WordPress Admin UX
Posted July 31, 2014 by Aubrey Aynes in User Experience, Web Development, Wordpress Admin
It’s no secret that Springboard loves WordPress. We’ve figured out how powerful of a tool it can be when utilized correctly, which is why all of our marketing websites (and some of the smaller e-commerce websites) are built using WordPress. Not only is it mighty, but it also offers a user-friendly admin dashboard that makes it easier for us to hand off to the client after the website launch without worry on either side.
While creating our custom WordPress themes for all of our clients, we always take the client’s use of the website into consideration when customizing the WordPress Admin Interface. Not only do we customize the WordPress Login screen, but we also stylize the WYSIWYG editor content and add HTML formatting to display the CSS styles that are usually only visible on the front-end. This creates comfort for the client, removes any confusion on the look and feel of the content, and saves time for because the page doesn’t need to be previewed in the browser to ensure that the content looks good. WordPress has even upgraded the software to include User Profiles, which allow the client to have a color palette for the WordPress Dashboard that better aligns with their brand, making WordPress feel more like their own Content Management Software (CMS), instead of good ol’ WordPress.
TAKING IT FURTHER
Doing all of the above is a great start to creating great WordPress admin user experience (UX), but we like to take it a few steps further. We utilize Custom Post Types (CPTs) to create module-like post types like FAQs, Team Members or Testimonials, to dynamically display certain information on different page templates. The post types can be viewed and edited in the WordPress Admin just like the traditional Posts and Pages.
Furthermore, when CPTs are integrated with Advanced Custom Fields, it makes content population or editing easier for the client because it allows for more than just the Title and Content Editor fields that come with every post type. Fields can be added to any page, page template, post type or options panel and displayed on the front end using a simple PHP call. For instance, a “Phone Number” text field can be added to the Options page and be called in the Header, Footer, and in the Sidebar, meaning that it only has to be edited once and the change will be reflected in all three places. Doing this also allows us to insert that PHP call into a HTML tag and style it as it needs to be, so the client doesn’t have to mess with any visual/text editors, which can be a daunting task without knowledge of HTML or CSS.
HIDING THE UNECESSARY
The final step in creating the best WordPress Admin UX for clients is to hide the unused parts of the Dashboard from the client. This can be done using the Admin Menu Editor plugin, which is free and easy to install & use. For example, if the client’s website does not feature a blog, this plugin can be used to hide the Posts & Comments which will eliminate confusion when the client wants to edit content. Other things like the Editor, Plugins, Custom Fields and other plugins that are visible in the WordPress Menu that the client will never use are usually hidden.
We know that delving into the WordPress Dashboard can be overwhelming sometimes it’s unclear where the content that needs to be edited is actually located. This is especially frustrating for clients and users that aren’t entirely knowledgeable about the ins and outs of WordPress as a CMS. Creating better user experience through customizing the WordPress Dashboard ensures the success of getting clients to take ownership of their content and their entire website, really. It takes little effort, really makes an impact on clients and there’s really no reason not to do it!