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[resolved] [closed] Admin menu doesn't expand/collapse in 3.3 beta 1. Why? (88 posts)

  1. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 2 years ago #

    How do I see new items in a closed menu without a mouse?

    Try pressing "Enter".

  2. toscho
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Nope, that will open the linked page, not the flyout.

  3. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 2 years ago #

    It will also open the sub-menu - which is exactly the same as the flyout.

  4. toscho
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Okay, probably my fault. I haven’t explained what I’m out for: I need a fast way to find a submenu entry. Until now I just left some submenus open (settings, posts, custom entries). There was no need for additional page loads. Now it is, and that’s the regression I’m talking about.

  5. newsfeedgadget
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Considering plugins are already being developed to revert to expanded menus, isn't that enough said that this needs to be a per site or per user option.

    This will make admin operations on complex sites with dozens of actively used plugins slower, not faster.

  6. scribu
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Considering plugins are already being developed to revert to expanded menus, isn't that enough said that this needs to be a per site or per user option.

    Not at all. When the admin menu was switched from horizontal to vertical, several plugins poped up that reverted this. I'm sure there were users then that demanded an option to switch between the two types of menus, yet here we are, without it, and doing fine.

    NB: I always keep the admin menu collapsed, so I won't comment on dropdowns vs. flyouts.

  7. jonschlinkert
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    “No matter how beautiful, no matter how cool your interface, it would be better if there were less of it.” I love this quote from Alan Cooper. It's great advice, and it has helped me make lots of tough design decisions.

    Unfortunately though, it seems like this debate is not about "simplicity" or usability. It has spiraled into a debate between people who are upset about losing the baked-in features they value and use a lot, and people who didn't use those features and so have already committed to the change. The first camp seems to consist almost entirely of "users" and the second camp seems to consist almost entirely of "developers" who have been around WordPress for years.

    Regardless, I haven't seen a convincing argument as to why the menu in 3.3 is an actual improvement in either form or function. Any superfluous change is a tax on productivity for existing users. IMHO, this menu change is a bad idea, and I'm not the only one who sees this as a problem. If we can keep the emotions out of it, that makes this a debate worth having until the matter is closed.

    It's more effective for us to do that when people are not trying to sort people they disagree with into buckets. It comes off as divisive and elitist to the rest of the community when you say or imply things like "anytime something changes some people are going to resist" (sounds like a cop-out to avoid debating a good point), and "they're power users, not new users" (so, what? the new users haven't learned enough to know what to hate yet? we only want new users from now on, so we're taking away things that power users like? clearly not what you mean, but too many flaws in this logic to even debate it here), or "I'm sure there were users then that demanded an option to switch between the two types of menus, yet here we are, without it, and doing fine." (no one is really demanding anything, just debating a point. and yes, here we are despite people requesting functionality they don't need? every time people complain about a change it's because they can't let go of the old way of doing things, not because the change is a bad idea?).

    These kinds of comments aren't even new or creative. If you have something to say about the menus, let's hear it. But we can do without the opinions on other posters' psychography and how we are just having a hard time dealing with change. If you're a programmer, awesome. I can't do that and I respect you for it. Let's move on without the passive-aggressive attempts to diminish the value of people's posts.

    So here are some reasons why I don't like the menu system in 3.3. (I'm open to feedback or clarification if I am either missing the point or just wrong somewhere):

    1) USABILITY: as a plain old "user" I think the usability in 3.3 is poor. I disliked it from the moment I hovered over the first menu because it was obvious how much more time it would take to get the same things accomplished in the future.

    2) NECESSITY: from a product management standpoint this seems to stand out as an unnecessary change that took developer and designer time and resources away from more important things. What business value does this new menu provide? what problem is it solving? it seems like a solution looking for a problem.

    3) BEHAVIORAL PATTERNS: if you don't use the menus expanded, then you won't realize how much it will require users who do to learn new behavioral patterns without providing an equitable reason to do so.The new menu unnecessarily removes functionality that is materially useful to a lot of users, apparently to accommodate an aesthetic preference. That's form without function.

    4) MOBILE ACCESSIBILITY: Clearly, the new menu was not architected, designed or tested with mobile devices or mobile users in mind. There are extra clicks required in 3.3. The mobile experience in 3.2.1 was already frustrating. It seems out of character based on what little I've read about the dev team that a decision was made to change the menu without specifically looking for ways to improve the mobile experience, AND without even conducting usability testing with the menu on mobile devices, before or after the fact. Mobile devices aren't getting less popular. @Ipstenu:

    Checking 3.2.1 and 3.3 on the iPad. Flyout menus work for me on SVN 3.3 - Click once, they fly out. Click again, go to where I want.
    Yes, only if you know where you want to go in first place. Try "click once they fly out, change your mind and click elsewhere and no flyout. Click a third time to expand menu so you can see the options. Wait for page to load. Click fourth time to go to the page you decide on, assuming you did find the page you wanted on the third click..." Versus "click once, go where I want". I really want to agree with you on this @Ipstenu, because your depth of knowledge of WP intimidates the hell out of me. But I just did this on my iPad for the 4th time to be sure I wasn't smoking crack.

    5) INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE: Minor usability issues aside, there is no apparent progress being made towards solving the bigger information architecture problems that continue to get worse over time; like UI scalability, which is especially evident with people who run multisite and have no way to reorder, sort or search for sites in the menu. Currently we're stuck with a picklist for "My Sites", which is find, I'm thankful to have a tool like multisite in the first place. But if your going to overhaul the menu, my first thought was "what were they thinking?" Picklists are a good choice for static options that rarely or never change, not for lists that were built to grow. It would be nice if we didn't introduce new problems before the old ones were solved.

    6) PROGRESS: the menu redesign that was implemented in 3.2 was a big, obvious step forward. I was really geeked up about it, as I have been about almost every single change WordPress has made to date. But by all visible accounts, the "value" of the changes to the menu in 3.3 are neutral at best, even to its supporters. So I can't see the new menu as anything but a step backwards, especially out of consideration for anyone who prefers to keep the side menu expanded (which again, to me just makes more sense if you work on an iPad or tablet. the alternative is clicking twice to get to each menu option).

    7) SCALABILITY: The expand/collapse menu system in 3.2.1 is infinitely more scalable than the menu system in 3.3. Plain and simple. The more options you add to the flyout menus, the greater the need you have to keep them expanded. This is not a debate about preference, or "why you shouldn't have too many plugins", WordPress was made to be scalable, the new menu was not.

  8. newsfeedgadget
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    jonschlinkert thanks for putting all the time and thought into that well written post. Attempting to add to it would just restate ground you covered.

  9. Aaron D. Campbell
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    It comes off as divisive and elitist to the rest of the community when you say or imply things like "anytime something changes some people are going to resist" (sounds like a cop-out to avoid debating a good point), and "they're power users, not new users" (so, what? the new users haven't learned enough to know what to hate yet? we only want new users from now on, so we're taking away things that power users like?

    It's not meant to be divisive or elitist. However, the unfortunate truth is that it's pretty much impossible to please 100% of the people when you're talking about tens of millions of them. As developers (especially the lead team who help to steer the project) we have to remember too that people tend to speak up when they don't like something but rarely when they do. This means that you might look around and see only negative comments on something even if a majority of people actually liked it.

    It's tricky to figure out what's best for a community so large. Part of the strategy WordPress uses to handle this is the 80-20 rule of thumb. If it is something that 80% of users will use or prefer, then it makes sense to put it in core. That can be a tough pill to swallow for those that are in the 20% (If we think that 62M sites means roughly 62M users, then that's 12 million people), but I honestly think it's the best thing for WordPress.

    Regardless, I haven't seen a convincing argument as to why the menu in 3.3 is an actual improvement in either form or function.

    There have been reasons given that I would consider convincing. Unfortunately you don't consider them convincing. You're entitled to that opinion and I can respect that, but that doesn't mean that this is a "superfluous change" it just means that some people think it is. The basic reasons given previously were fewer clicks and no scrolling, but I would also say aesthetics, which is extremely important.

    To directly address your points:

    1. USABILITY: As much as I understand that it is less usable for you, I don't think it's less usable for the vast majority. The one exception might be for mobile browsing, which you address in #4.
    2. NECESSITY: I would disagree that all development on WordPress should be based on necessity. Having said that, I think that lessening the need to scroll *is* a need and if not then it's at least a goal.
    3. BEHAVIORAL PATTERNS: This is again based on your opinion that there is no "equitable reason" to learn these new behaviors. I agree that some new behaviors will have to be learned, but I disagree that it won't be beneficial in the long run.
    4. MOBILE ACCESSIBILITY: Unfortunately I don't have an iPad or iPhone. I have a Galaxy Tab and a DroidX. I'll agree that it's a little rough on both. A single click does NOT open the menu, it takes you to the item. Ob both the phone AND the tablet holding on the item for about a second brings up the menu, but holding for about 2 seconds brings up a context menu (open in new tab, etc). This isn't a great experience. On the tablet it's actually really nice though because a small left-to-right swipe (my menu is on the left) opens the flyout. This is actually a really nice experience in my opinion and you can go through the menus looking for something pretty quick.
    5. INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE: Arguing that another feature is more needed isn't really an argument against this feature. You continually say that the resources could have been spent elsewhere, but you need to remember two things. First, it's no necessarily the same resources. Some people do UI stuff like this and some people work on the more PHP-heavy features. There IS overlap, but not doing this doesn't necessarily mean another feature you wanted WOULD have been done. Second, the developers are volunteers. This means that while we do split things up and people do work on things that they don't particularly want to work on, in general people work on features that they want. A developer is far more likely to donate time if it's to do something they want. This doesn't mean that everyone runs around willy nilly and all their wants end up in WordPress, but it DOES mean that some projects are just easier to get developers to work on. Same for designers.
    6. PROGRESS: Please see #1. Just because you think the change was "neutral at best" does not mean that the majority would agree.
    7. SCALABILITY: Here I have to disagree completely. The more options you have the more likely a fully-expanded list becomes excessively long and unwieldy. I think that the new flyouts are better on a default install, but I think they really show how much better they are as you add more custom post types, etc and the menu grows.

    By the way, my plugin to keep the menus expanded is in the repository now. It inserts a single line of JS and a single line of CSS into admin pages.

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/expanded-admin-menus/

  10. jonschlinkert
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Aaron, thank you. You make some really good points, I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

    I'll check out the plugin too, thanks a bunch for that.

    No one should be losing sleep over this, I just wanted (in my OP) to get some things cleared up, and I was really more concerned about the "why" than the "what". Hence the title... Up until now, I haven't received the clarification I was looking for - and I'm glad that lots of other folks jumped in to share their thoughts so we could all benefit from the exchange. I could make a few opposing points again, but at this point I think I've said everything I needed to say, and I've personally already belabored this issue to a point where it's way out of proportion with how much I'm actually concerned about the feature itself (clearly I can't speak for others).

    So hopefully my previous post along with Aaron's (and others') answers, provided enough detail to draw this to a conclusion.

    Thanks for the great perspective. The important thing is that the core contributors keep creating and innovating as freely as they would in an agile startup, because users like me really benefit from the speed and frequency of the improvements we receive. I care about that more than the menu.

    Thanks again for the menu plugin, Aaron. I'll check it out now.

  11. toscho
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Aaron thank you for your long answer and your plugin. Just one note (which may belong to the trac):

    The basic reasons given previously were fewer clicks and no scrolling, but I would also say aesthetics, which is extremely important.

    I need more clicks now because the flyouts are keyboard agnostic.

    A good compromise would be a combination of the previous user controlled behavior and the new flyouts: Keep open submenus open until they are closed by the user.

    Keeping all submenus open all the time isn’t necessary and not a very pleasant alternative.

  12. jason_lane
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I think it's fair to say that it's hard to please everybody with any new feature, but it seems to me like 3.2.1 already was pleasing pretty much everybody. For those of us who like having certain menus always open, we have the option to do so. Likewise, for those who prefer to have the more minimalist "out of my way" admin screen, there were actually 2 options: 1. Leave all the menus un-expanded or 2. Use the "Collapse menu" button to go to the really minimalist view. In this view, you also get the flyout menus. So in my view, we've gone from:

    In v3.2.1 - 3 options, which covers most people's personal preference

    In v3.3.x - 2 options, removing one option that many people like

    It's hard for me to see the logic in doing that. I wouldn't say that I'm adamantly opposed to the new menu system, but it does seem like an unnecessary design change that seems to do more to remove functionality than add to it. The new flyout menu view is almost exactly the same as the fully collapsed menu view, except that the menu labels are also visible, and not just the icons. The labels could have been easily added as another view option, without removing an existing option that many people want to keep.

    Just my two cents.

  13. olyma
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Or what the real problem is is a WordPress development team headlong committed to reckless experimentation. Thus they get screams of bloody murder when they do things people don't like ---- and they BLATANTLY, blatantly ignore those screams.

    IF THEY REALLY WANTED TO MAKE WORDPRESS BETTER then they would incorporate backend changes as either options in one's profile --- or as "skins" or even dare I say, release the changes as a new backend "theme"!

    That really should be the route they go, instead of pissing everyone off with changes, JUST LIKE when they release a new frontend theme to accompany a new WordPress release (i.e. Twenty Eleven) they REALLY SHOULD also release an accompanying backend "theme" that can be easily switched out, instead of forcing everyone's hands, and people writing patches to restore it to something of what it was.

    Instead of telling people, "This IS the direction WordPress is going --- damn you all to everlasting hell for wanting anything else than our vision for WordPress." Easily swappable backend theme releases should be standard.

  14. Anointed
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    PLEASE give us an option to revert the menu system back to the old style.

  15. rvlawrence
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Give us the choice to open or expand any menus we want. NOT just one. I want to use the fly-outs AND have the ability to expand/collapse all of my menus. Why not let people choose this in the dashboard and make us all happy? Seems like a simple thing to do and many people want this WITHOUT having to resort to a plugin to restore functionality that was previously there. Please re-consider this. Many thanks.

  16. Chris M.
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I don't like how the admin menus are force-collapsing in 3.3 now. I currently have Beta 2 running and my admin menu is stuck on collapsed. Very annoying.

    I also like to see all of the options that I have at times. I like to keep certain menus opened vertically so that I can jump between things more smoothly (visually, and also not having to wait for the pop-up to appear).

    I don't understand why these options can't be a simple checkbox in the USER PROFILE section of the Admin...

  17. Chris M.
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    @rvlawrence: I couldn't agree more!!!

  18. Knut Sparhell
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I will just say that I love the new menu system with flyouts.

    The 3.2 menues has a big problem. It makes me scroll. I have custom post types and some plugins that creates a main menu item for the options. For each time a visit an admin page, the submenu stays open, at least until I close it.

    If you don't like the flyots, just ignore them and click on the main menu item as before. In that respect it's completely backwards compatible in user experience.

    But it will not let you have more than one submenu open, if you so prefer. That I consider special needs, at the cost of scrolling. Get a plugin to expand the complete menu and be happy scrolling.

    I now work with a lot of WP 3.3 blogs and like the admin a lot. I hate it, when I have to manage the blogs still in 3.2.1. How far down the page do I find the options for a plugin? It depends on how many menu elements I had expanded the last time I was in. Completely unpredictable!

    3.3 is a nice step forward.

  19. Aaron D. Campbell
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    @jason_lane

    I think it's fair to say that it's hard to please everybody with any new feature, but it seems to me like 3.2.1 already was pleasing pretty much everybody.

    Unfortunately that's not true. Just look at @Knut Sparhell's response above. There were a lot of people that agree with him (including me). There's also something to be said for innovation over stagnation.

    @olyma - Without strong leadership guiding the project, WordPress would not be where it is today (on over 63 million sites).

    @anointed & @rvlawrence

    PLEASE give us an option to revert the menu system back to the old style.

    Give us the choice to open or expand any menus we want.

    The philosophy the WordPress leads use it "decisions not options". In order to keep the product user-friendly and easy to use we try to have as few options as possible.

    I don't like how the admin menus are force-collapsing in 3.3 now. I currently have Beta 2 running and my admin menu is stuck on collapsed. Very annoying.

    Ipsentu wrote a great post on why beta is too late in the process for voicing opinions on the UI. It's definitely worth a read as it will hopefully give you a good view of how the development process works.

    I'll update my plugin to allow you to expand/contract each item. Persistence will probably be a browser cookie, so it would not persist from your desktop to laptop, but I think it would still work for most of you.

  20. toscho
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    @Aaron Making interaction for users without a mouse harder and removing a user controlled navigation is probably not what most people see as innovation. I can use the admin bar and the main menu in 3.2.1 with my keyboard. In 3.3 both are broken.

    It is never too late to speak about regressions. Community processes don’t stop when a handful of people declare something as done. The ongoing debate about such issues is what made WordPress so great.

  21. Aaron D. Campbell
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    The updated version of my plugin is available (0.0.2).

    @toscho - I'm not sure I agree it's a regression but if it's deemed as such then you're right, beta *is* the right time to sort it out as beta is for bug fixing. However, if it's just a matter of "not liking" the new way, then that is something that should have been addressed pre-beta.

  22. Anointed
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    The philosophy the WordPress leads use it "decisions not options". In order to keep the product user-friendly and easy to use we try to have as few options as possible.

    I have an idea, why not add a button to the edit user panel where we can choose to revert back to the old system?

    Wp did it for the admin bar afterall...

  23. Aaron D. Campbell
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I have an idea, why not add a button to the edit user panel where we can choose to revert back to the old system?

    There are a couple reasons. The first is that we try to keep the number of options to a minimum and didn't think it was necessary for this. The second is that if we have an option then we need to keep up the code for the old menu system as well as the new one. It leads to bloat and eventually to a system that's too big to be useful.

  24. Uncle Demotivator
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    1. Fly-out submenus without option of keeping them expanded all the time suck big time - it seriously abuse my workflow and I'm working with
    few hundreds WordPress powered sites daily.

    2. Cthulhu bless You for plugin which fixes this issue.

    3. But installing another plugin just to restore something that was a standard feature is just pure evil - if less is more ("we try to keep the number of options to a minimum"), why I have to install one more plugin just to alter my menus. A single option would be much more convenient.

  25. Claverhouse
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I admire the fascismo of Decisions --- Not Options ! in an abstract sense, really I do ( ever provided the effects are remote from me... ), but would it not be simplest for there to be a prominent page on .org listing every plugin, present and future, that can revert an aspect back to that which just worked ?

    That way progress on the one true path can proceed, while those who dislike certain changes can continue ( albeit with additional plugins merely to stay asyouwere ) can run their own blogs as they prefer.

    Personally, I shall not go to 3.3 mostly because of the admin bar, but also this --- I like 3.2 as it is; but such a reference page could be of great help to those who do.

  26. Chinaren
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Okay, I've been using this ever since 3.3 came out and, after several months I can honestly say...

    I still hate it!!!!

    Aaron...

    It's not meant to be divisive or elitist. However, the unfortunate truth is that it's pretty much impossible to please 100% of the people when you're talking about tens of millions of them

    In this case IT IS possible. Totally and utterly possible. Just keep the old functionality and add the new. It's not really something that's hard, the two aren't mutually incompatible. What you've done here is taken something away that didn't need to be taken. You could still have added your flyout stuff too.

    I realize this will probably make no difference at all, as your minds are obviously made up, but I had to rant.

  27. Hackman
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    People who just post don't need menus so how about a moron mode for them?

    Any person actually using the backend needs a simple text list expanded for the side menu. No java, images, li styling, or anything. Pretty is useless.

    Now I must hover over every item to see what is there or where the latest plugin went hiding. The new design is absolutely stupid. Period. No fun when you visit dozens of sites that are all configured differently. It can add tons of time to an entire day of WORK.

    Why does marketing take over every industry eventually? Leave usability to those that actually use it!

    I hack the admin style sheet so most goes away on new installs or if I have time. Otherwise this pig is useless. Without the styling it actually can function for those that read and are not limited to pretty pictures like a KFC menu board!

    Fly out sub-menus? Trying to SELL it to a real estate agent or something?

    Come on, get real...this thing does not have to be just a toy, it can actually be more than that. Too bad those who keep updating it can't figure that out.

  28. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 2 years ago #

    As WordPress 3.3 is no longer in beta, I'm closing this topic.

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