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How to Avoid the New WordPress.com Interface

WordPress.com New Interface - Access to WP Admin.For the past three to four years, WordPress.com users have been “experimenting” with the what is known as the “new” WordPress.com interface. A drag-and-drop-meets-wysiwymg interface (What You See is What You MIGHT Get), it is designed to make interaction with WordPress easier. I’m still waiting.

What it continues to do is make my students and clients have fits of frustration, hair-tearing, and tears.

Let me be clear. I am not personally or professionally against improving the interface of WordPress called Calypso. It needs improvement. Unfortunately, during the development stage, the majority of work is done in the “classic” interface known today as the WP-Admin. People become familiar with it, trust it, and enjoy the simplicity once they learn a little of the lingo (what’s a Page, post, and media), yet, when they encounter the new interface, they are confused, frustrated, and lost.

Those starting to use WordPress need quick access to Themes, Widgets, Settings, Pages, etc., and the new interface, unless you are careful with what you click, may switch back and forth between the new and the classic interface seemingly without warning, causing no end of confusion. Once they get the site set up, the new post interface is “good enough” for them, as most of my students admit, though they rush back to the classic interface as soon as possible.

It makes no sense to them. It takes longer to load, doesn’t work well when not connected to the Internet, It might be a “clean” interface, but they can’t find categories, tags, post scheduling, preview links, and sticky post buttons without hunting around the screen. Younger and older people HATE the lack of contrast in the font and screen colors. If they are working near a window or in a bright light situation, they complain they can’t find their way around the screen because they can’t see it. Older people complain they get headaches working with it because it is so “dim” – their word not mine. If there was a higher contrast alternative, the complaints might be fewer.

Having met some of the designers behind the new interface, I understand their intentions and goals. I adore their passion and commitment to improving WordPress. I just wish they could wear Vaseline-coated glasses, work in brightly lit rooms, and approach WordPress from the perspective of someone having never seen it before.

Until then, I have to deal with frustrated clients and students, and you must know there are alternatives.

UPDATE: I’ve just been informed by a WordPress.com moderator that the WP-Admin link does not appear at the bottom of the My Sites menu for “new” users, only “old” users, which means that WordPress.com now offers different interfaces for the new and classic interface and the length of time you’ve been using the service. Makes no sense to me but I’ll be teaching a new batch of students in a few weeks, and we’ll see how they do.

Use the WP-ADMIN

The classic WordPress interface is now called WP-ADMIN.

To open it directly use example.com/wp-admin/.

I recommend you bookmark it and add it to your visible bookmark toolbar on your browser or memorize it. If you get lost, just type in wp-admin at the end of your URL and hit enter. AH, back to familiar lands.

To access it through the new interface:

  1. Click My Sites to access the dashboard screen or bring up the right side drop down menu.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the right side menu. Look for WP Admin, and click.
  3. It will force open a new window or tab.
    • If your browser is set to switch immediately to a new tab or window, find the previous tab you were just on and close it.
    • If your browser is set to open new tabs and windows in the background, close this tab and switch to the newly opened tab.
    • If all this tab switching and forcing makes you crazy, and it does, right click on WP-Admin instead and choose to Open Link in New Tab.

Forcing links to open in a new tab without warning the user is a violation of web standards and international laws, but the small box with the arrow shooting out to the top right is a long-held standard indicator that a link will force open in a new tab or window.

Still, it is a useless thing to do and leaves people unfamiliar with how a browser and links work with multiple open WordPress interface tabs, which leaves them confused and lost, not knowing where they were when they switch away and come back. Personally and professionally, I believe the link to the WP-Admin should open in the same page. Those who wish to force open new tabs already know how to do so, so let them.

To avoid accessing the new interface, stick with the WP-Admin access and NEVER click the EDIT link on the front end of your site. It automatically redirects to the new interface now.

Also, ignore all nag screens that tell you to switch to the new interface. For a while, such a switch made it difficult to switch back to the classic edit interface, so don’t. Seriously. Don’t.

If all this tab-switching and clicking is too much work. There is an alternative.

Using a Browser Script

Browser scripts are bits of code that react when you visit a web page or site. They will not work on other sites unless programmed to do so. For example, there are browser scripts that stops autoplay of the most common videos. There are browser scripts that stop autoplay of music on websites that annoy us. There are also browser scripts for Gmail, Facebook, and more.

And for WordPress.

Among them is a script called WordPress.com edit post redirects that automatically redirects the new post edit interface to the classic when you click EDIT from the front end of the site (the design view that other people see).

To use the Edit Post Redirect, install Greasemonkey Add-on for Firefox or Greasy Fork Add-on for Chrome first. Restart your browser if necessary. Then install the WordPress edit post redirect. It will automatically install the one appropriate for your browser.

When you land on the new post edit interface, it will redirect automatically to the classic post interface. It is fairly instant for cable users, and takes a moment for dial-up Internet users.

For more specifics and step-by-step instructions, see “How To Force A Redirect To The Classic WordPress.com Editor Interface – Diary of Dennis.”

Be warned that you may have to reinstall the script from time to time as WordPress makes changes in their redirect process for the new interface.


7 Comments

  1. Posted August 10, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Thanks – some of the new stuff is real bad and the way they FORCE people to the new stuff is very bad – they also removed a config button for choosing the Classic Editor for editing Posts and set the new editor as the only way to get there from a Post for editing while viewing a Post – when I complained in the Help Forum I was told that the button was not used much – well duh you idiots – config buttons are used for config and then in some cases not used again for years – basically a middle finger to the users for someone’s ego trip

    • Posted August 10, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      With you, CaptnMike. I stick to the Greasemonkey script to save my life on a daily basis with WordPress. Best work-around for now for those who spend the majority of their time on the Admin of a site and less on the posts, though technically, it should be the other way around. SIGH.

  2. Posted August 10, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Heads up, Lorelle! New users do not have the WP Admin link at the bottom of their My Sites menu.

    Yes, I agree that the current level of back and forth between the old and new is maddening, but WPcom is working hard on resolving that! I no longer hate the Calypso interface as much as I used to and that’s because I chose to work with it and learn it. This is especially necessary if you need to teach someone to use WPcom, which is a product and separate from standalone WP. Anyone who installs Jetpack on their standalone WP install will also have the choice of working in the Calypso interface, including managing plugins, etc.

    Glad to see you posting again. Missed you!

    • Posted August 10, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Thanks, dear friend. The screenshot was taken this morning showing the WP Admin link. So it is different for “new” users as compared to old users. More confusion in the ranks. Thanks for letting me know.

      And thanks.

  3. Posted August 10, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Glad to see you back, as well. Also glad that I am not the only one that finds the ‘new’ interface maddening. Some people apparently never learned that if it isn’t broken, it doesn’t need fixing.

  4. Posted August 10, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I am also not against new stuff because things have to evolve with the time. But in this case I felt like it was a huge step backward, because as you said, also to me the new user interface felt like clicking back and forth. You can get used to new things, but that’s not the case when the newer design has negative impact on the usuability. You wrote a good guide, people are still looking for this. And thanks for linking to my guide about this topic as well!

    • Posted August 10, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for keeping the heavy lifting on this going. This shouldn’t be an issue after so many years, but it is.


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