The latest release of WordPress has brought about a significant change in the design and style of the admin dashboard. The updated UI now looks more modern and clean, and it even allows users to change color schemes on a per-user basis. However, despite these design tweaks, there are still limitations on the customization options available to users. There hasn’t been any significant improvement on what can be limited on a per-user or role basis.
Fortunately, there is a plugin that can help users make major changes to their admin area. The WP Admin UI Customize Plugin is a powerful tool that allows users to customize the availability of items on their site’s admin dashboard. With this plugin, site admins can grant complete access to everything on the dashboard, while limiting access for other user roles such as contributors.
Configuring the Plugin
Once installed and activated, the WP Admin UI Customize plugin provides users with a new sidebar menu item that contains various settings for configuration. The first settings page of the plugin allows users to select which user role they wish to apply their settings to. While there is a premium version of the plugin that allows for specific settings for each user role, the free version is sufficient for sites with only a site admin and contributors.
The Site Settings page allows users to dictate various things such as whether the admin bar is shown for the role or whether the user will display the various meta fields used by WordPress. The General Screen Settings page is where decisions about the user role begin to be made. Users can decide whether the role they are customizing is notified when there are updates to be applied, whether they can alter the screen options or view the help tab on any admin page, add information to the footer or load additional CSS files.
The dashboard menu item allows users to hide various items on their dashboard so that this user role has no idea they exist. Hiding these widgets with this plugin removes that option completely. These items include every dashboard widget installed, whether that is the Recent Comments dashboard widget or the WordPress Stats dashboard widget. This is particularly useful when users only wish to grant their contributors access to those specific things they need in order to write content for the website.
The Menu Bar menu settings page allows users to completely alter the admin bar at the top of the screen for this user role. Users can add further menu items to the admin bar to increase its usefulness, move everything around to suit their own personal preferences, or remove any extraneous items if they believe that they aren’t necessary for that user role.
The Side Menu Settings allow users to completely change the sidebar in their WordPress dashboard. These settings allow users to hide menu items on the left-hand menu for this user role. Users could use these settings to remove every item that the user role shouldn’t see or just those that they think will distract them from their specific role.
The Manage Meta Box settings screen allows users to customize various aspects of post creation. This includes hiding various things such as the category, Featured Image, Format, and several other options. Users can also rename each of these areas should they choose.
The WP Admin UI Customize plugin also allows users to modify whether the user role can see any of the Navigation Menu Settings. This is used if users want to force the role to make use of the menus they have already created and ensure that they can’t make any changes to alter the navigation menus of their website.
The final settings menu relates to the Login Page. These settings allow users to make minor changes to the WordPress login page, such as replacing the logo title and image path to overwrite the default WordPress logo. It also allows users to load additional CSS to the page as well as add a footer message to the page.
The WP Admin UI Customize plugin is a useful tool for limiting potential problems contributors can cause. It is worth taking a look at if you have multiple authors and especially for those sites that frequently use guest authors. Ideally, in time, features such as these will be available as part of the core WordPress software. They are extremely useful for managing multi-user websites and would seem like a sensible step for the core development team to take with admin dashboard management.
Overall, the WP Admin UI Customize plugin allows users to completely change the admin dashboard for their WordPress website. Making it a clean experience by hiding a great deal of unnecessary menus and widgets has never been easier. While the free version of the plugin is sufficient for most sites, those with multiple contributors and editors may need to purchase the WP Admin UI Customize Multiple Add-On to have a completely different admin dashboard configuration on a role-by-role basis.