New WordPress.com Admin Bar Draws Attention

winds of changeWordPress.com is on continuous roll-out. Changes to the code are being made many times daily and new features are being introduced, while existing functions and features are being improved and upgraded.  Changes to the WordPress.com Admin bar and/or dashboard took users by surprise and  A Shiny New, Simplified Admin Bar was announced.

The announcement let users know this was to make “likes” and “follows” more accessible.  That’s not surprising given the earlier announcement.

Why is it called Follow and not Subscribe?  Good question, as many designers here at WordPress.com debated this, including me. Although the functionality is similiar to the Email subscription widget, after testing various prototypes, we learned more people clicked on the button and signed up if it were called Follow rather than Subscribe. We also know subscribe suggests to some its something you pay for, whereas follow has no such connotation.

More traffic for your blog with the follow button.

More changes in works

Pssst! The reblogging feature after clicking the like button is unavailable as changes to that function are underway.  It’s suggested that using Press This while Staff work on bringing Reblog back to the Admin Bar.

Pssst! We’re working on a new design for the comments area and it’s in testing now. No promises on when, but keep an eye out for it.

I’m not impressed with the duplication of buttons which are already avaialble to me beeing tucked away for simplicity sake. I used to be able to access my other blogs quickly and easily from the “Blogs” drop down. Now that process has been made slower. In fact my whole Admin section on this site has become SLOW, and that’s why I am typing this in a test blog and copying it and pasting it here.

Would you care to share your response to the changes?

36 thoughts on “New WordPress.com Admin Bar Draws Attention

  1. Pingback: WordPress Fly Out Menus Coming Soon « one cool site

  2. Ok, Panic over ( for the time being)
    FYI the problem seemed to be the router.
    A combination of screaming at it plus switching off and on and pressing everything in sight has succeeded until now. But this is the third or fourth time this has happened in the past month. How to prevent it in future?

    Sorry in advance if the read the novella above first!

    • I’m so happy to hear you have finally overcome this annoying challenge. I have no advice to offer you when it comes to prevention> Change is a universal and we have to be able to cope with changes as annoying as they may be.

  3. FYI
    Further to my last cry for help I downloaded the newest version of Chrome and checked out the router speeds:

    Last Result:
    Download Speed: 10308 kbps (1288.5 KB/sec transfer rate)
    Upload Speed: 784 kbps (98 KB/sec transfer rate)
    Latency: 35 ms
    Sat Oct 01 2011 13:00:44 GMT+0300 (Jerusalem Daylight Time)

  4. I’m not sure if there is any connection but ever since the new command bar layout I’ve had a whole series of problems. Basically I can longer create and publish a new post or edit an old one.
    I have approached WP support. Their first response took a week and now I have no response at at all.
    This is a copy of my last request to them:

    further follow up

    I can enter to make a new post but cannot then upload. If I try to save draft I get the chrome “Server sent no info”etc. and the Title of the post disappears. Also the new post page is missing the edit / preview/ view post buttons.
    Basically the system is half working but I cannot send anything.

    This is latest chrome message:

    This webpage is not available
    The connection to andyboy100.wordpress.com was interrupted.
    Here are some suggestions:
    Reload this webpage later.
    Check your Internet connection. Restart any router, modem, or other network devices you may be using.
    Add Google Chrome as a permitted program in your firewall’s or antivirus software’s settings. If it is already a permitted program, try deleting it from the list of permitted programs and adding it again.
    If you use a proxy server, check your proxy settings or contact your network administrator to make sure the proxy server is working. If you don’t believe you should be using a proxy server, adjust your proxy settings: Go to the wrench menu >Options > Under the Hood > Change proxy settings… > LAN Settings and deselect the “Use a proxy server for your LAN” checkbox.
    Error 101 (net::ERR_CONNECTION_RESET): The connection was reset.

    I’ve reset router several times. doesn’t help. Any possible connection to recent change of command bar layout?
    Please Help!

  5. But even their free-hosted version wordpress.org, they wouldn’t really listen much to their bloggers for the base blogging software platform. I find far less support communication from wordpress for .org version.

    After all the .com version is used to experiement sometimes for .org version. At least, that was my impression.

    • Yes it’s true that one can wait for days, weeks or even months to get support at WordPress.org. I could be wrong but from what I can tell they appear to have only Volunteers and no Staff. I rarely posted there. When I did my comment on a thread there was cast into Akismet and there was no means of contacting a Moderator and getting it fished out of the spam filter.

      All new versions of WordPress are up and running here at WordPress.com a month before they are released to WordPress.org users. In essense, I suppose one could say we WordPress.com users are a huge BETA testing community for new WordPress versions.

  6. Thanks for this post TiTi. I’m with you on most of it. (Oh and my blogs are taking absolutely ages to load since they brought this in).

    I think it might be easier for brand new bloggers here as some of it is laid out in a more logical way – though the left/right drop downs are, in my opinion, too large and obscure the page below.

    I’ve just posted about this in the forum so won’t say the same here, but the more changes that they make here the more I feel an ‘us’ and ‘them’ divide between older and younger bloggers. I think the way its going it’s much more orientated towards younger bloggers and I don’t think they realise just how many of us older ones there actually are. They also don’t take into consideration anyone – regardless of age or blogging experience – with sensory handicaps. I’ve a touch of dyslexia and I get migraines from some visual inputs and really all these changes are not just doing my head in emotionally but are doing it in physically too.

    I am currently very very torn between staying on WordPress because of what I love here and leaving it because of what I hate about it.

    The new changes that are coming? My guess is that the various things we can currently opt out of on a post by post basis will have the opt-out options removed. And I would bet that Facebook’s presence will be more prominent.

    • Hi Val,
      I will reply to you in the morning. I’m dead on my feet and must go to bed. Today two shippers lost our orders and rather than the shipping companies finding out what happened to them they dithered about remonstrating. Finally I took over from the lame staff and straightened both messed up orders out for them, without losing my temper and providing my feedback on their ineptitude. Sleep well.

    • Hi Val,
      Thanks to some kind of disturbance I had a dreadful night without much sleep. I intend to make up for that by going to bed early tonight.

      I’m not feeling an “us” versus “them” ie. divide between younger and older bloggers, which is not to say it doesn’t exist. Perhaps as a group youth adapt to change more quickly than older people do, but I have always been quite resilient. When it comes to sensory limitations and handicaps I believe those are considered under accessibility guidelines.

      These stats are from my post: Blogging and Demographic Groups

      http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2010/09/02/blogging-demographic-groups/

      Bloggers in the 21-to-35 year-old demographic group account for 53.3% of the total blogging population.

      • People 20-years-old or under are 20.2%
      • 36-to-50 year-olds are 19.4%
      • 51-years-old and older account for 7.1%.

      The phrase silver surfer is commonly heard in the U.K., but applies to midlife adults (generally those in their 40s, 50s and 60s), and seniors (age 70 and over) everywhere.

      • Account for 70 percent of the U.S. net worth, controlling $9 trillion;
        Inherit over $12 trillion from their parents — the largest wealth transfer in history;
      • Control 80 percent of the personal financial assets
      • Represent 50 percent of U.S. discretionary spending
      • Own about 50 percent of all credit cards.

      I’m not inclined to leave WordPress.com. I am however inclined to find a way to finance a No-Ads upgrade for both of my blogs. That will bring the cost of free blogging here to a total of $47. per blog per year as both are being domain mapped.

      • Interesting figures, thanks.
        I recently paid for a No-Ads upgrade for my main blog but really can’t afford it at the moment for all of them.

        I hope you have a better night tonight. (I hope I do too!)

    • In fact as we are free hosted we do not have control over such things. If we want that kind of control then we are advised to hire a web host and manage our own self-hosted WordPress.org install, or move our content to another blogging platform.

  7. The menu on the right really messed me up. I was on a tablet and everything is smaller and I didn’t see it right away. Like you, I don’t understand the point of putting the same options on both sides.

    Every time I log into WordPress I think, “I wonder what will be different today?” I don’t think that’s a good thing.

    • Hi there,
      I have the same feeling. I used to log in every day feeling happy and content. And, in the early days of WordPress.com changes were exciting now they aren’t. I’m dreading what may have happened to my blogs while I slept that’s going to frustrate me from achieving what I wanted to achieve with ease, and that’s not a good feeling. :(

      Don’t get me wrong though, I do respect all of our Staff and know that what they do is intended to make us happy and build up the business. However, there’s got to be a better way than – SURPRISE! shrouded in shiny new market speak.

  8. I have only one blog to speak of, so the changes have actually been a pleasant surprise to me. It will take me a few days to become accustomed to where everything is now, but it’s not intimidating. I do wonder, though, what else will go on the bar. Seems like a whole lot of empty space.

    • Have you noticed the multiple links? You can access your stats by clicking “Site Stats” in the left menu column on your Admin page. You can also access “Comments I’ve made” there too. So why do we need yet another link in the right hand new drop-down box to those? Here’s another example. We have links to Add New in our posts module and Add News in our Pages module in that same left hand Admin column. So why do they appear in yet another drop-down box on the right hand side? And, how can this duplication of link locations on the right and the left be referred to as simplification?

      I don’t get it. Perhaps they are intending to do away with the Admin bar altogether, or perhaps not. Only Staff are in the know and I don’t think that’s a good approach at all. We are the end users. We users here at WordPress.com are to a degree BETA testers for every new WordPress version released to WordPress.org users, a month after they are introduced to us here. We are repeatedly surprised with these changes and then we read media bafflegab like “millions of WordPress users requested …”

      It’s too bad that TPTB don’t think sharing their plans with us before they surprise us with them is a wise thing to do. :(

  9. ” I used to be able to access my other blogs quickly and easily from the “Blogs” drop down. ”

    I discovered this new change yesterday when I tried to access my 2nd blog. Verrrryyyy annoying and ultimately time-consuming for a blogger.

    WordPress.com does need to think big and think about how .com is used…as a content platform for non-profits and for personal blogging where the same blogging technology will be used to create different blogs as a discrete, different content products!! They’re probably thinking the whole WordPress.com world is more personal blogging where a person just has 1 blog.

    Would LOVE to know if they could tell us % of blog owners who have more than 1 .com blog.

    • Hi Jean,
      I’m sure they do have such stats one how many of us have more than one .com blog. I don’t think this is about our experience. IMHO there has to be something that Staff are aiming to achieve that we users are not apprised of.

  10. This change kind of caught me by surprise, and sure slowed me down this morning before I finally tracked down the announcement that told me how to get to my dashboard!

    • The overall effect on those who have multiple blogs like me that they are in and out of all day long is a slowed down experience. It’s not clear to me how this new right hand drop-down box that has duplicate links creating redundancy as they are already in our left menu column amounts to “simplification”. I don’t find these changes result in a simple experience. I find the opposite to be the case. I don’t find hovering clicking and waiting everywhere to be more convenient; it’s a less convenient setup IMO.

      I found the “shiny new” market speak to be irritating and the claims of simplification to be unsubstantiated.

      I’m also wondering what Staff may have planned to “fill” the empty navigation bar spots and dreading whatever might be sprung on us next.

      It’s so annoying that only Staff appear to have the big picture in regard to what development of the Admin bar and changes to the dashboard may manifest as. It would be great if we end users of our navigation bar were apprised of what the “vision” is.

      SIGH

        • They are adults. The thing is that only Staff know what the vision for future development of the Admin bar is, and as we users get no notice we tend to feel put out and put off when we find changes like these have been made. I suppose we simply have to suck it up and get used to the fact that changes will be introduced without prior notice.

  11. Personally, I kind of subscribe to the idea that if something isn’t broken, you shouldn’t fix it, and I don’t think it was broken. Sure, I’ll get used to it eventually, but really, it was fine the way it was before. WordPress seems to continually change the interface here, but I’m not certain what the motivation is. Maybe the designers are bored. Anyway, I’m always reminded of Dr. McCoy’s quote in the first Star Trek movie: “You know engineers, they LOVE to change things.”

    • @writerdood
      I don’t think I’m any more or less resistant to change than the average blogger is. And I do adhere to the “if it’s not broken, don’t waste your time tinkering with it” philosophy. I don’t expect WordPress.com to become frozen in time. I accept the fact that the user interface will continue change as all things do, simply because change is the only constant in the universe. Surely, there must be some kind of master plan or vision here so why don’t end users know what it is? (scratching my head)

  12. Yes, this took me by total surprise. Yesterday all was as usual, but this morning when I logged on to publish my daily post, I had to go through hoops to find my blogs and dashboards. After I published, I could not find a way to return to my dashboard. What’s up with these people? Is this site about writing or technology?

    • Hi there,
      I think they like taking us by surprise. In fact surprise changes seem to be the status quo. Flying a trial balloon and asking for feedback is risky as there may be those who are only too eager to pop it. Basically what they seem to have going here is a lot of ideas borrowed from Tumblr and Google+.

  13. I don’t like the word ‘follow’ because it reminds me of social networking. I like suscribe because in this realm called blogging I always likened the word to getting a library card and acces to a new book. BUT now that you have explained the thinking behind the new label. I have no complaint, that does make perfect sense.

    I agree about the slowness. I have now to move my mouse all around the page and make an extra click. Not as time saving.

  14. Seems to less cluttered, yes, but it definitely takes longer to perform even the simplest of actions like make a new post. I actually prefer more items on the Admin bar, not fewer, so I just click and (e.g.) make a new post, without having to open up a menu.

  15. It’s good-looking and confusing. At your first glance, you can not decide whether there is dropdowns or not, unless you clicked on it. And also, after clicking you get a huge chain of tabs. For me and other old bloggers, it’s easy to navigate but what for newbies? If one asks at whole, then I would say that I liked this brand new admin bar, but:
    1.The most frustrating ‘improvement’ is the removal of [New] tab.

    Working on dashboard or reading own blogs, whenever I got some Ideas about a post, I just clicked at ‘New>Post’ and wrote a new post. And also, when reading a blog, if I feel that it’s what I was looking for, I again clicked on ‘New > link’ and catched that site one into my blogroll.

    2. At second, the size of this admin bar is larger than the usual and takes more time to load. There’s nothing like ‘one-click’ to do, except a link to WordPress.com, Like/follow, to your Blog and To Your Profile. All editings, you could do with your blog, is in ‘Click and Scroll Mode’.
    3. An improvement which I liked the most — a tiny ‘WordPress.com search’ button into admin bar. Previous one was very huge.
    4. I don’t know what’s the need of that ‘like’ in admin bar! First of all mobile users can’t access that and second almost all blogs already have a ‘like this’ option.

    The ‘like’ tab in admin bar is probably just to make sure that you can reblog a post after liking. I think this ‘like’ will change into ‘Reblog’ tab soon. ;)

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around why a “simplified” Admin bar with presumably less (visible) stuff on it takes longer to load than it did before.

      I also used the New tab on the Admin bar but not to worry as we now have one on the right hand drop-down and one in the left hand Admin column. Duplication seems to be the thing here and why that is I don’t know.

      Aha! You finally gave me an opportunity to share that I like the little Google style magnifying glass‘WordPress.com search’ button in the Admin bar. hence far it’s the only thing I consider to be an improvement.

      One click is what every user wants but now we have click and wait and click and wait.

      What their future planvs for the Admin bar are we don’t know. We do know that they are working on the reblogging function so I won’t be surprised when it and the Admin bar “like” button reappear.

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