Create an Admin Settings page w/icons grouped by category

WordPress’s admin console is a rat’s nest of complexity, especially when lots of plugins are added.

A while back I was reading https://deliciousbrains.com/craft-cms-self-hosted-wordpress-alternatives/ where they showed a screenshot of CraftCMS’ settings page and I feel in love with it. I thought "Wouldn’t it be great if WordPress’ dashboard (or settings page) could be reconfigured to use categorized icons for core features and features added by plugins rather than the bloated wild-wild-west of the WordPress admin menus?

I could envision plugins that don’t specify an icon or a category could get listed at the bottom or we could maintain a JSON file on GitHub with categorization for well-know plugins, and then also allow plugins to actively register their own icons and categories if they wanted to explicitly support ClassicPress.

Anyway, posting here hoping that others will get excited about the same.


Read-only archive: https://petitions.classicpress.net/posts/101/create-an-admin-settings-page-w-icons-grouped-by-category

Author: Mike Schinkel

Vote count: 29

Status: open

Tags:

  • request-modify-feature
  • difficulty-moderate
  • difficulty-hard

Comments

What do people think about this today?

2 Likes

I like the idea (categories + icons + text).

cPanel also had a similar UI in its previous version, which could inspire CP UI.

Now they released a new theme without icons, which I like less.

Combinig words + icons is in my opinion the best thing for both new users and users who already know their way around the UI.

  • Only icons may be difficult to understand for new users.
  • Only words is boring.

We are getting off-topic, but I feel that you need some answers, and so I’ll try.

You know why. Lack of manpower and resources.

But as someone pointed out in another recent thread, much progress has been done lately in the project, though those changes aren’t flashy or major, like the progress in the docs and translations. Nevertheless, these “small” progress are important and shouldn’t be overlooked or taken for granted. They make the platform more stable and more reliable.

Perhaps. But given our lack of resources, and given the fact that the small number of devs that we have are all unpaid volunteers, I think that such a roadmap (a “wishlist”, as someone described it) is the best we can do.

If the project starts hiring developers, then we’ll have the right to expect a much better projection of progress. Meanwhile, let us all just be thankful and grateful that the project is still moving forward!

You’re not the only one wondering what’s happening. I think that with the willingness you’ve shown to contribute, you deserve at least prompt answers to your questions.

I haven’t been following the progress of this research plugin, but as I understand it, Joyously is simply trying to make TinyMCE V5 working in the current version of ClassicPress, adapting it to the core. However, there is a lot of tweaks and testing to be done, and so that is taking time.

Honestly, as I see it, trying to introduce a new feature there is, as Joyously said, “out of scope.”

I reviewed the petition — there is no barrier. Others have shared their thoughts, but you are free to do what you want. As James said,

The problem with this - as I see it, at least - is that TinyMCE v4 is what is available to the whole ClassicPress community today. So by far the quickest path available to get this working and available to everyone is to make it work with v4. Still, if you want to keep this working only on v5, then that’s fine.

You must understand. Some of us care much about the stability of the platform. Personally, I want this kind of stability to support my works for decades to come.

3 Likes

Let’s stay on topic!

I think the array of icons looks nice, but I’m not sure if it’s actually very functional. For example, in the screenshot, Plugins and Email are included under System. I’m not sure I’d expect that. And then Globals is under Content; I’d definitely not expect that (though I can see why it’s there now that I know that it is).

So my view is that, if someone wants to build this as a sort of alternative dashboard that users could opt for, then that would be fine with me. But I think it should start out as a plugin if for no other reason than it would be good to see if we can get agreement as to (a) what the different categories should be and (b) into which category each item fits.

Because plugins can call any function and use whatever filters and actions are provided, you can’t really prevent them putting menu items or icons or styles for anything the author wants. At least in the WP repo, they can say they won’t host your plugin if you don’t follow their guidelines, but for CP, that doesn’t apply.

I was going to use cPanel as the opposite example, since I can’t ever find anything in there and I typically try to find a skin that has no icons.
I used to use a popular theme with an extensive settings page, but quit when the author put an icon on every little field. It was so cluttered I couldn’t find anything (and nothing had moved).

I have fought with the design team at WP about adding more icons. Some people claim that it is good for dyslexia and newer users. I don’t know if there’s been research on that or if it’s just the younger crowd that is used to icons talking.

There is a task in the WP docs team to recategorize the user docs. It’s been going for more than a year and I don’t know that they have new categories. We all think differently, so categories don’t make universal sense. I once proposed to the WP plugin team to categorize plugins based on the existing admin menu, but that didn’t go over well either.

The thing is that the admin menu represents all the actions you can take. Categories seem to be more about objects.
I prefer the verbs to the nouns, but that could be that I’m used to it. But I don’t remember ever being lost in the admin or wondering where the link is (except that one time they changed some Appearance links to go straight to Customizer).

This is my summary for not supporting this petition for core inclusion. But it could be a plugin.

1 Like

The easiest way to start this would be to write a plugin that uses the existing admin menu structure, but presents it all on the “main page” of the dashboard as categories + icons.

One challenge is that currently, each category (or top-level admin menu item) has an icon, but the individual sub-items under that category do not have icons. So this plugin would have to come up with a way to assign icons to all of the second-level menu items in each category.

If anyone is interested in working on this (or some other approach to this petition that makes sense to you), let me know and I can set you up a repository under ClassicPress-research.

1 Like