WordPress 3.8: New Color Scheme and More!

The new version of WordPress came out last Friday, and I updated all my maintenance plan subscribers to it yesterday.

New Color Scheme

Before you update, get ready for a rather jarring color-scheme change. (And don’t forget to backup your site too!)

Pre-WordPress 3.8 Dashboard
Before WordPress 3.8…
WordPress 3.8 Dashboard
…and after.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook may have noticed this was coming:

Little has moved in the admin, but things do look different.

Changing Your Color Scheme

If the default black and blue scheme isn’t for you, you’re in luck as there are eight color schemes you can choose from.

Change your color scheme on the update announcement screen you see immediately after updating WordPress or on the “Your Profile” admin screen at any time thereafter. Simply select a new color scheme and the admin changes without even refreshing the page!

WordPress 3.8 Color Scheme Chooser

More Fun With Colors

If none of those eight schemes fit your fancy, you can find eight more in the Admin Color Schemes plugin. Just install it on your site and you’ll get more options to choose from on your “Your Profile” admin page.

And if you’re a total color junkie, check out the Color Schemes Roulette plugin!

Randomly changes the admin color scheme every time you publish a post. This plugin motivates you to publish more blog posts. Or maybe unpublish and publish a single blog post numerous times.

Other Changes in WordPress 3.8

You can read the full announcement post and watch the introduction video for WordPress 3.8 if you want, but there are two other features I find noteworthy.

“Responsive” Admin

Just like a front-end website can be “responsive,” the new WordPress admin will adjust better to the width of your screen. Theoretically, you can now manage your site on a phone or tablet, though there are still mobile-specific WordPress apps available as well.

Improved Dashboard

I’ve never found the “Dashboard” admin page very compelling even though it’s the first page you see when you log in to edit your site. However, the new Dashboard takes a big step in the right direction. The number of “Dashboard Widgets” has been pared down and the remaining ones are actually useful!

  • The “Activity” stream shows your recently published posts, scheduled posts, and recent comments. There are big plans to add more useful information to the stream in future versions.
  • The “Quick Draft” widget replaces the old “Quick Post” widget. It’s meant for quickly logging ideas for future posts. This is exactly how I write in WordPress—I currently have 56 drafts waiting to be fleshed out—so this will save me a few clicks.
  • The “At a Glance” widget replaces the “Right Now” widget. It’s a little sparse at first, but my Post Status Menu Items plugin beefs it up by showing an overview of all your Posts’ statuses (with pretty icons!): ((Unfortunately, that widget has some problems with how it’s implemented, but I’ve filed a ticket to address that.))

The "At a Glance" widget with extra "Post Statuses"

Go Update!

I rarely post these types of overview posts, but the new color schemes seemed to make this one worthwhile. Many people have found the change unnerving, so I hope I can give those of you who are WordPressers a heads up and plan of action to take control of how your admin looks.

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