19 Mar 2008 1 pm eastern

WordPress 2.5 Preview

Yesterday, Matt Mullenweg opened the kimono on WordPress 2.5, built by Automattic and designed by Happy Cog:

“For the past few months, we’ve been working with our friends at Happy Cog—Jeffrey Zeldman, Jason Santa Maria, and Liz Danzico—to redesign WordPress from the ground-up. The result is a new way of interacting with WordPress that will remain familiar to seasoned users while improving the experience for everyone. This isn’t just a fresh coat of paint—we’ve re-thought the look of WordPress, as well as how it’s organized so that you can forget about the software and focus on your own creative pursuits.”

Although 2.5 is still just in preview, the current build is solid enough to build a house on. I’m using it right now. (You’re soaking in it.)

Most of the buzz I’ve seen so far is enthusiastic about the new features, the new look, and the emphasis on usability.

There’s been some nice early press coverage, too. From a detailed review at Technosailor, “10 Things You Need To Know About WordPress 2.5:”

“By far the most comprehensive change in this release was the complete rethinking of how WordPressers do their administrative tasks. Happy Cog Studios was enlisted to do usability research and testing—with the emphasis being on usability research.”

And this, from Wired Magazine:

“Although WordPress 2.5 includes some nice new features like better plugin management, full-text feeds, and built-in photo galleries, the most immediately obvious change is the sleek new look, which comes courtesy of Jeffery [sic] Zeldman and the Happy Cog design team.”

Much more about WordPress 2.5 will soon be revealed. We love this product—it’s the tool that got me to stop hand-rolling zeldman.com after lo, these many millennia—and we’re thrilled to be part of its rejiggering.

[tags]wordpress, 2.5, happycog, design, redesigns[/tags]

Filed under: business, Design

61 Responses to “WordPress 2.5 Preview”

  1. Matt Munsey said on

    I was really considering making a switch to Expression Engine, but this new reworked WordPress may just change my mind about that.

  2. Stefano Aglietti said on

    You guys did a great job in the WP Admin redesign, after a bad approach in the very fist trunk released in these copule of month i learned to love it… even if few things will need some retouch in next release i love it 100%

  3. Kyle Steed said on

    I’m so excited. I love the new look. I only hope it handles the format of my text correctly when creating a new post this time. For some reason when I am creating a post using the “code” view and save it then come back to it I have lost all my formatting. (I don’t get it.) So I hope this new release will fix that issue for me, but other than that I love WP and all that it offers.

    Great job!

  4. John Lascurettes said on

    Glad I’ve been dragging my feet in ever starting up a blog. I’ll begin with WP 2.5. ;)

  5. Mark said on

    Not to long ago I checked out 2.5 from WP’s subversion repo and I was really pleasantly surprised by the new interface. Excellent job.

    WordPress 2.5 and Expression Engine 2.0 — I am filled with content managed glee

  6. Nate Klaiber said on

    That is some really good lipstick for the pig underneath it all.

    The re-organization and structuring of different elements will make it a much nicer interface. Just seeing the screenshots shows how much time and thought went into the interface.

  7. Antoine said on

    Wow. Time for me to pick up a new personal project so I can build a site around it with WP. Great job guys!

  8. Shane said on

    I was really pleased when I read that you’d been involved with the new version of WordPress. I cannot wait to use it!

  9. Nate Tharp said on

    All I’ll say is that I’m putting all of my current WP projects on hold and I cannot wait until 2.5 is released. So hurry up, I want the new improved goodness ASAP, please.

  10. Scott Lenger said on

    Awesome. Glad I managed to pick the right cms when I first started blogging nearly 4 years ago.

    Please tell me 2.5 will also lose the completely unnecessary /category/ from the permalinks?

  11. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Please tell me 2.5 will also lose the completely unnecessary /category/ from the permalinks?

    Scott, that is entirely at your control, and always has been.

    In /options-permalink.php , there are numerous settings, including day and name, numeric, and so on. You can also set up a totally custom structure using simple syntax (e.g., /%year%/%monthnum%/).

    The set-up you have now (with /category/) is not a default. Maybe you set it up that way when you installed WordPress, or maybe someone else set it up for you that way.

    Including category is actually pretty cool, as having /category/ makes your content much more visible to search engines. (Tip from the pros!)

    But you can easily remove /category/ by navigating to the Permalinks settings page.

    I don’t recall where that page is located in earlier versions of WordPress, but in 2.5 it’s in Settings: Permalinks. ;)

  12. Kari Pätilä said on

    It’s nice to see some money spent on the design. Veerle’s work on Expression Engine 2.0 makes things even more interesting.

  13. Stef said on

    Just svn switched to the trunk and am really impressed with RC1, it’s a huge improvement in usability. Thank you Jeffrey, Jason and Liz, your efforts are very much appreciated!

  14. RayMcK said on

    Time for a switch.

  15. Runo said on

    nicely design & code, wordpress is more faster than 2.3. but preview not so cute for 1680×1050 screen width. i think admin content place must liquid (re)code but happycog knows the best :)

  16. John said on

    Seriously I can’t wait to use this, thanks

    Oh yeah if any of you are bored check out the funniest video ever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0ZaEU9GlLY

  17. Brendan said on

    Jeffrey,

    I believe Scott is asking if can he jettison the /category/ prefix entirely. Yes, it can be renamed but wordpress breaks if you try and remove it entirely due to pages not having a prefix.

    The work Happy Cog has done has improved UI navigation and use a small amount (I have it in use on one site right now) but it still strikes me as a ‘better paint job’ over the same old and bad UI.

    And one has to do a great deal more scrolling now as even more content is below the fold. It’s great that your work hasn’t seen the same kind of brutal axe-work the last attempt had, but there’s a lot more to be done yet.

  18. Jason King said on

    I’ve been impressed with the changes brought by each new version so far and trust that the new version will make my web life that bit easier. I like everything I’ve read about 2.5 so far.

    I’m looking forward to the new version but as always I’m nervous about the prospect of upgrading all my clients’ websites!

  19. Tony Scott said on

    Good work by Happy Cog on the WP 2.5 admin area.

    Currently using it on offline test sites and, once I got used to it, find carrying out tasks much quicker than previously.

  20. Tim said on

    Why wasn’t Steve Smith of OrderedList contracted for the redesign?

    He developed the BEAUTIFUL Tiger interface for WordPress over 3 years ago!

    http://orderedlist.com/wordpress-plugins/wp-tiger-administration/

  21. Erin said on

    “…opened the kimono…”

    *beats own head against wall*

  22. Merci said on

    Congratulations, I like the redesign except for the WRITE POST area. Is there a way to enable users to move all the “myriad options” back to the right column? Or do we need to hack the core or create a plugin to do so?

    For multi-user/author bloggers, the myriad options on the right column is a helpful reminder for all newbies and and quick posting aid for expert bloggers – to click on categories, allow comments or not, add/change post author, etc BEFORE they even click on Save or Publish.

    I know it’s ready for launch bur I hope that the designers gave users the option to reconfigure the WRITE POST section.

    Thank you.

  23. Edo Z. said on

    Well, that’s progress. WP may be still an ugly piece of PHP Spaghetti Code and an invitation to hack the server it lives on, but at least the backend will be nice to look at… ;o)

  24. Matt Radel said on

    Ahhh…I thought the design style looked a hair familiar! Great work guys – 2.5 is a vast improvement.

  25. Jason Millward said on

    wow, looks great. can’t wait to build something with it. The admin areas looks fantastic

  26. Jared said on

    Wow, this looks really great. I like the custom sizes for thumbnails. As always, very nice work by Happy Cog!

  27. Doug said on

    Am I the only person that thinks the redesign of the UI is a MAJOR step backwards?

    Also, I’m with Tim. With all due respect, Happy Cog is good, but seriously – why wasn’t Steve Smith commissioned to do this work? His designs are much more simple yet contact much more detail. His Tiger UI plugin was a hit for years in the WordPress community.

  28. Brade said on

    looks great! I’ve been waiting for “write page” and “write post” both to be accessible from the dashboard…

  29. Cory von Wallenstein said on

    For those looking to upgrade, what enhancements do you find most compelling?

  30. Aaron Baker said on

    How could Wired Magazine of all people misspell your name?

  31. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Why wasn’t Steve Smith of OrderedList contracted for the redesign?

    I love Steve’s work, too. His Tiger interface graced Happy Cog’s old WordPress install.

    Happy Cog approached the project as a usability, information architecture, and user interface design job. It’s about more than the skin.

    Is there a way to enable users to move all the “myriad options” back to the right column? Or do we need to hack the core or create a plugin to do so?

    I can’t answer that question but I’ll make sure Matt sees your comment. Thanks for sharing!

  32. MAher said on

    Looks cool and feels a lot more modern. So far I just noticed the plugin tab is not very clearly stating when a plugin needs updating.

  33. Greg said on

    Awesome. Hopefully the upgrade from 2.2 (I think I’m running 2.2, anyway) is smooth and doesn’t require re-building my theme or plugins or database.

    I believe Scott is asking if can he jettison the /category/ prefix entirely. Yes, it can be renamed but wordpress breaks if you try and remove it entirely due to pages not having a prefix.

    You can do this, actually, but it requires hacking one of the core files, which I don’t recommend because it slightly complicates your upgrade path. I don’t remember exactly which file it was, nor do I still have access to that codebase, but it was a one-line change that didn’t make anything else blow up.

    I wish I remembered how I did it, sorry.

  34. Wade said on

    I can’t wait for it to get out of beta stages. I have a feeling I will have to learn my way around the dashboard again.

  35. Mike Cherim said on

    Oh, no, I hope my themes and plugins don’t break for 2.5 users :o

  36. krystyn said on

    “Solid enough to build a house on.”

    I can only hope we get a similar reaction when Squarespace 5.0 is launched. :)

  37. Catskills Grrl said on

    So proud of the man who’s first Happy Cog client was ME.

  38. Brian Flanagan said on

    I’ve been using Tumblr for a bit, and had a short stint with Symphony before that.

    Symphony was a lot of fun to use. Super customisable, and figuring out the XSLT stuff was probably valuable. It was too much of a time investment to make it very useable for me, though.

    The no-nonsense (no-comments) approach that Tumblr takes is nice for me. I don’t have time to really blog, and Tumblr is conducive to a more hapdash smörgåsbord approach. It’s nice.

    This new WordPress looks good, and probably fun to use. If I ever find myself with enough time to really blog again, I’ll probably give it a go.

  39. Destry Wion said on

    Cool.

    Just what were your usability methodologies, exactly? I know there were some (hopefully) for the sole fact you had Liz Danzico on the team, but what were they, exactly? Metrics, man, I want metrics.

    Maybe Liz will write something up in A List Apart, or Boxes and Arrows? I’m looking forward to it.

  40. Ray said on

    Wow. I just installed it. It’s a much better looking interface. After using MT and WP extensively I’m weary of all that blue on blue.

    One of the first things I noticed is the ‘post slug’ field is missing. I’m looking right at a 2.3.3 install and it’s there. Did that go away in 2.5 or was it relocated somewhere?

    What strikes me out of the box on 2.5RC1 is that there is a better visual sense of grouping of related elements. I particularly like the separation of the upper tabbed menu where the three items ‘Settings’, ‘Plugins’ and ‘Users’ are smaller and aligned on the right of the UI. The ‘Right Now’ header with the links to ‘Write Page’ and ‘Write Post’ is feeling much more intuitive–again the links are right-aligned and separated by font-weight. And yet, a lot of stuff is there in its familiar place. It just feels right.

    And I’m digging that retro Zeldman Orange. Well done.

  41. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Ray asked:

    [T]he ‘post slug’ field is missing. I’m looking right at a 2.3.3 install and it’s there. Did that go away in 2.5 or was it relocated somewhere?

    There is now a Permalink preview field instead. It shows up directly under the title field once you’ve written a title and begun saving a post. This provides more help than the previous field, and it provides that help contextually: it’s there when you need it.

    Destry asked:

    Just what were your usability methodologies? … Metrics, man, I want metrics. Maybe Liz will write something up … ?

    There’s no quick answer to that question. We’ll discuss briefly when we write the case study at Happy Cog after WordPress 2.5 officially launches. A longer article (or mini-book) would be great, if such can be swung.

  42. Ray said on

    Heh. Silly me. I saw that Permalink field when reading about the release and thought that was a smart place to put it.

    Usability is about Using, isn’t it?

  43. Webdesign Timo said on

    Wow, I can’t wait to get my hand on this baby! The world’s most easy-to-use blog engine redesigned by one of the world’s leading design agencies. What else could you wish for as blogger?

  44. Destry Wion said on

    A longer article (or mini-book) would be great, if such can be swung.

    Sounds good!

    Though in my humblest, I think a meaty article would do the trick in this case. I like the min-book idea and look forward to what comes of the press, but I don’t think you would need 40 pages for this…unless we’re talking about a pocket mini-book. :)

    Seriously, though, you called it a “case study.” That’s the way to go about it, me thinks; a second, academic-like case study with a detailed methods and materials section.

  45. Destry Wion said on

    Oh squirt! The quote is screwed!

  46. Spamboy said on

    Alright, you suckered me in — I just updated to the 2.5 Release Candidate. It’s sharp-looking — actually, the adjective I’m looking for is “crisp” (which I think is the name of the color scheme). Strangely enough, it reminds me of this site’s GUI. But I like it — thanks for the contribution to the WordPress community.

  47. Alabama-SEO-Writer said on

    I can’t wait!! No really…I’ve been checking WordPress.org religiously to get the stable download, and I wish it would just arrive. Pleeeease!

  48. Ed said on

    Nice work.

    I’ve come to rely on WordPress as a quick CMS for many types of sites — even when I just have a few pages. It also makes it easy for an end user to update content without breaking things. This admin update makes the back end of a site far less intimidating to someone updating the content or for a blog writer.

  49. Rehan Ahmed said on

    Wow, this looks really great. I like the custom sizes for thumbnails. As always, very nice work by Happy Cog!

    even if few things will need some retouch in next release i love it 100%…!

  50. Frederick Townes said on

    This thing is definitely looking really sharp!

  51. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    And WordPress 2.5 final release is now out, and available for your downloading pleasure.

  52. Talker said on

    Hi To All,
    Had WP 2.3.3 and finally got into the swing of it. Have eight blogs in one data base that needed to be changed from Blogger reference to WordPress. With all the comments made about ver 2.5, felt it was OK to switch over.Long story short, “wrong move” on my part. The “manage posts and pages”, is for me a nightmare Much easier to remove a speck from ones eye with boxing gloves on. Not to say ver 2.5 isnt headed for stardom, just that the most useful function to me, is no longer there, to cope with my needs. If the ver 2.3.3 style of managing posts and pages returns to ver 2.5, will stay with it. For now am needing to find out how to return to ver 2.3.3, as I’m way behind on doing my blog maintenace updating. Is there a simple way to revert back to ver 2.3.3 ?

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