It doesn’t seem like that long enough that WordPress announced a redesigned admin panel by usability experts Happy Cog. I remember hearing the announcement and being excited to download the beta and try it out. Now, just a few months later, WordPress is at it again with version 2.7 which is now in its second beta release. Its packing massive overhauls, visual and functional.
A couple weeks ago Jeffrey made a post with some screen shots and a basic overview of the new admin panel. This post will go a bit farther into the details of some of the new features and changes. I just took a fresh install of WordPress 2.7 Beta 2 and spent a while digging around, finding and testing the new features. All the screen shots below are exactly what you will see when you install a fresh copy of WordPress.
This is the new face of WordPress. When you log in you will be created with a completely new admin panel. The layout has gone through some very major changes, the biggest of which is probably the navigation. Its now along the left hand side in a vertical column, quite a departure from the horizontal navigation we’d been using for years. The new navigation is very functional. By default, only two sections are expanded, Dashboard and Posts. The other sections expand and collapse as you click them, and they will remember states for future use. So if you open Comments and Pages, next time you log in you will find Comments and Pages still open.
QuickPress is a module you will find waiting for you on the Dashboard when you login. By looking at it, you can probably tell exactly what it does. Its a easy, quick way to post content without going to the Add New Post page. There aren’t as many options, but all the basics are still here. Set a title, enter some content, tags, even media. It gives the option to publish immediately, which would be good for short notes of announcements, or to save as a draft, making it a great place to dump notes for a future post.
Right Now is a redesigned Dashboard module. Its been a round for a while but now its got a new, easier to read style. Before this style it was structured into a sentence format, which, while stylish, wasn’t so usable. The data has been broken into a table. It shows a count of posts, pages, categories, and tags, along with the number of comments that are approved, spam, or awaiting moderation. Color has also been added (green for approved, red for spam, etc) to make the information more instantly recognizable (especially if English is not a first language).
Recent comments have previously been listed on the Dashboard, but now they come with new features. You can moderate comments right from the dashboard, along with a new feature, replying to comments. You can also Quick Edit the comment right in place on the Dashboard or do a full edit on its own page with expanded options.
One main focus of the new design seems to be customization. The Dashboard modules can all be edited and moved around the page. At the top of the page, you’ll see a little tab labeled Screen Options. You’ll find it anywhere you can customize a view. The one above is from the Add New Post page. You can have it show or hide any elements you may need or not care to see. Never use custom fields? Uncheck it and you won’t have to see it again.
On the Add New Post page you’ll find a new option labeled "Stick this post to the front page." The new feature is called a Sticky Post, and its exactly what it sounds like. You can select it and have the post stay atop the front page, even after newer posts are added. Its a nod to bulletin board software which has had sticky threads for some time now, and will be a great addition for important announcements or running promotions.
Another interesting new features is the Automatic Upgrade. This new feature will help WordPress function more like native software. When you need an update, you will be notified and can handle it all in just a few clicks. No more downloading a zip and uncompressing it to upload and overwrite all the old files. Just a few clicks and you can keep your WordPress install fresh and up to date.
As you can see above, there are numerous new features that will save you time and make running a site or blog easier than ever. The visuals got a major overhaul, simplifying everything and adding a higher level of customization. The new Dashboard continues to move in the right directions, giving you a ton of options all in one place. Word is there is a new Inbox module coming down the pike, so now I’ve already got another thing to look forward to.