My Take on WordPress 3.8
WordPress 3.8 came out just a few days ago, and I jumped at the chance to install it on as many of my blogs as I could manage. This was one of the most anticipated updates in years – and with good reason. It was a complete overhaul of the admin interface and added quite a bit of new features.
So, does WordPress 3.8 – aka “Parker” – live up to the hype?
Modern New Design
WordPress has gotten a facelift. 3.8 brings a fresh new look to the entire admin dashboard. Gone are overbearing gradients and dozens of shades of grey — bring on a bigger, bolder, more colorful design!
WordPress 3.8 brings a slew of new typography, shading, and contrast tweaks to the interface. I say tweaks, but let’s be honest – it’s basically been redesigned, and it looks fantastic. Gone are the gradients, shadows, and skeuomorphic elements, and here are pages taken from the Android (and most recently, Apple) play books.
My Opinion: WordPress has given a design that is easy on the eyes in terms of both aesthetic and usability. Grade: A
We all access the internet in different ways. Smartphone, tablet, notebook, desktop — no matter what you use, WordPress will adapt and you’ll feel right at home.
The admin screen now adapts to smartphones, tablets, and desk machines – the navigation condenses nicely, and everything falls into place as you’d expect. The icons are retina-optimized for ultra-pixel resolutions, so you’ll never see jagged edges when you’re on the go.
My Opinion: It’s about time. The app is good, but sometimes you want your desktop on your devices, you know? Grade: A
This one is purely aesthetic, but it’s nice to have more than two options (three, if you have BuddyPress). It does make things a bit more personal.
Theme Management Overhaul
A really nice usability change that is also very pleasing to the eye. Everything’s in columns now, and you can pick/choose things at a quick glance.
Drag-drag-drag. Scroll-scroll-scroll. Widget management can be complicated. With the new design, we’ve worked to streamline the widgets screen.
The widget experience has also been overhauled as well. You can tap-to-add on touch-enabled devices, and the sidebars are all columnized. No more scroll-scroll-scrolling to get to the sidebar you want.
My Opinion: Once again, this is a much-needed upgrade. The tap widgets take some getting used to, because it doesn’t outright tell you that’s how to add them… and trying to drag-scroll is a bit of a nightmare. But, it’ll be worked out in 3.8.1, I assure you. Grade: B
Ah, the new theme. This one is completely off the rails because it’s (gasp) a Magazine Theme. It does look great, and it offers a fantastic canvas to design upon, but it’s nothing new (and that skinny sidebar bugs me a bit, but that’s just my personal opinion.
Overall Thoughts on WordPress 3.8
Well, the hype has turned out to be exactly what we expected it to be. It’s a fantastic update, and the new admin screen alone is worth the jump to WordPress 3.8. The widget screen has its issues on mobile devices, but I expect them to be smoothed out soon. And hey, there’s plenty of security reasons to upgrade.
My Suggestion: Upgrade Immediately (after you backup, that is).