Do You Want To See Plugin Specific Dashboard Widgets Disappear?

Joost de Valk was one of the first to start the trend and now, he’s on pace to reverse it. Joost announced that he has decided to remove the dashboard widget which shows the most recent posts on his site from his SEO plugin.

Joost provided some interesting statistics that show where most of his visitors are coming from. As it turns out, the dashboard news are did provide additional traffic but very little in the way of conversions which is one of the reasons for the removal. Looking at the reactions of those that use the plugin, some applaud Joost for this action while others wanted the ability to choose whether to hide or display the news widget. While not mentioned, I think it’s a little humorous as well that within the Plugin UI Guide published by WPCandy recently, they featured the Dashboard News Widget of Joost De Valks SEO Plugin as what not to do.

Do You Want To See Plugin Specific Dashboard Widgets Disappear?

  • I'd Rather Have An Option To Disable/Enable It (49%, 97 Votes)
  • Yes (45%, 89 Votes)
  • No (7%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 200

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While I want to see the results of the poll question I asked, I’ll pose a few more questions for you to answer. When is it ok to have a dashboard widget such as the one that used to be within the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast? Is the dashboard considered sacred real estate reserved for only the most important information?

Personally, I like the trend of removing dashboard widgets generated by plugins. In this case, I think less is more.

13 Comments


  1. I think plugins that use dashboard widgets can be useful. Ones like Joost’s may not be “useful” but for a calendar/event plugin, seeing upcoming events would be useful.

    I certainly hope that CORE doesn’t remove the ability, but I do hope that programmers use the API correctly so they can be turned off.

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  2. Besides the fact that it creates an inconsistent UX in the dashboard, I hated the Yoast widget immensely because it slows the load time to a crawl by making remote requests in the php every load instead of either caching the results in a transient or using AJAX to pull the data in without affecting page load time (you know, like all the other feeds in the dashboard).

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  3. I think the Right Now dashboard widget added by bbPress is a positive example: it displays useful information about your site, which is what the dashboard screen is for.

    Yoast’s promo widget, not so much.

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  4. I think what a lot of people tend to forget is that WordPress websites are not only used by individual bloggers.
    There are plenty of people, myself included, who build websites for others, mostly companies.
    Now with that in mind, what do you think I do with these rotten widgets? You think I (want to) show them to my clients?
    Of course I already fully customize the dashboard for my clients, but all those widgets just bring additional work that is completely unnecessary to begin with!

    And as we’re on the topic of adding crap to the dashboard, you might as well also touch on the mess plugin developers are starting to make of the Toolbar!

    For both the widgets and the toolbar menus we need as an absolute bare minimum the choice of turning them OFF. Better even would be off by default and the choice of turning them on. Ideal scenario would be not there to begin with.

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  5. If the widget serves a direct, useful purpose to operating the site, I’d like to see them stay or at least be optional. For example, Janis Elst’s Broken Link Checker plugin provides a stupendously convenient (for me) dashboard widget; checking the link status is part of my periodic chores list.

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  6. Piet’s argument is valid and so is Dave’s. I’d lean toward an option to turn on a specific dashboard widget. Default would be off for all. Same for the admin toolbar.

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  7. I agree that we should be given the option.

    There are some widgets that do provide very useful information in the dashboard.

    On the news site I run I really like seeing the recent searches and searches that came up empty as soon as I log in as it prompts me to do something about it.

    As someone that also develops themes for clients though I hide pretty much everything to keep the UI as simple as possible, so the ability to choose would simplify everything for me.

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  8. I’d really prefer to see an option to disable it. When I log in to my WordPress, I do glance over to see if there are any interesting links.


    Lorenzo

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  9. Plugin user should decide to place widget on his dashboard or not, and plugin should have an option top help user realize his decision.
    As for “Latest from Yoast” widget, I had similar metabox with ‘recent post’ from my site at my plugins settings pages some time ago, but finally fully removed them, to not bother users of my plugins. If someone really wish to read recent posts, he will subscribe to site RSS or visit it himself.

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  10. I don’t see anything wrong with a Dashboard widget if the information is related to the plugin that created it. I know plenty of folks who want to stay updated. If it’s purely self-promotional, then yeah – nix it.

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