A Simpler Author Dashboard

New Dash

As part of our conclusion to ThirdScribe’s Phase 2, we completed a pretty significant overhaul of the “Author Dashboard”, which controls your author page or website and serves as an author’s Control Center.

The primary reason for doing this is simple: to make things easier for our authors.

Our original dashboard was a standard WordPress set-up. Certainly functional, but it was hard for our users to find some functions, especially ones buried under multiple menu layers. Well, we don’t want anyone to be confused or frustrated when trying to run their website. A core purpose of ThirdScribe is to make it easier for authors, after all.

We put a fair amount of research into it, going through the support tickets to figure out just what people were looking for and what items were the most commonly difficult to find. After that, we put together a test construct and sent it in beta to a few of our authors to see what they thought of it.

They liked it. A lot.

We made a few corrections based on their feedback and then we rolled it out across the network.

What We Changed

The changes made were basic, but effective. Stock WordPress (the core for our system), isn’t a bad system. It powers over 25% of the entire web, after all. But, when plugins and such get brought into the mix, things can get complicated.

Many common functions were buried under confusing headings or myriad sub-levels. Also, as plugins were activated, their menu items were placed across the navigation almost at random. We could understand the difficulties this causes to users less familiar with WordPress or websites in general.

The first thing we did was group common functions together. Statistics, Reader, and a User’s Account were brought up under the Dashboard heading. Content held not only posts and pages, but we also brought out the Categories Manager and Editorial Calendar from the submenus, and brought over Comments, FAQ, and Media Library as well to consolidate those functions.

We added a special area for pure ThirdScribe functions, to give authors quick links to Add Books to the system and access Stories, Service, and the Forums.

Previously, all of the customization options for ThirdScribe author pages and websites were buried in submenus under the Appearance tab — so, we brought all of those forward to make them much easier to access and understand under the Customize heading. Same thing with Tools/Settings and Support.

Our Author Site Storefronts got a huge overhaul as well, allowing much simple and more intuitive access to its setting and control panels.

The result is a simpler, cleaner, and more intuitive website management experience.

ThirdScribe’s mission is to provide authors with real, tangible, meaningful support. And sometimes the best way for us to do that is to get the little things right.

About Rob McClellan

Rob is the founder of ThirdScribe, a unique author services platform and social network. As a naval officer and diver, he spent a majority of his career doing a lot more than you would think with a lot less than you can imagine -- a skill that has proven extremely valuable in the start-up world. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

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