Support » Requests and Feedback » The WP Media Manager is Absolutely Terrible

  • ursinus


    I love WordPress. I do WordPress sites for a living. I know the platform well, and I come from a background of coding html/css sites in notepad and Dreamweaver. I have to say that as great as WordPress is the media manager is absolutely awful. It is without a
    doubt one of the most awful, horrible, inept, inadequate, pathetic pieces of software I’ve ever seen. It’ absolutely bewildering how such a robust platform has such a completely incompetent, incomplete, inefficient, largely useless interface for such a critical part of the user experience. I literally find it bewildering.

    1. No folders. I know, it’s a DB, who cares, there should absolutely be folders, unlimited levels of nesting, etc. I manage sites with 5k + images. It’s utterly absurd not to have a folder structure for organization. It’s completely insane. Sorry, tags, searching, etc. is a very poor substitute. A massive waste of time.

    2. 20 items per page and only a post.php hack to increase. Are you friggin kidding me? This must be a joke.

    3. Tiny thumbs in the insert dialog. Completely useless.

    etc., etc., etc ad infinitum

    Using the WP media manager is like trying to do a rubik’s cube blindfolded in a straightjacket buried under ten feet of sand.

    Sorry to be so reserved and conservative in my critique. I definitely held back considerably.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 34 total)
  • pixelnate


    I have to agree with (most) of what @ursina is saying. I mean, I have never tried the Rubik’s cube thing, but there are serious usability issues with the way media is being handled in the admin. It was so much easier to manage media file imports with the old system before everything was switched to backbone.

    My main gripes:

    – Only 20 viewable items on a page. This really is a ridiculous limitation and if you have hundreds of images it’s a terrible pain in the arse to find the one you are looking for. There should be an option in the Settings area that would allow for more items on each page.

    – There is only one way to view the files, a list with a tiny icon. If you are looking for specific images it would be much easier to find them with thumbnail views in sort of a masonry/pinterest sort of way.

    – And during media uploads it is not obvious that you have completed the upload. There is not enough visual cues for the user to understand that their images have finished uploading. All they get is a slider bar that moves to 100%. There should be a flash that indicates the file is uploaded and they should be gently asked to add the meta data that they’ll need to find the image later in the huge pile of images that the Media section has become.

    I’m with you, @ursinus, the Media section leaves a lot to be desired. [Unnecessary comments about a forum moderator removed]



    Try using a gallery plugin that is more suited to your needs.

    Andrew Nevins


    WCLDN 2018 Contributor | Volunteer support

    @pixelnate, I’m just posting to thank you on your contributions to the WordPress community.



    That doesn’t fix the working feature broken by bad UX decisions by Automattic & Co. I love using WordPress, and the files are saved reliably on the server (where they are organized by folders), but the interface changes are a major step backwards for those that use the feature the most.

    Telling users to use 3rd-party software because you have broken a previously working feature while completely dismissing the issue is not alright.



    That doesn’t fix the working feature broken by bad UX decisions by Automattic & Co

    There were no bad decisions. Just decisions that you do not seem to agree with. With roughly 70+ million users, it was inevitable that the UI team could not please all of the people all of the time. In reality, the number of “complaints” have been extremely small.

    Telling users to use 3rd-party software because you have broken a previously working feature

    I’m flattered that you should think that I managed to do all of that work myself. Sadly, I was only able to help in a very, very, small way. Most of the work was carried out by a very hard-working team of core developers across the WP community who asked repeatedly for feedback over 4 months whilst 3.6 was in beta. Were you able to pass some of your potential issues to them during that period?

    while completely dismissing the issue is not alright.

    No one has dismissed anything. All that has happened is that people have pointed out alternatives.

    Thread Starter ursinus


    I don’t know how it got this way, all I know is it is almost unusable, up there with Blender in the annals of terrible UIs. And it’s not a small thing, working with media is a major task. It lacks almost everything it should have. It is so basic and so difficult to use. The way to fix it is clear and obvious.

    1. (virtual) folders for organization, unlimited nesting, easy drag/drop organization and renaming w/o affecting links. This is so basic!! You can’t have a proper graphic-intensive cms without this.
    2. No square thumbs, for God’s sake, thumb sizes for choosing
    3. User defined # of items per page, no limit
    4. Full screen insert dialog with actual thumbs
    5. Much better display of file info from within dialogs, it’s awful at the moment

    You didn’t get complaints because people just suffer through it and are not experts in UI enough to articulate it. I am a UI consultant, and this thing would get a 1/100 if we had to use a scale.

    Thread Starter ursinus


    Try using a gallery plugin that is more suited to your needs.

    That’s exactly the point. Take a brilliant gallery plugin like Global Gallery by Luca. A marvel of efficiency and UI design, and it is crippled by the horrible WP UI component. Everything is a huge pain and takes ten times longer than it should. There aren’t even file names under the useless tiny square thumbnails for god’s sake. It’s baffling, because the overall WP UI is pretty strong.

    The square thumbs, generally a very bad idea in a cms backed, are a huge extra problem with premium themes, where the dev is often uploading multiple versions with different aspect ratios to use in different preset parts of the theme architecture. It’s a mind numbing waste of time when you have hundreds of images to deal with.

    Moderator Mel Choyce-Dwan


    20 items per page and only a post.php hack to increase. Are you friggin kidding me? This must be a joke.

    Just an FYI: you can increase the number of media items shown within the screen options panel.

    Thread Starter ursinus


    I’m using 3.6.1 and my screen options panel has no setting for this



    Ursinus, while I think you have some valid points, the way your presenting these issues is not going to get you anywhere.

    I tend to agree that the existing media manager is less than ideal — but its light years ahead of the previous UI for my use case. I understand that this may not be true for you.

    While I get that folders seem like the best solution for organizing a large library of media items, you (and I) don’t know that for sure. I tend to think tagging, and smart filters is way better for the majority of use cases. Again, I get that you may disagree. But neither one of us has any proof that either concept is better than the other.

    Your best option is to present some solutions to these problems (some of which you’ve done), and rally a team together to fix them. New features in WordPress (3.8 and likely forward) will be built as plugins. Build a prototype. Test it. Learn. Get some proof that folders are the way to go.

    And, even if your plugin never makes it into core — its still available for the rest of the community to use.

    You have the power to take the reins and make things better — this is one of the fundamental “things” that makes WordPress great.

    Thread Starter ursinus


    I manage several sites with 1k+ images. In my opinion tagging is a huge waste of time and nowhere near as efficient as organization by folders. I’ve been doing graphics heavy sites for 14 years now, pre and post wordpress, and have 16 years as a professional photographer doing captions and keywords for tens of thousands of images. I think this above position is a matter of fact, born out of thousands of hours of experience. If I had any doubt I would have never posted that.

    Folders aside, the media manager is deficient in almost any area you can name. Everything about it is poorly designed and inefficient. I love WordPress in general, just calling it like I see it, though I realize for others it may not be such a pain.



    In my opinion tagging is a huge waste of time and nowhere near as efficient as organization by folders.

    I don’t know why you feel tagging is less efficient that folders. You could tag 1,000+ images just as easily as you could move them into a folder. A huge benefit of tagging is that a media item could have multiple tags. Its confusing to think of having a media item live inside multiple folders. Think of how Gmail uses labels, versus Outlook’s folders.

    I think this above position is a matter of fact…

    You can’t use the phrase “I think” and then follow it by declaring it a “fact.” The truth is you don’t know. Folders may be easier. Tagging may be just as easy, but perhaps more useful. The only way to truly know is to build it, test it, and repeat.

    Everything about it is poorly designed and inefficient. I love WordPress in general, just calling it like I see it, though I realize for others it may not be such a pain.

    I’m glad to see your realization that your problems are not shared by everyone. And I’ll repeat — if you think the media manager is so terrible, please do get involved and help to make it better. That may be through a few quick sketches, a thorough blog post, a masterful design comp, or a fully baked plugin.

    It’s really bad. It’s a nightmare to find the previously uploaded image and I have over 4-5k images. Search is terrible – it find nothing. So I have to re-upload same image over and over again wasting space. And I din’t find any decent replacement of Media Manager.

    Hello everybody,

    I am working with Joomla for quite some years now and I always felt not really happy about WordPress as a CMS.

    I had to develop a blog for a client for who I developed a site in Joomla and he wanted to have the blog done in WP, because “everybody tells me that a blog has to be a WordPress installation!” (although Joomla can do exactly the same).

    I had my troubles but manged to make a decent theme with all the files, and extra codes to make it as comfortable for my client as possible (although the theme logic is no exsiting logic for me).

    But I still don’t understand the hype about this software.

    For me it is, still, not a mature Content Management System. It is a Blog System and everybody is trying so desperately to push it to the CMS level.

    The popularity comes from where every little child is able to create an account and to pick some presets and to say “Hey I am a webmaster! I have my own blog! I am soooo cool!”

    So clients are more and more persisting to have their business websites with all the bells and whistles like web-meetings, shops and bookings in WordPress instead of a decent CMs like Drupal, Contao, Typo3 and, yes, Joomla.

    So I obey to the wishes of my clients and to the need to earn money and I started this holidays again with WordPress.

    Loads of things which comes native with Joomla have to be realized with plugins or coding which are found after ages of searching with Google.

    This shows me that WordPress is still adolescent when it comes to being a grown-up CMS.

    I am using 3.8 now making a “copy” of my current site just to practise. I want to organize my portfolio and create folders. One folder for each client I want to show on my site with all the screenshots of that project in that specific folder.

    And I want it MY WAY and I hate to be ruled by some coding which tells me what to do and how to do it.

    So Ursinus is absolutely right that the media handling of WordPress is absolute crap [Expletive moderated].

    The media Manager (in fact this name is a joke for this stupid solution. It should be called “The Chaotic Clueless Media Container ” is the worst solution I have ever seen.

    And I am not even able to play with the code to crack the WordPress dictatorship concernning managing (oh well) media.

    In Joomla there is also (of course) a media manager and this manager is entitled to be called a MANAGER.

    One sees the structure of the folders inside the folder “images”, which comes automatically with each installation and one can create folder, delete folders and rename folders.

    One can create folders per FTP and they will appear in the media manager as well as the uploaded files in that folder.

    Why is that not possible in WordPress? Is there a good reason or argument not to offer this option in WordPress?

    Just enable webmasters, developers and all the people who are working in the backend to create their won folders and to upload the files they need in them.

    I am looking now for three days to find a propper solution without gallery extensions (I want to manage images and other files without the burden of extra php- and other files coming with this extension!

    Maybe my logic is different than from WordPress users but in my opinion this issue is just awkward and the developers of WordPress should be ashamed.


    Rob van Linda

    I guess the categorical opinions come from fact, that people invest time going wordpress, thinking of such feature as obvious must-have. And though I don’t think WordPress developers owe anything to anyone, I do agree with most of what is said.

    I’m waiting a year already for something decent to appear regarding media management. Now I have to decide what I’ll use. It seems people grasp the problem as some half-decent plugins begin to appear, but using plugins for basic functionality is quite destructive for system. You won’t get the devil back once it’s out. If WordPress will be only a brand and functionality will be elsewhere, the title will go to someone else sooner or later. Someone will put together an out-of-the-box working solution thus eventually forking the idea of WordPress. No jingle of simplicity and stylish backend will save it then.

    Anyway – perhaps not perfect, but anyone is free to comment:

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 34 total)
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