Let’s be honest, the WordPress dashboard is neither attractive to look at nor particularly conducive to efficient workflows. The design is reminiscent of web apps from the early years of the century and would benefit from some serious sprucing up.
Because of WordPress’s power and flexibility, that lack of visual and UX pizazz hasn’t held the web’s favorite content management system back: it’s still riding high and growth is enormous. But, if it’s to keep pace with the young whippersnappers of the CMS world like Statamic and the forthcoming Ghost, the look and feel of the admin dashboard is going to need bringing up to date.
The trend is definitely towards simplicity and WordPress has gathered a fair few barnacles in its 10-year transition from blogging platform to full-featured content management system.
Thankfully, it appears that Matt Mullenweg is hard at work on making a WordPress admin dashboard fit for the 21st-century. Before we go into details, a warning. If you install the plugin we’re about to talk about on your production site, tears are guaranteed. It will almost certainly break your admin dashboard and is not ready for prime time. If you do try it out on your production site and it breaks things, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
MP6 is a (not-so-secret) secret plugin being developed by Matt Mullenweg, the original creator of WordPress and head-honcho at Automattic, the company that runs WordPress.com. MP6 significantly changes the aesthetic of the admin dashboard and brings it into line with current design trends. The aim of the plugin is to develop a simplified, flattened version of the admin panel outside of the main development environment to allow for faster iteration. Ignore the hideous banner on the plugin page; it’s like the anti-MP6 in looks and is probably meant to discourage people from installing the plugin.
New Look Admin Dashboard
The scuttlebutt around the WordPress community is that aspects of MP6’s design will find their way into forthcoming WordPress major releases, although it’s likely that we’ll have to wait until 3.7 or later until it makes its full debut. Nevertheless, that fact that Mullenweg is on the case is welcome evidence that the WordPress team are serious about improving the appearance and functionality of the dashboard.
What do you think? Are you happy with the current looks of the WordPress dashboard or do you welcome the potential upgrade? Make your opinions known in the comments below.