very easy to distinguish between all WordPress blogs one might have.

    p.s. I must agree that out of all of the proposals, the mt-dp-up.png by GB looks like the best next step.

  19. geektown
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    I do really like the Fluency style, but it does have one huge flaw.

    The menu doesn't scroll with the page (or at least it didn't on the version i tried). So if you have a lot of plugins that add menu items, and are using a smaller screen resolution, you can't reach the items on the bottom of the menu as they run off the bottom of the screen.

  20. Jen Mylo
    Key Master
    Posted 5 years ago #

    @wnorris: I think we've all agreed to hold off on implementing any interface changes (well, re nav/header. the widgets screen is changing a bit. :)) until 2.9 so we can take the time to study the designs that were most popular (right now it's the fluency-based, the current 2.7, and the MT) and determine what works and doesn't work in them. Anything that gets put up in 2.9 will also be tested to ensure it is an improvement over what we have... we won't change it just for fun. (Fun. Ha.)

    Regardless of which design is chosen, screen options and help will certainly remain as tabs. I am strongly committed to the notion that submit buttons should submit something, not just be a flashier way to make a hyperlink. I know there are still a few inconsistencies in 2.7 around this, but the goal is to use links for links, and form buttons for forms.

    And we'll definitely keep the multi-modal menu functions, regardless of the styling. You won't be forced to use flyouts, it will remain optional.

    @psybertron: 2.8 includes an update to widget management (no more losing settings when you take a widget out of one sidebar, multi-use for all widgets, UI like the rest of 2.7 (open/close, drag and drop), an inactive area where you can hold on to widgets you've configured but don't want in a sidebar right now, new API, etc), some custom taxonomy stuff, a bunch of performance improvements, an embedded theme browser/installer (pulls from .org repository, like with plugins), lots of bug fixes, etc. I don't know if this list is fully updated yet, but most of the 2.8 updates seem to be here.

  21. RENAUT
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    About AN

    menus are divided in three sections

    + Content (Post, Media ...)
    + Users (Users)
    + Customization (Settings, Appearance, Plugins, Tools)

    in the psd file, you will see undisplayed layers about the Panels and Help when activated

  22. sembasics
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Hi there,

    I'm sorry if I'm rewriting something that people above have already written, but I really don't have time to go through all 20+ posts right now. I just wanted to offer my thoughts and ask a question.

    This is the one I like the most: http://andrerenaut.ovh.org/wp28.jpg.

    The reason why is that it streamlines the design and puts much more emphasis on the working area by moving everything up. Also, I like the idea of having different groupings of menu tabs (a post grouping, a user group, and a technical aspects groups) it makes it easier to work one's way around. I'd like it even more if plugins could have their own little grouping so as not to clutter up the Settings section (even better still would be if we could then further sub-group the plugins according to our own grouping, but that's another story).

    So - that's my reason for choosing that design.

    With that said - I have a few questions:

    1) where is the link to visit the site?
    2) Can we still open up the Dashboard tab to see sub-tabs like Blog Stats?
    3) Where is the name of the blog - or is that what Just Another WordPress Blog stands in for? If so, then please add a view site link right below it or to the right of it.

    In short - I think that functionally speaking this is the best option and that it looks nice (although perhaps it could be spruced up a bit).

    Be well,

    Moshe

  23. RENAUT
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    @sembasics

    "Just Another WordPress Blog" is the name of the blog AND the link to visit site

    thank you for your comment

  24. Hey everyone! The JJ submission is mine, and I'd like to thank anyone that voted for it! I'm surprised it got so many votes! The competition really had some good ideas and I can tell you've been thinking about this for a while.

    If I can take a moment to explain my design...

    • I made minimal changes so that it could fit under the 2.8 time constraints.
    • Never was a fan of using the Georgia font for the main navigation links, and it looks like everyone else changed the font too.
    • I made the panel a little wider also, since some plugins make their own panels that end up being too wide and force their text onto two lines which REALLY uglies things up.
    • I think having the short cut drop down menu on the right side of the screen goes against the entire idea of having a short cut area. Since the navigation is on the left, and your mouse will typically be in that area anyhow, why move the mouse over to the right just to click something farther away than where you just were?
    • I really like the idea of having the navigation menu be its own defined area on the page, so I bumped it up to the tippy top, and made the header area not so wide to accommodate it.
    • I also only modified the wp-admin.css file, so that it was a 2 second patch if it needed to be committed right away for release.

    I actually really like IK and MT's final ideas a lot, and think those will be the inevitable direction that 2.8+ should go. The strict divide between admin screens and the post body area is a much needed (and currently missing) design element, that immediately visually directs your attention to the places it belongs for the right reasons.

    Good job again everyone, and thanks to everyone that deserves it, for everything you're doing, all the time you're doing it. :)

  25. bondageradio
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    I don't really understand why you can't just make the whole dashboard 'Theme'able

    You have Themes which tons of people contribute to, to fit various needs and tastes. Why not have dashboard-themes in wp-content right along with buddypress-themes or members-themes or whatever it's been changed to?

    This could also change a BIG question a lot of admins have as to why cant they theme the Login/Profile and dashboard sections of their blogs for subscribed users?

    The work you're doing is great! But if you keep focusing on all these here trees, the forest is gonna come along and ya'll will miss it.

    -Radio-

  26. sembasics
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    I agreed that we should make the dashboard themeable. As things stand now, Fluency Style Dark is leading the pack (with 18% of the vote) and all three fluency themes combined have almost 40% of the vote. That seems to indicate that some form of fluency may be in the offering - that's fine for people who like, but in my mind it would be a huge step backwards.

    I personally prefer the present theme much more to that theme. But why should we have to have this discussion at all - let's use all those designs by making the dashboard themeable. That way everyone can get what they want and more (since other people could also make new themes beyond the ones we saw here).

    Great idea - I think I'll add it to the new ideas section.

    All the best,

    Moshe

  27. Stephen Mekosh
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    BondageRadio: I don't really understand why you can't just make the whole dashboard 'Theme'able

    [...]

    The work you're doing is great! But if you keep focusing on all these here trees, the forest is gonna come along and ya'll will miss it.

    I absolutely agree with BondageRadio's post. For me, one of the biggest downsides to WordPress is the CONSTANT redesigns and reworks of the admin interface. I've helped to implement WP as a CMS for non-tech-savy people in a corporate environment several times and it's always frustrating when I need to explain how to do everything in the admin now that it's completely different AGAIN.

    Implement a way to theme/skin the admin, but leave the structure alone. It works fine the way it is. Aren't there bigger issues than whether the blog name goes next to the nav or above it?

  28. TheSpoter
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Implement a way to theme/skin the admin, but leave the structure alone. It works fine the way it is. Aren't there bigger issues than whether the blog name goes next to the nav or above it?

    100% agree - allow us to make platform even more popular but you have to help us - each redesign forces us into re-doing all the tutorials, guides and doing tremendous amount of unnecessary work.

  29. justgable
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Implement a way to theme/skin the admin, but leave the structure alone. It works fine the way it is. Aren't there bigger issues than whether the blog name goes next to the nav or above it?

    Took the words right out of my mouth. These redesigns every other point release are frustrating. Developing your own admin skin for WP is a hassle already without having to worry about it being completely broken with a point release.

    I love WP, it really is the best system out there that doesn't over complicate things for end users, which is invaluable when your handing over a system to a non-technical client. This just seems to be the missing piece.

  30. mr.knoss
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    I am not really enthusiastic about the poll procedure as well as the result. First of all I don't understand why the poll was open only for 2 days within the week and not for longer including the weekend (what IMHO would bring more votes). I think that 2.600 votes are not representative for the WordPress community.
    If you look at the top four, you'll see that they are within a range of only 3%. The winning design represents the opinion of only 18%, while 82% prefer other designs (16% voted for the current).
    I would appreciate a second poll with only the top four designs and hopefully much more votes.

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