[wp-hackers] Menus and Labels and Plugins, oh my!

Stephen Rider wp-hackers at striderweb.com
Fri Oct 3 17:13:10 GMT 2008

On Oct 3, 2008, at 10:13 AM, Jane Wells wrote:

> Hi guys. I'll try to respond to the main things I've seen brought up  
> on the list over the last couple of days.

Thanks you for this -- this is the first solid response I've seen that  
amounts to more than "just trust us".

> "Splintering" the menu into the content types was done in response  
> to the way average users think abut using their admin tool. When Liz  
> Danzico and I originally lumped them all under one Content section  
> in Crazyhorse, it made perfect sense to us, because we work in the  
> industry and we think about things like content. So do many people  
> on this list. But do your moms or brothers or kids? 2.7 is an  
> attempt to make the interface relate more to how the average user  
> thinks of things.

Something to also point out here is the off-and-on discussion of  
WordPress as a "full CMS".  Regardless of its full capability, people  
will always tend to see it as "blog software" so long as the interface  
stresses blog aspects so much.

Perhaps the community is perfectly fine with that -- I certainly use  
it for blogging -- but it's worth pointing out.

A while back I asked about this topic, and got some irritated  
responses along the line of "It _is_ a CMS!"  What I was asking about  
was how to remove or hide the overtly "bloggy" aspects of the  
interface.  For example:  What if I don't want a Posts section at all,  
just Pages?  Can't be done -- at least not easily.

If it looks like a dog and quacks like a duck, it's a quacking dog,  
not a duck. ;p  WordPress isn't a CMS so much as a blog program that,  
oh by the way, you could probably use as a CMS if you wanted to.  That  
may end up a detriment in the long term.

> The number of menu items (again, mentioned by Ryan) on the current  
> admin is 8 main categories
> , plus links in different header locations for dashboard, help,  
> forums, and support (on .com). That's 11 or 12. It doesn't seem like  
> that many because of the nice design differentiation that Happy Cog  
> used so that it wouldn't seem like an overwhelming number of items.  
> 2.7 will get a similarly nice treatment.

Again, thanks for that.  People kept saying there are eight menus, and  
my first thought was  "These people can't count"

> Re: Tools vs. Manage as a dumping ground. Personally, I think Tools  
> is way cooler. Tools > Code Monkey, Manage > TPS reports.

Speaking of which, I never did receive your TPS report.  I'll get you  
another copy.

Manage --> Tools didn't bother nearly as much as losing "Write".   
Here's a thought though -- part of the confusion was probably in the  
way that clicking on "Write took you to a write screen, so people just  
started writing.  Also, depending on what screen you were on, clicking  
Write or Manage took you different places -- VERY confusing.

With the new navigation, clicking on Write opens the submenu, but  
doesn't take you to a different screen.  I think that from that alone  
the distinction will be a lot clearer.  Click Write, and then you are  
forced to look and chose _what_ you want to write.

Did you test it that way and were people still confused by it?

> We talked about having a Plugin Settings under the Plugins menu, but  
> there was some question as to whether people would want to put them  
> there. I think it would be an ideal location, so if people are into  
> that suggestion by Alex, let us know.

I'm against this in the ***strongest possible terms***.  Please read...


My take on this is quite simple: From the user perspective, plugins  
should be invisible. That is, the fact that such-and-such part of the  
interface was made by a plugin should be invisible. The best design  
for a plugin is to seamlessly blend into the existing interface so  
that someone who didn't already know would not realize that that thing  
there is not part of the basic system.

> Re: "Wasted space" in the left navigation column. If you look at the  
> amount of space currently taken up by the header and the navigation  
> horizontally and compare it with the space taken up in 2.7 (well,  
> when 2.7 is styled, anyway), it is significantly less, given that  
> most monitors/laptop screens are wider than they are tall, and many  
> people's browser windows have similar ratios. One of the main  
> reasons we went with left hand navigation was to try and use less  
> space for the non-working area.

Personally, I use Ozh's Drop Down Menus plugin, and I'm not quite sure  
why we're not integrating something like this into Core.  This is  
***so much more like a desktop app***, and it saves a massive amount  
of a) room, and b) clicks.  It's outstanding.

> P.S. Why don't more people trim their posts on this list? Just  
> curious, because it's a pain to follow on a mobile device with all  
> those fully-included emails.

I always try to do so.  I'm always amused when I find a bunch of  
stacked WordPress list footers at the bottom of an email. ;)

Here's that link again regarding "dumping grounds".  Please do read it.




Stephen Rider

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