April 4, 2008 11:31 am

Thoughts on WordPress 2.5

I have played around with WordPress 2.5 for a bit and I have a few annoyances with regard to the new admin interface. I managed to change my color scheme to “classic” and that helped me out a bit, but my thoughts on the interface are as follows:

Things I Dislike

The big blue area with your site title and nav
My problem is not so much with the large blue area, but the fact that the main admin navigation sits within it. Pre-2.5, the nav is within a lighter blue bar with a top border, so it is separated. I find this easier to parse through visually; the new version makes it seem like it is part of the same area when it is not. Also, why is Design before Comments? Surely people check comments more than they change their theme?

Text styles
Since I am not on a Mac and am not using IE7, the main nav text looks aliased to me. It’s unpolished and chunky – not sleek and smooth. In the “Manage” area, I dislike that the page/post titles are tiny and bold – I wish they were normal-weight and larger. I’d also love to see the sub-pages with the em-dash next to them be tabbed in a bit, or the dash lightened. Right now they still sort of look like they’re on the same level.

Relative time
I really, really dislike the whole relative time thing. Instead of being able to glance at a date and know when a post/page was created, I have to glance at the date, see how long ago it was, figure out what time it is now, and do math. HATE.

“Published” instead of “View Page”
It also took me a minute to figure out that the link that says “Published” is a link to view your page on the site. Not sure that is very clear. Or maybe I am just slow.

No visible post/page IDs
Lots of conditional statements for templates are made using post/page IDs. I prefer this to page names, since you might rename a page and screw up whatever formatting you had based on the name. Problem is, the ID is not visible anywhere in the “Manage” section. You can figure it out if you hover over the page title and check your status bar to see “action=edit&post=3” and deduce that 3 is the ID, but UGH. Complicated. I want to just LOOK and see what ID something is.

Lightbox for image adding
Lightboxes for core functionality make me nervous. For an image zoom or something superfluous, I think they’re fine. I just don’t like that the image uploading/adding is within the fancy lightbox business because it doesn’t seem stable. What if my browser is running slowly and the lightbox takes forever to load?

Image upload errors
To my knowledge, I don’t have any weird settings on my server. I have never run into image uploading problems until installing 2.5, whereupon I immediately got a “HTTP ERROR” when I hit “Upload.” I tried over and over to get my image to work, but until searching through the support forums and finding some bizarre .htaccess fix, it wouldn’t work. I have no idea what this fix really does, but all I know is that it’s crappy to make people do that to get image uploading to work. Stupid flash uploader. If they wanted a Flash uploader, why couldn’t they have modeled it after Flickr’s image uploader? You know exactly how much of your image has uploaded, and it’s on a PAGE, not a lightbox, and it works.

Subnav
Needs some padding or a very faint dotted line or SOMETHING underneath it to break it out from the main content. I get that it controls the main content area, but it’s too squished up to the content for me. It also seems easily ignorable.

Dashboard
Do people really change their themes often enough to warrant a large button on the Dashboard for it? Also, I wish the placement of the “Write a New Page” and “Write a New Post” buttons was customizable. I rarely create new pages on my site, but on sites that use WP as a CMS, they may create many more pages than posts.

Max-width
On my other monitor at work, the admin area cuts off awkwardly and there’s a ton of extra white-space on the right. However, the “utilities” nav is still squinched off to the right. I think I’d prefer it to all end at the same point, whether that’s narrow or full-width. Better yet, let users enter what width they want to use, and default to a mid-range width otherwise.

Post/Page options all beneath post text instead of in sidebar
A site I’m working on at the moment is primarily using pages, not the blog posts, and there are several different sections of the site that have different color schemes. Therefore, I am using page templates and parent pages a lot. This used to be in the sidebar, and draggable to re-order if need be. Now they are stuck permanently at the very bottom of the page, underneath the Custom Fields (which I am not using), Comments & Pings (which I am not concerned with), and Password Protection (which I am not using). How crap is that? I want to be able to move these around based on what the site uses the most. Also, for posts? Categories being at the bottom is also not that helpful. There is a sidebar! USE IT!

Things I Do Like

That cute little comment image in the “Manage” section
Clever, and adds a nice visual touch to an otherwise imageless page.

Itty-bitty rounded corners
The buttons look nice. Plain, but nice.

Um, that might be it.

Conclusion

I feel like they’ve made WordPress a lot easier for newbies to use, but more difficult for people who know what they’re doing. I don’t need something super fancy that doesn’t work to upload my images. I just need a browse for file area.

Who knows – maybe I will get used to it eventually. In the meantime, I am cooking up a scheme to make a custom admin theme so I am not sad when I go to write a post (however infrequently that happens nowadays).

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4 Comments

  • Saya says:

    Try fluency theme. It’s alot nicer in color and organization (and it makes the most of the page) even though I still keep forgetting to categorize my posts because the categories are so far down :P

    It also took me a very long time to get used to the “published” thing and it’s even harder to remember. I’ve been using wordpress for a long time so so many major changes at once have totally confused me.

    The font is alot better though, I hated the georgia : )

  • heidi says:

    Yeah, yeah, wordpress… lets hear about the wedding!!!!!!

  • Kerri Anne says:

    When Chris and I were redesigning my site this past week it took a bit of finagling in places. I think part of that had to do with my once crappy server, and that were were upgrading my site from a super outdated version of Movable Type, but we got the same image upload errors. Chris eventually figured out how to fix it, but there was quite a bit of perplexed profanity in the meantime.

    I have yet to play around on the back-end for hours upon hours, but I suppose that’s up next.

  • subcorpus says:

    i usllay use a plugin called … WordPress Automatic Update to do my updates …
    but this time i upgraded manually …
    all went well for the most part …
    some links broke … but were easy to fix …
    if anyone of you know how to get lightbox to work on 2.5 …
    plz do drop me a line on my blog …
    thanks …