WordPress 2.5 RC1 Widget Interface – I don’t like it

[Update – literally just as I posted this WP 2.5 was officially released.  The widget interface is, I am afraid, unchanged from RC1]

I’m sure people worked very hard designing the new Widget admin interface for WordPress 2.5 – and I really don’t like criticizing someone else’s work.  But I don’t understand the thought process here. 

A perfectly functional (and very simple) interface was completely abandoned in favor of a very busy, very dysfunctional interface.

(click images for larger view)



To the left is the old interface. 

To add a widget to a sidebar you grabbed the widget from the bottom selection and dragged it onto the sidebar you wanted it on. 

You dragged the widgets to the order you preferred. 

And you clicked "Save Changes".  Everything was on one page, in one place.

Simple. Elegant, even


Why did it change?  Especially, why did it change to this:


As you can see, I can’t even view all my widgets without scrolling the screen. 

And I can’t view both Sidebars at once. 


Seriously – you can’t. 

You can’t just drag a widget from Sidebar 2 to Sidebar 1, either.

In fact, it takes three mouse clicks to change from Sidebar 1 to Sidebar 2.

And each widget now consumes a fair amount of screen real-estate in the admin view.  Why?  Just to show the text that tells me a Calendar widget puts a calendar on my blog?  Why not just do that with a tool-tip as I mouse over the widget?



Here’s a suggested new layout:


Note that there are now two columns to display the widgets – less screen scrolling.

Both Sidebars are displayed.  No screen switching.

This would allow you to drag and drop widgets from one Sidebar to the other.

For the most part, the changes I have seen in WordPress 2.5 are nice – and they make sense.

This new interface for managing widgets isn’t in that category.  This is a huge step backwards in usability.

The changes to widget management seem to have done "just because we can" – and they don’t seem to have given much any consideration to the user experience.

But then – this is just a Release Candidate – so things could change before WordPress 2.5 ships.

For the sake and sanity of every WordPress administrator out there, let’s hope this section does change.


  1. @Chikai – I hope you did a backup of your database before you upgraded. The 2.5 database isn’t compatible with pre-2.5 WordPress.

  2. i am thinking of downgrading just because of this sidebar dilemma. tsk!

    Chikais last blog post..Upgrading

  3. Darn, I am not alone in this one!

    I should have resisted to urge to upgrade 😐

  4. @Cynthia Blue – there is no way to move a widget from one sidebar to another. Really! As unbelievable as it is, you have to REMOVE the widget from one sidebar and then ADD it to the other.

    What used to take 5 seconds now take way to may freaking mouse clicks!


  5. I am googling trying to figure out how to move my widgets around in 2.5! It’s not intuitive at all.. and I haven’t found any tutorials about it. Ugh. Could you post about how to move them from sidebar to sidebar? 🙂

    I really don’t like this layout, either. Hrmph.

    Cynthia Blue’s last blog post..Three Browsers and Entrecard

  6. You can follow (and add to) this discussion here: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/164474

    Glad to see I am not the only one having issues with the Widget interface!

  7. @Brad – I looked at hacking it myself. Looks like an ugly chore though.

  8. I quite agree the widget page is really screwed I have been contemplating a hack to put the old widget page back. Half of my custom themes that have worked since 1.6 no longer can bring up the 2.5 widget page at all… I am glad I am not some crazy who jumped in with both feet without testing…

    Brad Hart’s last blog post..CCleaner

  9. I found a concise way to explain why I don’t like the new Sidebar/Widget management interface –

    “It looks like it was designed by someone with, at best, only one sidebar. Or maybe, no sidebar at all.”

  10. @Dan – I saw it on someone else’s blog just this morning. Copy the contents of the WP-Admin folder in the 2.5 release back over to your blog. Fixed it for a friend earlier that way.

    BTW – I would re-download 2.5 before I tried this – just in case you have a corrupted file.


  11. You know what’s even more strange, my ‘Save Changes’ button in the Widget interface is completely missing. I have yet to be able to save anything I do with my widgets. Anyone else experiencing this?

    Dan’s last blog post..I am on wikipedia?

  12. @Kaylyn – I have. Hopefully they make some changes to this area!

  13. Rob, send your suggestion to the WordPress team please!! That is pure craziness! I say this at work all the time. How come no one ever asks the user??

    kaylyn’s last blog post..What are people searching today??