Anyone, like me, who uses WordPress to run their site, will spend a lot of time in the administration pages. And like me, many will have noticed the lack of coherance in the design, layout and usability. Don’t misunderstand me, using the admin section is simplicity itself – but there are many oddities and any two pages never look like they were quite designed by the same person. And most probably, they weren’t. It gently nags at me.
Which is why I have been keeping my eye on the ‘Shuttle‘ project over at Broken Kode – an attempt to develop a cohesive, pleasing, usable interface for WordPress admin to follow. And yesterday, many months after Shuttle was announced, images were finally released of all the hard work the small team have put into this important project. And I have to say that in my opinion they have come up with a winner. Clean, consistent and easy to follow – and hopefully Shuttle will also deliver a companion document detailing all the CSS classes and default images that plugin authors will be able to refer to when coding their own admin pages.
My only reservation – and I have already commented on this over at Broken Kode – is the adoption of the familiar menu structure. As current users will know, to get to any submenu option other than the primary one requires two page loads – an unnecessary page load, loss of bandwidth and, if working from a slow server or on a busy day – very time consuming. This is so easy to remedy (as I have done with my own admin drop down menu plugin), that I believe it is a great opportunity missed and the argument that the team didn’t want to depart too much from what users already know doesn’t really make sense. Ask most users if they would prefer to bring up a page with a single click of the mouse instead of two clicks and a wasted interim page load and I believe they would always opt for the former.
Other than that I, like most commenters on the Shuttle pages, look forward to this design being implemented and I hope we don’t have to wait too long for it. And oh yes… I apologise for the title above. Couldn’t resist it.