Improving usability in the WordPress admin


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For years now the tried-and-true pitch when selling WordPress as a CMS has been that it makes updating a website easy for “anyone”. But any developer who has built more than a few sites with the platform knows that despite its robust user interface, WordPress can still be intimidating to a less-than-tech-savvy client.

Fortunately, with the right amount of adjustments it’s perfectly possible to make the WordPress admin area more manageable for almost any user.

This talk will outline important principles to follow when planning the admin side of a WordPress site, in addition to covering tips & techniques that will maximize your clients’ experience with the platform.

During the talk we’ll look at simplifying the admin area by removing unnecessary features, as well as how to empower users through the proper use of Custom Post Types & Custom Meta Boxes.

Whether you’re just starting to build WordPress themes or simply looking to focus more on customizing the admin side, you’ll come away with some helpful insights for delivering a better WordPress experience to your clients.

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Improving usability in the WordPress admin

  1. 1. • WordPress Developer at Growth Spark (Cambridge, MA)• Author of WP Image Size Limit plugin• Developing ~13 years, with WordPress ~4
  2. 2. • Manage & provide technical support for all Growth Spark clients• Client base of ~150 companies
  3. 3. .
  4. 4. The majority of sites we now build with WordPress are not blogs…Yet out of the box, WordPress is still a blogging platform!
  5. 5. WE the developers must do abetter job of making WordPress fit our clients’ needs, not vice versa.• WordPress now makes this perfectly possible• But WE need to do the work
  6. 6. 1. Leverage User Roles • Set up client’s account as “Editor” • Maintain a separate “Admin” account
  7. 7. Admin’s Menu Editor’s Menu
  8. 8. D.I.Y.Growth Spark Starter Theme• includes/ • user-capabilities.php PluginsAdmin Menu Editor Scoper
  9. 9. D.I.Y. Add specific capabilities via add_cap()
  10. 10. An ideal setup for most new users
  11. 11. …But what if we’re not building a blog-oriented website?
  12. 12. • Default content types are limiting• Designed specifically for blogs
  13. 13. • Introduced in WordPress 3.0• Allow you to create any number of additional content types beyond just Posts and Pages• Create content types that are relevant to your client’s needs
  14. 14. D.I.Y.Growth Spark Starter Theme• includes/ • cpt.sample.php• img/admin (for sample icons) PluginsCustom Post Type UI
  15. 15. D.I.Y. Removing Default Meta Boxes via register_post_type()
  16. 16. Variety of field types supported: • Simple text • WSYIWYG Editor • Date • Radio Buttons • Select Boxes • File Upload
  17. 17. D.I.Y.WP Tuts+ PluginsAdvanced Custom Fields
  18. 18. Advanced Custom Fields
  19. 19. GOALS:• Gradually introduce clients to WordPress by limiting access to advanced & non-essential features• Ruthlessly eliminate features that are not needed or relevant to your clients• Use Custom Post Types to tailor content management to your clients’ needs• Implement Custom Meta Boxes to ensure content creation is as user-friendly & error-proof as possible
  20. 20. • Create custom options panels• Customize the TinyMCE toolbar• Remove default dashboard & sidebar widgets• Create custom widgets• Brand the login & dashboard screensLots of code examples here:
  21. 21. Adminimize Label CMS