The WordPress admin has not had a major visual overhaul since 2.7, and its age is starting to show. In a rapidly changing web environment where users are starting to expect good design, we need to make sure that our aesthetics match — better yet, exceed — their high expectations.
MP6 is a movement towards modernity. It is an exploration into the infinite possibilities that exist for improvement within our existing framework. It is a tenderly crafted visual update to the admin that we all know and love. MP6 is the future.
What problems are we trying to solve?
The current wp-admin has:
- An outdated visual appearance
- Outdated technology
- Low contrast
- Suboptimal readability
We've solved these problems with the following:
- Open Sans — a font as free as we are.
- Cleaner styles — goodbye decoration, hello simplicity. Affordances still welcome.
- Let it breathe — increased spacing between elements, which allow for better overall hierarchy and whitespace to guide the eye
Improved contrast and readibility
- Higher contrast dark default color scheme — great for eyes of all ages
- Lower contrast light default color scheme — helpful for those with dyslexia and sensitivity to light
- Refined typography — larger font sizes, crafted with better readability in mind
- Vector icons — beautiful and crisp at any resolution
- CSS effects instead of images — cleaner, faster, and more flexible
- Over 50% of American adults own smartphones
- 20% of people worldwide own a smartphone
- 1/17 people worldwide own a tablet
- It all started with icons. Creating new, flat, vector icons for wp-admin was the breath of fresh air that revealed a stale admin.
- Flattening wp-admin to match our new new icons revealed an inherent lack of constrast with our current styles that required us to step back and re-evaluate how to improve and modernize wp-admin.
- Since its inception, MP6 has gone through multiple stylistic iterations before landing on our "final" MP6 styles.
While we haven't explicitly user tested this new skin, it's been running on WordPress.com for months with minimal issues. The same old WordPress admin functionality is still there, just with a fresh coat of paint.