A Look At The New Menu UI

If you’ve been too busy to spend some time playing around with the new menu system in the latest bleeding edge version of WordPress, WPEngineer has a couple of screenshots of the latest user interface that will be part of the 3.0 release for managing menus. A couple of the comments mentioned that based on the screenshots alone, it was clear that it would be difficult to scale. I’ve played around with the menus for a little bit and I was able to create five of them before the sixth menu forced the menu widget to the bottom of the screen. One of the only complaints I have with the system as it stands now is a cosmetic one. Since the menu addition widgets are on the left hand side and the menus are on the right, it looks totally different than most of the other pages throughout the administration page, especially the widget management page. It’s not a huge issue but I think it detracts away from the consistency of the back-end. Here are two screenshots showcasing what I mean.

5 Menus
Widgets Have A Sidebar Content Sidebar Layout

I suppose if the menu addition item sidebar were moved to the right, leaving the menus in the middle, it just might address the consistency factor. As for actually using the menus, I love the idea of not being limited to category or page links per menu. I can mix and match them as I please.

By the way, I’ve decided to add one more screenshot of what the WooNavigation system was like before it was hacked to death. There are some things that didn’t quite mesh with the surroundings such as the icons but just about everything else seemed native to me. I’ve not had the opportunity to use WooThemes version of the menu system but just from watching the video, it seems easy enough.

It will be interesting to see how the menu system will change either UI or functionality wise before the release of 3.0. I’m also looking forward to reading all the feedback around the menu system once it hits the public’s hands although many who upgrade right away may not even see the menu system until they upgrade their theme with the required functions.


8 responses to “A Look At The New Menu UI”

  1. I agree. The new UI doesn’t flow nearly as well as the original Woo UI. The new UI is not so fantastic. Swap the position of the menu content and the “tools” so the toolbar is on the right.

    The tabs are also problematic because they aren’t going to scale. The best way to handle this would have been to handle Menus like Categories, Tags, Posts, etc. Where you go to Menus and you have a list of all your Menus. You either click “Add New” or you edit an existing menu and then get the menu editor interface. It would be more consist with the rest of WordPress if they went this route.

    Here was a quick UI mockup that I had shown on the UI dev blog when this change was being discussed:


    The tabs are also large and chunky. I know these are the same tabs that were introduced elsewhere in the UI, but they just don’t fit in here or anywhere else they are used.

    That being said, the functionality is FANTASTIC! Kudos to Ptah Dunbar and Filosofo for all the hard work!

  2. @Carl Hancock – Well, when the masses get a hold of the menu system, it will be great to read the feedback as I mentioned in the post. Perhaps workflow trumps consistency and that might come to light after the release of 3.0. what if this is the better method and we just don’t realize it?

  3. @Viper007Bond – Of course it is. Everything in WordPress is a work in progress. Which is why new versions are released to continue to make it better and better. It is also why discussion along with constructive criticism is a good thing. Because it helps in new ideas and suggestions that can help contribute to making the platform even better.

  4. No doubt the UI will be fixed in a later release. By the looks of it the main target is just to get the new menus into 3.0 and have it working. Who knows, 3.1 might have some UI tidying done in it,

  5. I generally prefer the Woo UX over the WP Menus UX. It’s still clunky, but IMO it’s less so.

    A coworker and I jumped on IRC yesterday to talk through a different Menus issue and I think came to a good compromise that will effect positive change. So if you have real concerns and can describe something you think would improve it, there’s still some opportunity.

  6. I’ve worked with several software development projects and this kind of thing frequently happens as more and more features are built into the software. The interface becomes complex frustrating and/or overwhelming for users because so many options are available, or the new functions are hidden from view and the user never has any idea they even exist.

    Look at Microsoft Office and the radical change they made back in 2007. There are numerous options available – too many to show in any meaningful way. There solution was the “ribbon” design that shows you the most logical menu options based on what task you are trying to accomplish. If you’re not editing a picture, you don’t see those options.

    I think this is a great idea for discussion as WordPress advances. Either that or (gasp) features should really be added as plugins. I already end up spending quite a bit of my dev time subtracting or hiding menu options for my users because, depending on the project, they may never have use for some of these features and the extra options just become distractions.

  7. I wouldn’t worry too much about the visuals of the UI at this stage, if the architecture is functional. I tested with 7-8 menus and didn’t really think there was any scalability problems. How often do you use more than 3 menus on a site ? Maybe I misunderstood the scalability issue though, is it an issue if you have zillions of posts or pages ?

    “The masses” will always complain about new UI`s and new design patterns, but with WordPress.TV it should be possible to make some official Menu UI introduction videos, and have links to them in the help tab.

    John Myrstad


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