[wp-hackers] 2.5 admin menu thoughts

Liz Danzico liz at bobulate.com
Thu Feb 21 17:10:30 GMT 2008

Hey all -

I worked as part of Happy Cog with Automattic on the user research  
and IA for the new admin, so I wanted to put some of the rationale  
out there:

> On Feb 19, 2008 7:59 AM, Ozh <ozh at planetozh.com> wrote:
>> there's something I don't get in the new UI
>> : how various admin links are spread all over the header.
>> 1) link to dashboard in the upper left corner
>> 2) link to your profile in the upper right corner
>> 3) links to plugins / users / settings on the right hand
>> 4) rest of the regular menu on the bottom left.
>> Maybe I just need some arguments to convince me, but I fail to  
>> understand
>> how this is supposed to make things simpler.

Not an explanation per se, but here was our process:

To start to understand how people were using the navigation, and more  
importantly, how people needed to use it, we looked at two things:

* Task analysis: we watched, in person, how people across different  
segments used the admin to perform basic tasks
* Site analytics: we looked at the data to evaluate the most visited  
screens and paths to screens

(Both of the above were informal, rather than rigorous measures, and  
this kind of testing of the admin will be ongoing.)

Based on the above, we found that most users primarily do four basic  
* Write new posts
* Manage existing posts/pages
* Manage comments
* Tweak the layout

We also found that people tend to think of the comments area as a  
kind of inbox—almost like email. So we wanted to treat that a bit  
different (e.g., placement on the right with a count of open comments).

The IA work recommended that the utility navigation be moved away  
from the primary navigation. This was in part because:

* The content under these links perform separate kinds of tasks  
(plugins being sort of a mixed bag)
* The primary navigation has room to grow as additional plugins often  
add to the primary navigation
* It provided a clearer toolset for the most common activities  
(write, manage posts, pages and comments, and tweak the design)

> Another side effect of this link spreading is that when you click on
> "Plugins" on the upper right, you get a plugin-related submenu on the
> lower left. Seems very very odd to me, submenus should be close to  
> their
> parent menus I think.

True enough. This is something that Happy Cog is working out before  
the release of 2.5. There is a bit of a disconnect between the  
utility nav and its submenus. Like all things, this is an iteration,  
so we continue to improve and evolve it as we go. This is just one of  
the things that will continue to change and improve.


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