Design Tweaks: Who's In? (An idea in three acts)

Posted April 25, 2009 by Jen. Filed under User Interface.


Jane: It is a thorn in my side that the blog name header is above the “dashboard” nav section in the admin, since in MU installations and with plugins (like stats), things in the Dashboard section span multiple blogs. Makes more sense for the header to head only the per-blog content area.

Mark: I agree about the header. “This is the menu, this is the content.”

All: Yep.

Five minutes later…

Mark: What do you guys this of this quick mockup I just did, playing with the admin header?
Mark Jaquith's mockup

Jane: I like it that the nav is not under the header. Might need some styling help. I was also thinking maybe the favorites menu should drop down into the white h2 area by screen options/help tabs.

Ryan: Menu color to the top with blog title pushed over and favorites next to screen options sounds quite nice.

Jane: I’ll ask Matt Thomas if he could style it [ed. note: Matt Thomas created the visual style for 2.7], and we can see what people think, maybe post on wpdevel for feedback.

Ryan: If it’s quick, maybe we could even get it into 2.8.


Matt T: Here are some comps based on what you told me.

Jane: Cool, but where are Screen Options and Help tabs?

Matt T: Still working on that.

Jane: Hm. Wonder if there’s time to open this up to community designers? I know we’re in freeze, and it’s no notice, but you didn’t get any notice either when we dropped this styling request on your lap a few hours ago. That’s the way open software development works: sometimes the best ideas come at the last minute!

Matt T: I’m all for letting the community take a stab at it. Especially if they come up with something brilliant to do with the Screen Options and Help tabs.

Jane: I’ll ask Ryan about release date and see if there’s time. I know they wanted your style recommendations today.


Ryan: Tuesday is probably doable, no later than that for final delivery of style and any gradient graphics, etc.

Jane: Awesome! People will hate me for the short notice after the has-patch marathon, but since it’s a small project and over the weekend, and wasn’t even something anyone was planning until a few hours ago, I’m *really hoping* people will take this for what it is, an attempt to give more people input into an upcoming visual change in the interface, even if it’s not a huge one.

Ryan: Would have the benefit of warning people that header and menu will be changed a bit.

Jane: And we can have a vote. If I can get all the materials together and post in the morning, that would give 2 days of design time for submissions on Monday, and if we do a day of voting Tuesday, that’s 3 days notice for the vote. I’ll make sure to post to all the lists, etc.

Ryan: Will we announce with comps from Matt T as examples of what we’re thinking?

Jane: I’ll write up the UX reasons for considering the change, and Matt T can provide some style guidelines and his original comps so no one will have to waste time mocking up the basic screen layout.

Ryan: That would help set the scope. We just want tweaks here and there, given the timing.

Jane: Woot!

On Your Mark, Get Set…
Okay, so here’s the deal. Modifying the nav/header to be a little nicer is was a last-minute design idea, and if it can’t be worked out in the time we have left before 2.8 (which is very little), we’ll just wait until 2.9 to work on it. But! If someone comes up with something the community really likes and it doesn’t break any of the design guidelines for the rest of WordPress, we could sneak it in.

UX and design guidelines for this mini-project are posted here (so as not to clog up anyone’s feed reader with big graphics). Read through the UX stuff, check out the comps Matt Thomas mocked up last night (with absolutely no notice, for the record). Use the .psd as your base, and when it’s time to submit your ideas, make a .jpg or .png and post a link to it in the comments on this post. (Note: Only comments containing a link to a design submission using this format will be approved. For general discussion about this design challenge or any of the submissions, please head into the #wordpress-dev IRC channel.)

Submit the link to your comps by 1am Tuesday, April 28 UTC (7pm Monday, April 27, New York time). If you have questions or want early feedback, we’ll be in and out of the #wordpress-dev IRC channel between now and then.

Once we’ve received the submissions, we’ll post a voting survey (much simpler than the icon survey; this one will be more of poll, just choose the one you like best) as soon as possible, and will post the link to it here as soon as it’s online. We’ll only keep voting open for one day because of the 2.8 deadline, so put it on your calendar if you think you’ll forget. Voting will close at 2am Wednesday, April 29 UTC (8pm Tuesday, April 28, New York time). Results will be announced the following day.


* Chats above are a conglomeration of actual chats.

Reminder: Only comments containing a link to a design submission will be published here. All other comments will be deleted.

If you want to leave a public comment about this contest, the design, etc., I’ve created a thread in the forums that you can use. Please discuss these things there. If you leave a regular comment here on this blog, no one will be able to reply to you, because only actual links to design submissions will be posted in the comments here.

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  1. Here is my submission: a blog post explaining the reasoning behind the redesign, and a direct link to the image.

    Comment from Kaspars on April 26, 2009

  2. Here is my submission

    psd is also available here :

    Comment from arena on April 26, 2009

  3. This is a pretty awesome opportunity so thanks for it.

    Since we’re under the wire, I didn’t go too crazy changing any core files other than the wp-admin.css file.

    Here’s a link to my screen shot, and here’s a link to the CSS to make it work (if you’re anxious to see it in action.)

    Comment from John James Jacoby on April 27, 2009

  4. For my submission I tried to stick with what we have as best as I could. I like this one because its a little more personal for the user and saves quite a bit of room with the site link (which for WPMU could be made into a drop down).



    Thanks for the consideration!

    Comment from Kevin Miller on April 27, 2009

  5. Mockups are all on the page linked below, I’ve included examples of expanded and collapsed menus, plus a couple of minor variations in colours, plus some reasoning behind my choices.

    Looking forward to seeing what others suggest.

    Comment from Dean Robinson on April 27, 2009

  6. Пора переименовать блог, присвоив название связанное с доменами 🙂 может хватит про них?

    Comment from Marinkina on May 22, 2009

  7. Her whole family is preditory. That father of hers complaining HARD about his $150,000/year salary.
    Now we all know where she gets it.
    Should be automated anyways. You let the blacks in New Orleans off.
    Barely skilled labor.
    Reincarnated as milking cows, ironically.

    Comment from Good riddance on September 19, 2009

  8. Спасибо. В этом блоге комментаторы хоть нормальные.. А то пишут обычно в комментарии ерунду всякую.

    Comment from loputreyu on September 24, 2009

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