Let me explain in a few words, why I do not like WP 2.5 Admin GUI (I even wrote a special blog-post, dedicated to my WP 2.5 Admin interface dislikes;-).
It's not about Zeldman (which I like), or Matt (which I like even more). It's about usability and accessibility.
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I am using WordPress since WP 2.0.5. I liked 2.0.5 a lot, also I liked 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, and 2.3.3. But I don't like so much 2.5. There are things which were done in a much better way in 2.3.3!
In WP 2.3.3, most of the settings for a particular post, in the 'WRITE' page, were located in the sidebar. This included 'Edit category', 'Allow/disallow comments/pings', 'Time/Date of publishing', 'Post slug', etc., and this was very useful. I could type my post title & text in the left side of the page, and I could instantly change my post slug, date of publishing, category, etc., in the right side. I could re-arrange the panels, and leave open or closed the ones I liked/used most. I could then (after a 'Preview' in new tab of my browser) instantly save or publish my post, by using the buttons located right below the post title & text. I could also tab to these buttons, which is also nice for people who prefer not to use the mouse so much.
--- WP 2.5: it's no longer possible to re-arrange the panels in the 'Write' page. Also, they are moved to the bottom of the page, which creates a lot of un-needed scrolling up and down. When they were in the sidebar, it was much easier to write a post (left), select category (right), type the post slug, lock/unlock comments and hit 'Publish'. All of this was possible without any scrolling at all. Now, same thing requires: Type title & text of post (top left), scroll down to check category, tags, lock/unlock comments/pings, then scroll up; wait a bit, so the 'post slug' appears after the first autosave, click, change post slug (at the top); change or check date of posting (more clicks, as the field is hidden by default! - right side); scroll down again (if needed, for the other settings), scroll up, hit PUBLISH - in the right (why there and not under text of post?).
This is not usable or user-friendly! This requires a lot more scrolling up and down. And the location of SAVE & PUBLISH buttons is very strange. When you type a comment in a blog, you fill name, URL, comment text, and hit 'SUBMIT'. Where is the Submit button? Below the text! When you write an e-mail online, you fill e-mail address, email subject & body and then hit 'SEND'. Where is Send button? Below text of email! When you fill an online form (signup, etc.), you fill all the fields and then hit 'SUBMIT FORM'. And the button is again below the fields!
Now in WP you create title & text (top left); assign category, tags, lock/unlock comments/pings (bottom of page); edit post slug (top left); edit date/time (top right); finally, hit 'Publish' (top right, instead of below main title & text). And this is not useful or usable at all!
If a certain task is done using more clicks and more scrolling than before, then something is not done in the best possible way, but quite the opposite!
So I believe, parts of the new WP 2.5 GUI should be re-thought.
- Almost everything in the bottom of the 'Write' page should go back to the sidebar. It was there before, and it reduced scrolling, so it should be good!
- Drag-n-drop should be possible again, for the panels in the Write page.
- Save & Publish buttons should go back under the text field of the post, where they belong.
Apart from that, I can live with the new WP 2.5 :-) And users can create new color admin schemes (which is nice), but they cannot place the panels back to the sidebar, as this would require hard-coding of the WP files... I would create an Admin Theme for 2.5 myself, with panels back in the sidebar, but this is not possible without editing the PHP files. :(
Finally, if WP is definitely going this way, at least provide users with an option: A) 'Write' page - almost all panels at the bottom (new 2.5 way), B) 'Write' page - almost all panels in the sidebar (so-called 'Classic 2.3' way). Then users will be able to choose, which way they like it more. I believe, more than a half of them will switch back to 'everything in the sidebar' ;-)
I like WordPress. I use it for more than a year now. I hope it will continue developing as lightweight, handy, useful blogging software, and not a new kind of 'bloatware', with terrible interface and shiny trendy colors... Yes, it was simpler before 2.5. It used darker colors. It had less rounded corners than now. But you know what?
Good web software is not recognized by shiny colors or rounded edges or new sleek AJAX effects. It is recognized by ease of use, and by people loving it. WP is loved by a lot of people, and it was very easy to use (before 2.5 came out). Now I have to do a lot more clicking around and scrolling, to publish my texts. This means, something's wrong in the interface. And I hope it can be/will be fixed. This is better than seeing people around you downgrading back to 2.3.3. And now I see some of my friends going back to 2.3.3 -- which is not good sign at all...
Peace & love! :-)