May 8, 2015

Making the WordPress Admin Area More Client Friendly

One of the many reasons that WordPress has developed into the most popular CMS is because of how user-friendly the admin area is. However, not all clients are as tech savvy as you and I and may still find the WordPress dashboard to be confusing. There are many projects where the client would like to manage their site on their own once it is complete, but doesn’t necessarily possess quite enough “know-how” to do so effectively.

The argument can be made, when it comes to WordPress, that less options are better and provide cleaner and more “fool proof” experience for users who access the backend of the site. Before the time comes to hand over the keys to the backend, it may be worth your while to invest some time in making things even easier for your client by employing one or all of the methods discussed below.

4 Ways to Improve the WordPress Admin Area For Your Client

1. Add admin notices to posts / pages

Admin notices are great for adding reminders about specifications involved in certain tasks. For example, you could add an admin notice that reminds the client that the post featured image doesn’t need to be 4000px wide and 2MB in size instead listing the ideal dimensions and file size as a reference.

function my_admin_notice(){
global $pagenow;
if( $pagenow == 'post-new.php' ) {
 echo '
     <div class="updated">
     <p>Please fill out all of the post options below the post editor before publishing this post.</p> 
add_action('admin_notices', 'my_admin_notice');

WordPress Admin Notice Example

The options are endless and will depend on your specific situation, but the code below should be enough to get your started with some basic admin notices.

2. Create custom page / post type options to allow for easy creation/management of posts/pages

Depending on the complexity of the project, adding custom metabox options may be a good investment to make things super simple for the client. There are several third-party libraries that make adding custom metaboxes easy, CMB2 is great and of course there’s the WordPress Settings API.

Rather than having to sift though all the content in the post editor window, the client can have the ability to fill out the various metaboxes with the information and it will populate the page template accordingly. This will take more time to develop initially, but is well worth it for the client and yourself. Most clients love how simple it becomes when they don’t need to navigate their way through strange looking HTML in the editor window, but instead can create the page they want by filling out the custom options which are more like filling out a form or questionnaire.

Custom Page Options

3. Add a Video or GIF tutorials page

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you may think about adding some screencast tutorials and adding to the admin menu for the client to reference. Although quite time consuming, it is a very nice feature to have that will surely be beneficial for the client and save them loads of valuable time trying to figure things out on their own.

To create screencasts you can use Quicktime or other screen recording software and convert the files to .gif using an online tool. Once the tutorials are ready, you can add a new menu page using add_menu_page which you can read more about in the codex.

The good news is that the general tutorials will be reusable for other clients as well, so you may want to think about writing the code in a plugin which can be easily added and removed from the site once the client is comfortable making changes in the WordPress backend.

4. Remove menu option from the appearance menu that aren’t necessary

Depending on the situation and relationship with the client, disabling menu options may come in handy. The list below contains many of the default WordPress pages which can each be removed from the menu using the code provided.

function modify_menu_options() {
  remove_menu_page('index.php');                  // dashboard
  remove_menu_page('edit.php');                   // posts
  remove_menu_page('upload.php');                 // media
  remove_menu_page('link-manager.php');           // links
  remove_menu_page('edit.php?post_type=page');    // pages
  remove_menu_page('edit-comments.php');          // comments
  remove_menu_page('themes.php');                 // appearance
  remove_menu_page('plugins.php');                // plugins
  remove_menu_page('users.php');                  // users
  remove_menu_page('tools.php');                  // tools
  remove_menu_page('options-general.php');        // settings
  remove_menu_page('edit.php?post_type=your-custom-post-type');  // Feedbacks
add_action('admin_menu', 'modify_menu_options');

That’s it. If you have any questions or comments, let us know in the comments below.

Filed under:  Tutorials Web Development  ||  Tagged under:

Dylan Dunlop

When he isn’t honing in on his coding skills, Dylan’s either mastering various styles of guitar playing or bird watching.
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