Note: This post was originally published on Applied Intuition
By Kevin Freiberger
The WordPress administrative interface is pretty awesome right out-of-the-box, offering an AJAX-enabled, icon-based solution that is intuitive for new users and familiar for experienced ones. The baseline install is a great start, but there is always room for improving and simplifying the interface based on project requirements. Using a combination of plugins and some functions.php code, we can make site administration even more comfortable for our clients. Below are simple 5 ways to give users a better WordPress admin interface:
1. Give the right amount of control
One of my favorite parts of working with Drupal is it’s robust user roles and permissions management interface. Well, just install the Adminimize plugin and we get a Drupal permissions-styled grid of checkbox to allow / disallow role-based access to all of our content types, fields, menu items, etc. This module comes packaged with a few other extras, but I think the real power is in it’s permissions overview. In addition to hiding unnecessary items menu items and options from users, I like to use the simple Menu Editor plugin to reorder the admin side menu so that the most-used items will be at the top. Using these plugins, we can easily make our admin interface go from too many options to streamlined and focused, especially for roles like Editor.
2. Custom WYSIWYG
Most clients are familiar with basic WYSIWYG editors. The WordPress editor is sometimes good enough, but installing the TinyMCE Advanced plugin will give you full control over the WYSIWYG buttons and functions that are available, plus a few extra options. It will even allow you to define custom WYSIWYG styles (so things appear with front-end styling, “Import editor-style.css” option).
In addition, the Global Content Blocks plugin offers a way to define code chunks that can be dropped into a WYSIWYG editor through a modal interface. This, combined with custom editor-styles, gives us a nice way to drop in predefined markup that will appear styled in our editor, making predefined markup easy to edit.
3. Manage end user input
Most websites have some sort of user contact form, whether it be for contact, site feedback, email registration, etc. Contact Form 7 is a great plugin for quickly creating user forms on a WordPress website. Out-of-the-box, this plugin is configured to send an email, but by adding the Database Extension plugin, we can review all of the captured data all even export to multiple formats. This plugin is great to allow clients to manage their user feedback and create interaction reports.
4. Do more with fewer clicks
I like to simplify things as much as possible, especially when working with long content type lists. The Admin Management Xtended plugin adds some simple icons to our post listings that allow single click access to publishing / unpublished, enabling comments, and best of all, drag and drop reordering (great for custom promo / feature content types). Most of these options are already available via the Quick Edit post listing option, this just simplifies the interface further.
5. Customize look and feel
Beyond just installing plugins, we can customize the admin interface ever further by using a few WordPress hooks and custom PHP functions in our functions.php file. Some of my favorite customization snippets are for a customized login page and for a customized dashboard widget featuring some front-end branding and quick links for most used options.
That’s it. With just a few plugins and some light coding, we can turn our already awesome WordPress administration into a more streamlined, more user-friendly interface. If pre-made administration themes are desired, check out this WordPress admin themes list. Also, this is a great article if you want to take it a step further and create custom instructional screencast videos available directly through the admin interface.
, Website design