Streamline Featured Image Dialog
I set up all of my web design clients on WordPress because it's super easy to use. Most of my work takes advantage of the
featured_image functionality to set thumbnails for posts, header images, etc. The problem is, the current UI for setting a featured image is way too complicated for my average client.
When I click the "Set featured image" link, the first page with "select files" is just fine. The problem is, on the next page, the "use as featured image" link is a tiny text link buried among all the other settings. WordPress should automatically set any uploaded image as the
featured_image when the user uploads it from this dialog -- ie, only when the get to it from clicking "Set featured image".
At the very least, there should be some big "SET AS FEATURED IMAGE" button in a prominent location in the dialog, instead of the rubbish little text link.
WordPress should automatically set any uploaded image as the featured_image when the user uploads it from this dialog -- ie, only when the get to it from clicking "Set featured image".
How would that work when you upload 6 pics at once? The new (in 3.3) image uploader has a drag and drop component, making it easier to mass-upload, too.
Most of my work takes advantage of the featured_image functionality to set thumbnails for posts, header images, etc.
I would consider, if this is too hard for your clients, to change your themes to grab the first image. If there's a featured image, grab that. If not, grab image #1. I know quite a few themes (Hybrid comes to mind, also Genesis) that do this.
I guess what I mean is--featured image works with ONE image... So why does the UI for adding a featured image assume you're adding multiples? This works fine for power users like you and I--but is confusing for the less experienced.
As far as using the first image, I'd rather use core functionality than hack together workarounds. It isn't that this is hard--it's that it should be easier.
So why does the UI for adding a featured image assume you're adding multiples?
What I'm saying is that UPLOADING images (esp. as of 3.3) allows you to easily upload more than one. If you're uploading multiple images, there's no simple way to know which is featured and which is not. But I do agree, there should be a nice button 'Use as featured'.
(PS: Using the first image as a default, if no featured are found, IS a core functionality, it's not a hack, and it's good coding for a theme)
There are many UI issues with the media uploader. It is the one component of WordPress where my users struggle the most.
Some of that is due to the inherent issues in uploading and managing images of different sizes, aspect ratios, quality, etc. It'll never be as straightforward as adding text and slapping a title on it.
But still, I think it could be a lot better, generally. I'm planning to do a wireframe for a better UI, it's been on my to-do list for quite a while. Will try to speed that up a bit, perhaps this week.
Anyway, the main principles I think are important:
- Uploading images and other attachments is combined in a single interface, which can cause confusion
- There is confusion between the gallery (post-specific) and the media library
- I've never seen anyone use the/a media library properly. I suspect general user research supports this, but I haven't found any specific studies. What my users do is they upload the same image ten times in ten different posts. Very very rarely will they look at the media manager.
- When people upload an attachment, they either want to:
- add a gallery/slideshow of a series of images
- add an identifying image (featured image) to the post
- add an image to the body of the post
- add a downloadable file to the post
I think the media uploader fails in trying to combine all of this in a single interface. There are mixed use cases, but I wonder how common they are. In any case, some prioritization seems necessary.
I've deliberately not put 'add a video' in that list, because I think it's nigh impossible to support properly. Video files can be huge, container and encoding formats are a minefield, so this never works out-of-the-box. I think adding video to posts should be approached in a completely different manner.
These are my personal frustrations. They stem from the installation and continuous support of many WordPress-based sites. I realize my experience is probably biased, but I still want to give a complete UI redesign my best shot. If only to find out if it resonates with others.
@automaton -- Thank you for doing an excellent job of putting into words what I failed to. I look forward to seeing your ideas!
Agreed, streamlining the Featured Image selection function would be really nice. There's no reason for the full media modal during the selection of a Featured Image. You certainly don't need all the normal cruft which lists the various thumbnail sizes, etc. The media selector should be aware of the function the user has initiated and present differently for the different use cases. WordPress has gained huge traction because it's easier for users than the alternatives so simplicity should have primacy on areas of the admin UI that are frequently touched by end users.
The poster eriktdesign really nailed this one, no arguments people.
I propose following UI:
* Drag & Drop to Featured Image => Uploads image and Sets as a featured image.
* Set Featured Image button should open uploader for single image, like suggested above.
And for general uploading pictures:
* Drag & Drop to Editor => Uploads image and Inserts into post.
* Normal uploader button would work like before.
Totally agree with ciantic's proposal. Until things like this are fixed I have a hard time taking statements seriously that we should never build our own interfaces (e.g. for uploading a featured image or background / header image). Creating a good interface is less confusing to costumers than to stick wit the 'already familiar' WordPress interface, when it comes to image management.
When uploading a header image, the primary button should be 'set as header image' or no button at all (as ciantic proposes). Same for featured images of course.
Thanks for bringing this one up Erik.
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