We have been eagerly awaiting the release of WordPress 3.8 to see the complete redesign, new widget and menu features. The design has been dated and personally I think this update has been a little overdue if anything. After rolling the update out on our own sites and clients using WordPress we have had a enough time to dig deep into 3.8 and here is our quick review and thoughts.

I suppose we should start with the design, it hasn’t completely changed the way the dashboard works, in fact the interface is relatively the same. Using a (in trend) flat design and vector based icons the dashboard looks clean, simple and loads much quicker than before. Navigating a complex WordPress site can be easier with the 3.8 update, the menus seem clear and simple rather than the cramped and dull menus from before. A feature our clients have liked about the update is the ability to change the colour theme for the dashboard of each user, this not only looks cool but also serves a good functions when working with multiple WordPress sites.

The new widget area
Before 3.8 the widget area in WordPress had been the same for what seemed like forever. We have welcomed the new interface in the widget section, this makes explaining to clients about widgets much easier. Removing the whole drag and drop thing (although you still can drag and drop if you must). Now you can click on an available widget in the left hand side, you will then get an option of which widget area you want the widget to appear.

Better responsive design & mobile support
My one pet hate about WordPress pre 3.8 was the lack of mobile support, the dash still worked but never scaled properly. Yes there is a WordPress IOS and Android app but it never had the the full functions of the actual dashboard and never supported modified features and custom fields etc. The the Parker 3.8 update brings a great responsive unified interface that now works naturally on you mobile and iPad without the scale issues. Finally!

Better menu area
Along with the updated and improved widget area we also get improved menu area control. Like the widget area the changes are intuitive and easy to get used to. You can now create and manage individual menus without the menu tabs from before. The menu tabs used to be useful but when working on a site with multiple menus the tabs can get frustrating. Now you can select the menu you want to edit from a drop down list and then add items to it as before. To edit which menus appear in your menu areas you can now change this while creating a menu or on the menu areas tab at the top.

WordPress 3.8 Parker is awesome! Things look cleaner, cooler and make so much more sense. I haven’t found any bugs since the upgrade and I’ve also had no conflicts with plugins over multiple sites that have had the update. I recommend you get WordPress 3.8 if you haven’t already.