#WordPress dumbed down for mobile phones

meekathara furiousI tried to show a friend some tips and tricks for her new WordPress.com blog site yesterday.

Imagine my confusion when I realised that her version of WordPress.com does NOT have the WP-Admin button! This is what it looks like on my blog:


Clicking the WP Admin button takes me to the original WP Dashboard, which looks like this:



I cut a bit of the screenshot out in the middle so you could see it more clearly. Click the image to see it in full size.

This old Dashboard is quite powerful and great for serious bloggers who, like me, have literally hundreds if not thousands of blog posts to manage. I admit that it might be a bit daunting for the casual blogger. I also admit that the new WordPress interface may be easier to learn/use for the casual blogger, but so far, every time I’ve tried to use it, I’ve just been frustrated by how awkward and clunky the whole thing is. And slow, let’s not forget slow. As a fairly seriously blogger, I find the new-ish interface a poor tool. But horses for courses, right?

Wrong. Apparently, I still have WP Admin because I’ve been a blogger on WordPress since 2011. New bloggers are not so lucky, they don’t get a choice at all, and I fear that in time, us old guard bloggers will end up with no choice as well.

But why dumb WordPress down so badly?

In search of answers I went to Papa Google and found this:


Again, click on the image to see it at full size.

The screenshot was taken from a WordPress forum dating back to late [November?] 2015. The thread is about WP users complaining about losing the link to the old Dashboard [via WP Admin]. A couple of European Moderators have chimed in as well, complaining about not being notified of such a serious change by WordPress, and hence not being able to help their forum members.

The thing I found most interesting on this forum was the comment by an actual WordPress staff member – supernovia – who says, and I quote:

If it helps, all of the mobile apps have been like the newer admin area for a while now,
and as we transition WordPress.com to make everything more consistent, having two different interfaces was confusing new users.

And right there – ‘the mobile apps’ – is the nub of the problem. WordPress doesn’t want to maintain two separate interfaces – one for mobile apps and one for pc’s – so the interface for the pc is being dumbed down as much as possible to save development costs.

Lots of large developers have done the same thing – remember Windows 8, the OS that was meant to bridge the gap between mobile phones, tablets and pc’s? All seem to have missed the most basic point about demographics – app users don’t work on their mobile phones. People who work still use pc’s because pc’s are still a million times more powerful and convenient to use than something which can only be used by your bloody thumbs.

The corporate world doesn’t like the dumbed down, mobile version of programmes because they are not cost efficient for the user. Many of us on WordPress run what amounts to a small business via our blogs. Something designed to work efficiently as a mobile phone app will NOT allow us to work more efficiently at home, in front of a nice LARGE screen with a full-sized keyboard.

Don’t believe that the new interface is weaker and less efficient? Here’s proof. Just before starting this post, I ran an experiment using both the old Dashboard search function and the new interface search function.

The result? Dashboard 1, new interface 0. The new interface search function failed. Completely.

What did I search for?

I was searching for a draft post on making scones. This is the original post title:

Lois’ Soda Water #Scones

I typed ‘scone’ into the old Dashboard search function and it found:


This is a ‘closest match’ which found the post I was looking for.

Then, I tried to find the new interface search function. This is what it looks like:


Before you can type in any search words, you have to click the magnifying icon…excuse me? The standard for most programmes is to type the search words into the search box and /then/ click the magnifying glass to carry out the search. I guess the WordPress devs wanted to be…different.

Then, having finally found out how to actually do a search, this is what happened:


The one nice thing about the new search function is that it searches as you type so it begins displaying possible search results before you even finish typing. Or in my case, not.

Clearly the new interface search function is set for exact matches only – remember the title of my blog post is Lois’ Soda Water #Scones. The hashtag threw the search engine off completely.

Now, in the real world, I have 996 blog posts, including close to 100 drafts. I often link back to previous posts when I write new posts. After 4 years, I very rarely remember the exact title of any of my posts. That means a ‘closest match’ is VITAL. For me, the new search function is next to useless.

So, will WordPress see reason and give serious bloggers back the tools they need to work efficiently? Or are we going to have to live with this dumbed down, mobile phone app?

Sadly, I think we’ll have to live with a poor interface until someone, somewhere, realises that you can’t do real work with just your thumbs.

Unhappy, WordPress.


About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

32 responses to “#WordPress dumbed down for mobile phones

  • HonieBriggs

    We have more to say than the average app user. Opposable thumbs aren’t the be all end all for bloggers like us, Meeks. Excellent post and great examples. Tweakers! 🙄


  • Scottie

    I don’t use the wordpress app on either the Iphone or Ipad. I prefer going directly to my blog through my browser. On both devices I can switch from the mobile version to the desktop version. Will the admin button come back if you don’t use the app? Thanks for the info, I had no idea they are changing wordpress. Like you I blog a lot. I have thousands of posts. I pay a rather large amount to have the storage space and other things I like to have my way. I hope they don’t change it too much as I am getting slow at learning new things 🙂 Hugs


    • acflory

      We’re losing power for about 9 hours today so they can upgrade the electricity lines. I’m going to give the mobile app a try. I actually hope it’s halfway decent, but I expect the functionality will be severely reduced. I suspect you still have the ‘older’ version of WP as well Scottie. Let’s hope we get to keep it.
      For me, the problem is not that WordPress have a mobile app or that they want to keep up with everyone else in the rush to apps. It’s that a

      Liked by 1 person

  • The Pink Agendist, née Mr. Merveilleux

    It seems there are a whole lot of people in the tech world trying to justify their salaries by constantly changing things and calling them *improvements*. Now if you search for anything on Ebay France, it’ll give you worldwide results using automatic translations. So if you want only French or EU results you have to scroll down (every search) and select where you want results from. The automatic translation also means results are rarely what you’re actually looking for. Search for “table desserte” (dessert table) the first 10 pages of results are mostly electronics because not only was there an automatic translation but their new search function also approximates spelling. So you then have to break down the results by narrowing down category, place of origin etc. So now searching takes much longer and is much more complicated than it used to be.


  • George

    I think blogger is trying to do something like that, they changed/rearranged some stuff in the panel that looks ok in 10″ tablets but not on a desktop. At least they didn’t remove buttons, they did that some time ago 😀


  • chrisjames282

    Great post, Meeks 🙂 Suddenly I’m not so upset I lost my WP blog a few weeks ago. I loathe loathe loathe working without a keyboard, mainly because I have normal size thumbs but this world is designed by, built for, and full of, pygmies with little fingers that can tap at ludicrously small icons on a screen… *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

  • DawnGillDesigns

    I just tried to take a screen shot to share (morning, by the way 😉) i have an admin, but only downloaded WP to my phone earlier this year. I wonder if this is also another android/apple thing? (android all the way for me)


    • acflory

      I have to confess I use my mobile phone only for the most basic of things – calls, SMS, photos and emergency notifications re bushfires etc. Data costs so much here that I have no idea how so many Aussies stay permanently connected to their phones. 😦 And I’m android as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  • anne54

    I’m there on the barricade with you Meeks! I have to rely on the iPad, and the app, for blogging while I am away, and it is not the same. I have way less control, and I hate the way I can’t see the photos until I preview. My laptop is far more preferable, but I can see that the trend is towards mobile posting.
    I wonder, and here I am definitely wondering aloud, whether WP is catering more towards bloggers who use their blogs for business, driving readers to other sites, reblogging etc, rather than more old fashioned type bloggers like us and our readers?


  • Frank Prem

    I had a heck of a lot of trouble finding this thing called Admin when I started.

    I use it all the time and now have short cuts plastered all over the place to make sure I don’t lost track of it and forget where to find it and such.

    It was very confusing.




  • davidprosser

    Very frustraaating.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx


  • metan

    I notice that this is in the support forum right now…. https://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/where-on-earth-has-the-admin-version-of-the-site-gone?replies=2

    I’ve noticed the forum has had a myriad of complains about that since the change, doesn’t seem like they’ll be changing it back any time soon. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      ‘add “/wp-admin” to the end of your WordPress.com domain name to access the dashboard.’ Yes! I saw this on the other forum too. It’s a workaround for newer user but it must be a pain in the ahem.
      I was thinking about updating Meeka’s Mind after 4 years but now I’m worried I’ll lose WP Admin if I do. 😦


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