THE WORDPRESS NEWS CORE
FEATURING WORDPRESS COMMUNITY EXPERTS AND THE WP DAILY ARCHIVES

DevPress Releases New Dashboard Plugin

Hot of DevPress is the new DP Dashboard plugin which has finally seen the light of day! There’s been a lot of talk about a better user experience in the backend of WordPress (as well as the post layer) and it’s neat to see some people put some of those ideas into action.

Some of the features that you’ll readily see in the DP Dashboard ($40 per year subscription) are as follows:

  • More user friendly menus
  • Makes you feel good completing tasks
  • Simplifies sub-tasks & actions
  • Boring tasks made easy and beautiful
  • No more squinting, bigger title font sizes
  • Easy to find common widgets
  • New template editor with file numbering

It’s interesting to note how many “feel good” features are being presented as value propositions and marketing – it begs the question of whether or on the existing WordPress admin is so “clunky” that it would stop you from publishing or really hamper your enjoyment of the overall use of WordPress.

This isn’t a critique but rather an open-ended question: Do you feel as if the admin is so bad that it needs a plugin to “fix” the experience so that you’d ultimately use it more?

Here are some screens to give you a taste:

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-1

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-2

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-3

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-4

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-7

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-6

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-5

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-9

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-8

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-12

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-11

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-10

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-15

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-14

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-13

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-16

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-18

devpress-dp-dashboard-plugin-17

The author, Tung Do, has been around the WordPress community for quite some time but took a break for a while and then created DevPress which went through a bit of turmoil back in late 2011:

After months of inconsistent collaboration, DevPress is left with one remaining co-founder, me — Tung Do. Justin Tadlock, Patrick Daly, and Ptah Dunbar are going to pursue personal projects.

It looks like things have come around since then with the release of a number of themes and now this new admin look. I hope it continues to fly!

***Update***

Tung Do has released an update voicing some of the criticism that he’s gotten as well as referencing sweet call-outs like Justin Tadlock’s challenge to the UI team:

Over the past few years, WordPress has taken on a lot of new features. However, the downside to adding new features is that you must squeeze them in alongside the existing features. The new features are nice, but the WordPress admin has put on a few pounds.

It’s time to trim the fat.

Thanks Justin for that great challenge because there’s nothing like a good challenge to keep us on our toes and in the game! Tung Do responds by stating that the product isn’t finished yet and that he’s primarily built it first for himself and his own customers and clients:

I made this plugin for myself and who I am is a full-time WordPress designer/developer/blogger, basically someone who uses WordPress frequently. (My skills aren’t up there with the best of them to consider myself a designer/developer, but that’s the easiest way to explain what I do.)

And, for full-time WordPress professionals like me, it’s well worth the money and then some.

I find this decent and honest because most of the stuff that I build as a developer has been for myself first, other people second.

I say build the darn thing Tung! Go on and see if it takes – there’s nothing wrong with a little experimentation.

  • http://www.billerickson.net Bill Erickson

    I don’t think the WordPress admin is “so bad” it needs a plugin to fix it. But I think the WordPress admin is so hard to customize (relative to the frontend) that the vast majority of developers don’t even think about how they could improve the backend for their clients or users.

    I love the idea of admin themes because they help explore different possibilities. If the idea of admin themes became popular, WordPress core could look at actual data (plugin downloads, ratings, reviews…) on how to improve the admin interface.

    By making the admin interface easier to theme, you’ll encourage more of these types of plugins, but more importantly you’ll encourage more developers to contribute those proven improvements back to core.

    • http://oxvodesign.com Joseph Feliciano (@OXVO)

      Yes, Bill has said it perfectly. Also, yes visually as is the back end is ugly. There are tons of HTML admin templates with data, graphs and menus that look amazing. Honestly, a cluttered with ugly default WordPress, or a custom themed, branded to match your business or clients, as well a redesigned menu with options that the client actually needs and will use.

      This plugin is weak. It just smooths out the ruff edges basically.

      Think of the back end possibilities with things like woo commerce. Ugly default clunky WordPress dash ? Or a full blown well designed behind the store area in which you actually MANAGE things not ? …. AND YES, if it looks good it feels better to use, and is much more. Point blank.

      People want to manage their business from a pretty dashboard. Publishing is not the biggest thing on any of my clients minds.

      • http://shanegowland.com Shane Gowland

        Your complaint about WordPress’ Dashboard reminded me of a quote from John O’Nolan:

        Designing for WordPress is nothing like designing for a client. With so many users, there are considerations that you would never normally dream of. For example, as a rule of thumb when designing anything with text in it: the element needs to be flexible enough to expand to double its normal width. Why? Because WordPress is translated into about

        70 different languages

        and not all words are the same length when translated!

        Of course when it comes to languages, the width of the text isn’t the only issue; some are written from right to left. You probably didn’t know that WordPress has an entire set of RTL (Right To Left) style sheets and images. Even something as simple as a drop-down menu has to be given extra care and attention because the graphics used will also have to work when mirrored horizontally with the controls on the opposite side.

        For a project of the size and complexity of WordPress, aiming for pretty is more more difficult. How many of those HTML admin templates that you mentioned work in 70 different languages, on thousands of different device/browser configurations with literally millions of users who are vision/motion impaired? My bet is none.

        It’s easy to say “it needs to be prettier!” but much harder to actually build something that’s both pretty and accessible to the tens of millions of people who use it.

        • http://oxvodesign.com Joseph Feliciano (@OXVO)

          I am not building for millions. I am building for a specific set of clients with specific needs that vary with each project. Whether these projects are for external use or internal use still makes no difference. I do not need a dashboard that translates for someone in South Africa when I am developing n ecommerce system (prettier so that employees can easily use without clunkering around an outdated, its specificly for management and productivity).

          Each dash is built different for each client depending on their needs. I am not building for internet standard. I am building for my clients and their users only.

          Scalability is a different subject. I’m simply talking innovative uses of WordPress with advanced administrative areas that visually entice its users.

          • http://oxvodesign.com Joseph Feliciano (@OXVO)

            *Sorry typing from phone. Missed a part.

            I meant to say … I do not need to build for someone in south Africa when I am building for residents of California with all English speaking employees. So I will build out a much better looking back end that caters exactly to their needs and they will not even probably be aware that its based off WordPress the “blogging” platform.

          • http://wpti.ps/ Piet

            And what language exactly do you think they speak in South Africa?

  • http://shanegowland.com Shane Gowland

    It’s nice, certainly. But as you implied, there doesn’t seem to be much end user value added (besides “ooh! Pretty!!”) to really justify the $40 cost.

    The popularity of this plugin will likely reveal whether a more aesthetic user interface is something the WordPress community truly wants to see.

  • Leif Bohlin

    Looks very nice just installed it on one of my websites, forgott I had a membership with DevPress .. =)

  • Tung Do

    First, thank you to John for the feature on WPDaily.

    Second, I’m a theme designer not a writer and English is my second language. The problem with that is I wrote the descriptions on the DP Dashboard home page myself. Having me describe the plugin is really a disservice to the plugin itself. Here’s Justin Tadlock’s take on the plugin.

    Third, the clunky issue really depends on the person using it. WordPress has a wide range of users, all at different levels. Someone using WordPress 20 minutes per day certainly doesn’t need a $40 plugin to improve 20 minutes of usage.

    @Shane – I built this plugin for myself. Who I am is a WordPress dev. working with WordPress fulltime. I love my job, but I don’t love the tool itself and I think I ought to because it affects productivity and my happiness level during work hours. Improvements made via this plugin aren’t just aesthetic. For example, making button bigger and expanding it 100% of its container’s width decreases the amount of time you have to search for the button.

    This initial plugin release is just the beginning. I’ll improve it and add more themes in the future.

    • http://oxvodesign.com Joseph Feliciano (@OXVO)

      Well said. Aesthetics effect productivity and happiness during that productivity !!!

    • http://oxvodesign.com Joseph Feliciano (@OXVO)

      Also I mentioned the plugin is weak earlier, however I am so happy to see a developer take action on this ! Much respect to Tung Do.

      • http://john.do/ John Saddington

        Which… btw… you need to get a gravatar!

  • Jared

    I know minimalism is the trend right now but this jumps the shark.

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      shark jumping. you are the first to use that phrase on this blog. if i could give you +10,000 points i would. alas, we do not have a point system.

  • Tung Do

    I’ve written a detailed explanation of the DP Dashboard plugin, including answers to some of the issues raised here:

    http://devpress.com/dp-dashboard-chronicles-love-and-hate/

  • http://www.mathewporter.co.uk Matthew Porter

    I can see how this plugin would make life easier for clients who have sites produced for them to aid navigation on the interface etc. it does make it abit more user and aesthetically friendly.

  • http://devpress.com/ Tung

    This plugin has been completely rewritten and updated to version 0.2. Read about it here: http://devpress.com/dp-dashboard-chronicles-version-0-2/

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      thanks tung!

TOP