WordPress 3.8 Has Arrived

On schedule, yes. WordPress 3.8 officially released. But this time we are seeing some serious changes to the UI (user interface). Or in other words, 3.8 has received a makeover.

I have been messing around with it since the release of the first beta, and must admit, I am really liking what I see. You may have already seen teasers on what to expect, but just in case you haven’t updated yet, here are some screenshots to share with you.


If you have been using the plugin MP6, this will look very familiar. If not, well, tah-dah! A little less cluttered and some flat design is what we have going on now. Also, on some pages, for example the homepage of your dashboard, you no longer have column choices in the screen options. Why? Because it’s responsive and will adjust to the size of your screen.

WordPress 3.8 dashboard

Color Choices

Yes, with the new design, comes new color combos for your dashboard which you will find in its usual spot… your user profile.

WordPress 3.8 dashboard colors

Widget Area

This is a very nice touch. The widget area has had a makeover as well. If you have experienced having several widget areas, and trying to drag a widget down, down, down to the bottom of the list, you know what a pain it can be. Now this two-column layout solves that. Drag and drop is much easier! ADDED NOTE: There is an alternative method …. click on the widget and select the sidebar you’d like to have it displayed on. Select the sidebar location and click the add widget button. This is a huge improvement, especially for those who use a lot of widgets.

WordPress 3.8 widget area

Theme Management

Now I am not one to encourage you to keep a bunch of themes installed, but if you have a test site or other site where you do, theme management has just gotten better.

You will find your current theme is shown first with all of your other installed themes following in alphabetical order. And the thumbnails are larger, helping you find what you are looking for.

WordPress 3.8 theme management

Just a rollover and click on a theme to open up a description lightbox. The Live Preview and Activate buttons pretty much work the same as before. One other nice feature, once you have opened a theme to preview, you can easily click the arrows to view your other themes.

WordPress 3.8 theme preview

New Default Theme – Twenty-Fourteen

Well, we are seeing something really different this time around. We have come to expect more of a traditional blog layout, but with Twenty-Fourteen, it’s moved to a magazine style theme. Features include: multiple navigation menus, page templates (default, full-width, and an author page), and a variety of post formats (standard, image, gallery, aside, quote, video and audio). Also, there is a tagging system in place where you can quickly feature selected posts on your homepage.

Twenty Fourteen WordPress Default Theme

Mobile Responsive

As I mentioned before, yes, you will find the backend much more mobile responsive. Working in your traditional dashboard is a bit easier this time around.

Well, that’s it. At least from a user standpoint. As always, in the guts and code improvements are always being made. And if I happen to miss any other detail, let me know!

But for now… time to update!


10 Responses to “WordPress 3.8 Has Arrived”

  1. Overall, I like it, but the “Activity” pane is going to take some getting used to. It seems odd putting post management and comments in the same pane. I’m probably not going to be moderating comments and posts at the same time…

    • It is the beginning of a single place to look to see, literally, the activity on your site. You’re able to double-check what posts are about to go live (scheduled posts appear), what recently went up, as well as recent comments.

      It has hooks in place, so plugins can tie into it as well. Hopefully after a few days, it’ll be like second nature :-)

      • My point is that I don’t see the need to have that information all in one spot. Those are activities that aren’t done at the same time. The kitchen and bathroom are important rooms in my house, but that doesn’t mean I want the toilet next to the oven!

        • Yeah I’m okay with it myself. But it’s change and when one gets use to a certain UI, well for some, the other way was better. Like Kraft said I imagine we will all get use to it over time :)

          • I’m sure I’ll get used to it. But I remember a discussion on WPMU about 3.8 when the changes were finalized and the issue of change for the sake of change vs change to move forward. A lot of the changes really move WordPress forward (especially the responsive back end, finally!) but I don’t consider “we’ll eventually get used to it” a valid reason to combine two separate features into one job. Frankly, I’d like there to be more options for panes instead of fewer.

          • Yeah it wasn’t intended as a valid reason :) I think so many people have expressed that there are just too many options in the dashboard. Maybe it’s a route the are taking to simplify and combine. As with any technology, you can’t please everyone :)

  2. Thanks for the great overview. It was nice to check in and see exactly what was new before I update my sites.

  3. Thank you for the very helpful overview, it allowed me to better understand the update. I’m a recent WordPress adopter and I’m enjoying this wonderful platform.

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