Whether you’re a user or a developer, I’m sure there’s one or two things you can think of that you’d like to improve in WordPress. WordPress 3.8 saw improvements to the dashboard, theme and widget areas within the admin interface, however there is still steps I take on WordPress projects to make it more usable, in my opinion.
You may or may not consider these issues yourself, but here’s five improvements I’ve made through plugins to make the sites more usable.
Post Type Descriptions
A common request from clients is to manage the content at the top of the archive page for post types. For example, if you have a services post type and therefore a services archive (archive-services.php) then above the list of services you may want to add some information about services in general. My usual solution to this is to also have a page called services and use the content from that page on the top of my archive page.
Whereas this works I feel like it’s a bit too hacky, therefore I have created a plugin that adds a ‘Description’ menu item underneath all public post types (these are filterable). You can then add a function to your theme to print out this description.
I regularly use WordPress for building web apps. These web apps regularly require some kind of user management however because when setting up a user in the WordPress admin the first name & last name are not mandatory then usually it will use usernames for the display name.
This looks scrappy when used across the site so I’ve created a plugin that uses Gravatar to fill in the first name, last name and display name for all users that have an account. The plugin works on activation and updates all users.
Plugin URL: https://github.com/stompweb/complete-profile
Better Page Info
When viewing the overview of all pages in the WordPress admin the data you have available to you is:
- The date published
- The author
- The number of comments.
For those of you that use WordPress for client sites you’ll know that the date published, the author and the number of comments really isn’t that useful for pages. Instead I have removed them and added:
- The template that is being used
- The date that the page was last updated.
Much more useful for an overview; I’d be interested to see if anybody else finds any other data about pages useful and therefore should be added to this.
Plugin URL: https://github.com/stompweb/better-pages-info
Prevent Image Linking
I’m not sure why the default option in WordPress is for images to be linked to their attachment page when added in the WP Editor. I would think the UX would be much better if by default there was no link but the user could pick to link it if they wanted to.
I can understand why it might be useful to link to the single attachment page (it is a post type after all) but I’m not that sure that most people cater for this in their themes/projects.
Allow Editors to manage menus
I don’t let my clients be administrators, for a number of reasons. Most of my clients are editors which means they can edit just about all the content across the site. One thing they cannot edit are the menus. I suppose this is a content vs structure debate but from real life scenarios this is something that clients want to manage themselves.
The only real solution to do this is to give them access to most of the options under Appearance. So, reluctantly I have given them these options, however I have removed the appearance menu item and replaced it with a dedicated menu item.
If you have any feedback on any of these plugins or would like to help me improve them then you can do some on Github or in the comments here.
Alternatively, if you have a problem that you are regularly faced with then let me know in the comments and I’ll help you find the best way around it (which may or may not require a plugin).