The release of WordPress version 3.9 today brings even greater ease to content updates using the WP dashboard. Organizations want their staffers to be able to manage the content of their websites in a way that is quick, easy, and fail safe. If this can be done without coding skills, even better. One of the reasons WordPress has gained the top spot in the CMS rankings is that its Dashboard, or content management panel, allows users to do just that. In this post we will explain some of the ways WordPress delivers on ease of use.
WordPress started as a blogging tool, which explains why its essential component is known as The Post. But just as WordPress has evolved into a powerful CMS, The Post now handles a lot more than simple blog entries. When we talk about WordPress features and functionality, we are basically describing different ways to manipulate and display the data contained in posts. This functionality is designed by UX/UI experts and coded by developers, and it is accessed and managed by end users via The Dashboard – WordPress’ user interface.
As WordPress co-creator Matt Mullenweg explains in an interview with Smashing Magazine, the WordPress team refactors 10-15% of the code with every release. This is done in order to improve its functionality, add new features, and eliminate bugs, all while maintaining backwards compatibility. The looks and functionality of the Dashboard are a clear example of these efforts.
The Dashboard is, well, dashing
Posts are added via The Dashboard. In their most basic version they have a title and content, but users may also choose to add media such as images or videos, as well as additional information – usually known as metadata. The elements in The Dashboard allow users to add, edit, and delete their content in a quick, simple manner. The Dashboard is all about facilitating access and expediting tasks.
Materiell customizes WordPress solutions for clients in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. These include law firms, educational institutions, and government agencies, among others. Materiell guides its clients through the process of figuring out their content and structure needs. Based on this process, Materiell delivers a customized WordPress solution, including a Dashboard with custom posts, fields, and page templates.
An example of this is the site for Alexandria based patent law firm Oliff PLC. Thanks to the customization designed and developed by Materiell and the implementation of the Multilingual functionality, content managers at Oliff PLC have the ability to post content in English, Korean, or Japanese by simply choosing from a dropdown menu in the firm’s Dashboard.
The Dashboard consists of a main toolbar located on the left side, a main panel, and a smaller toolbar on the top of the screen. Everything in the toolbar is one click away. While the functionality displayed in the Dashboard may change from managing plugins to adding posts to switching themes, the same toolbar remains on the left, providing users with a familiar set of options and no chance of getting lost.
The Automattic team behind WordPress understands that sometimes less is, indeed, more. WP version 3.9 gets rid of the extra step that used to be necessary to paste text from a Microsoft Word document into the visual editor. The WordPress dashboard also allows users to minimize the toolbar, or to switch their post editing screens to full screen views, This allows users to concentrate on the task at hand: writing. When the only task is putting thoughts to post, WordPress gives users the option to see nothing but their words and paragraphs. Once they’re done, a quick return to full functionality is just one Escape click away.
For users who can get a bit overwhelmed by choices and confused by too many buttons, this is can be a refreshing option.
Permissions and Revisions
As we’ve explained, WordPress allows users to put together entire sites without the need for technical expertise. This means adding text, images, videos, galleries and slideshows, contact forms, Twitter and Facebook integration, and more.
A powerful feature of WordPress is the ability to create as many users as you want, and to limit their roles as needed. If writing posts is delegated to a team member, but a supervisor needs to approve them, there is a role for that. If a manager wants to create categories and moderate comments, there’s a role for that, too, and so on.
This can be extremely useful for organizations such as law firms and government agencies and contractors. If content is published with the wrong wording or language, serious legal consequences can ensue for these particular organizations. WordPress can restrict the ability to publish content to a limited number of users, while allowing others to create and edit it.
In addition to this, WordPress allows users to compare revisions when a post has been edited several times. Borrowing from web development tools that allow coders to track changes from different iterations of a project, WordPress allows users to compare between two consecutive versions of a post. The versions are presented in red to the left, and green to the right. The red version is older and the green one newer, with the changes highlighted in both versions. Additionally, there’s and an option to restore the post to any of its versions.
These are useful, powerful tools that can greatly enhance collaboration and precision when managing content for your website.
And if you make a mistake…
We all know mistakes are part of life, work included. Just as it’s easy to add and manage content, plugins, themes, and posts using WordPress’ dashboard, it’s also easy to remove these features. Plugins can be deactivated or removed, themes can be swapped, posts can be hidden or deleted. Better than saying “Mistakes were made” is to be able to say, “Mistakes were easily corrected thanks to WordPress.”
These are just some basic ways in which WordPress makes it easy for end users to manage content. WordPress themes can be developed and customized to fit the needs and structure of individual organizations, making content management a smooth, seamless process.