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Decluttering The WordPress Interface For Clients

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One of the most helpful things about WordPress is that most of the functionality the average site owner needs is exposed in the dashboard. Everything from tweaking permalink to CSS edits can be done without opening a code editor. Throw in a few plugins, and you have even more control. Want to manage caching? There’s a plugin for that. Want to change the site's typography or menu layouts radically? Easily done.

But here’s the thing: WordPress professionals and even site owners need that level of functionality. The average WordPress user doesn’t. Let’s say someone pays you to set up a WordPress blog for them. You use the admin interface to install plugins, make theme tweaks, setup caching, make sure permalink are sensible, and so on. But once you hand the site over to a user, that functionality can be a liability.

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All they want to do is write articles, publish them, and maybe see how many people read them. Everything else is unnecessary clutter. They don’t need or want to see a menu item that will let them change the minification options for the site’s JavaScript files. Clutter is in the eye of the beholder, but if you’re never going to use that functionality, it imposes an unneeded cognitive burden.

Many clients appreciate not having to deal with unnecessary clutter, and they appreciate the professional that gives them a clean, elegant interface in which they can do their work without having to worry about what all the extraneous options do.

Even worse is the temptation. Even the least technically inclined WordPress user might be tempted to take a look under the hood and start fiddling. Perhaps they think their site is too slow and Google how to make it faster. They begin experimenting with caching settings, only to discover that whatever they’ve done and can’t remember how to undo breaks the site.

What comes next is a call to whoever set their site up demanding to know why it’s broken — a support burden that many WordPress professionals can do without.

Decluttering WordPress

As you might imagine, many excellent plugins will help you simplify the WordPress admin dashboard so that it provides a pleasant user experience to clients.

One of the best options is Client Dash, which makes it quite straightforward to simplify the dashboard.

With Client Dash, you can easily rearrange and remove menu items. You can also add new menus and change menu labels, which is very useful if you want to create a menu hierarchy that is more intuitive to a non-technical blogger.

Client Dash also includes functionality to change the dashboard, including the ability to rearrange dashboard widgets, add new widgets, and change the associated icons.

One of the most helpful features of Client Dash is its ability to add new admin pages with tabs that can include helpful information about the functionality on offer — an excellent way to reduce support calls for simple questions and help site owners train new users.

WordPress is popular because of its power, but once a site is deployed, it’s safe and smart to hide most of that functionality away to provide an enhanced user experience.

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