Old versus new, is modernising causing things to be left by the wayside?

Modernising a man hole cover
© Scott Robinson, Modernized, via Flickr

Today’s world is always in a state of flux. Everything seems to be going through a phrase of modernising.

In fact, not much stays the same (except how to bake a Victoria sponge).

But since I have reached the heady heights of being classified as mature, I find it gets harder to accept change whenever it happens.

Constant drive for change

Everything we buy or use in the digital world has a very short innovative life before it is taken over and surpassed by a “newer, more modern version”.

I remember the hee-haw that happened when Windows 8 was first released. It was so different! All the usual features people were used to had either been displaced, disappeared or rendered obsolete.

And it took full advantage of touch screens, with a different way of navigating around the screen to find what you wanted.

Youngsters took to this modernising stuff like a duck to water. They were soon whizzing around the system as if they had always had it. Just like my daughter did with my new mobile phone: I was scratching my head wondering how to get into it, when she said “Give it here” and started using it straight away.

Do things need modernising?

WordPress modernised its layout some time ago. That was fine, I could cope with that. But it also modernised how WordPress.com was presented and used.

And up until now I have resisted looking at it. I have actively bypassed it by going to the old Dashboard and continuing as before.

But the other day someone asked a question and before I answered it, I thought I’d better check the solution was still valid.

And it wasn’t! I can tell you I was excessively annoyed!

WordPress had changed it. It’s constant process of modernising meant I couldn’t access this information the way I previously had, even only a few months before.

Unfortunately I could see why. It was a way of getting WordPress.com users to pay money.

WordPress.com is free to use. But if you want to have some extras to make your blog perform better, there are a number of upgrades available. And in the past these were beautifully laid out in grid formation in “Store” situated under the Dashboard link in the old Dashboard left sidebar.

Showing location of Store

But now these features have been hidden way from prying eyes. It looks like you have to upgrade your blog if you want to enjoy what was so freely available before, even if you had to pay for it.

But how is the ordinary mortal blogger who wants to happily modernise his blog going to know what’s on offer if it’s hidden behind this?

WordPress upgrade options

And clicking on the “Learn more” links doesn’t help either.

In the end I had to Google the services what I wanted to find (and this relied on me remembering what they were). Is that an efficient method of modernising? Is there a list of options hidden away that I have yet to find? (Answers in the comment box below please.)

So what else bothers me

The older you get, the crustier you become. I knew I had to tackle the “beep beep boop” at some point:

Beep Beep Boop

Obviously fancy software needs to have something to keep the troops entertained while the cogs grind away in the background.

As I said earlier, WordPress.com has developed a new way of presenting itself. In fact it seems it is constantly modernising how it presents itself.

Whenever you log into WordPress.com, you’re automatically placed within the Reader, and you have to manually click to get to your blogs:

My Sites and Reader

Which is fine. But then you’re directed directly to the Stats rather than the Dashboard, where you can see a newly laid out features menu on the left sidebar:

Presented with Stats

Please don’t look too closely at my stats. I only use this blog for example purposes.

And, of course, what I do is immediately click on the “WP Admin” link (above the “Stats” link) to go directly to the old Dashboard I know and love:

Old Dashboard

Which I’m sure you’re familiar with if you use WordPress.org.

But why has WordPress taken the trouble to redo how they present their editing options? Over the coming weeks I will be comparing the differences between the new and old methods of using a WordPress.com blog on my Beginner Bloggers blog.

These will be in an educational format, to instruct beginners how to cope with the two systems, and allowing them to choose the one they are most comfortable with.

It would be lovely to get some feedback, especially to see which age bracket prefers which layout, in the comments below each post, or in conversations on social media.

And if anyone knows if WordPress will eventually abandon the old Dashboard, it would be very useful if I could be well prepared in advance!

Anyhow, what is this “beep beep boop”?

You’ll have to read my other posts to find out!

Is there anything else?

Yes, since I’m still in my complaining mood. Why has WordPress hidden the link to only sign up for a WordPress account rather than create a blog?

It was squirrelled away in a corner before, which I had to carefully point out to my clients.

Because when you go to create an account with WordPress.com, you’re only greeted with this:

Create a WordPress.com website

Which means you have to create a blog, even if you don’t want one.

I also note during my search that viewers to a private blog need to have a WordPress account. Surely they should be able to set this up without having a blog as well?

I suppose WordPress assume that the only time people would need a WordPress account without a blog is when they need to activate plugins like Akismet and JetPack. And therefore offer a method of doing so during that process.

Grrr, I hate change, especially when it’s unnecessary. The old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” immediately comes to mind. Or is it because WordPress is so blinkered with its focus on modernising, they forget they have missed certain helpful elements that were available the past? A bit like Windows 8…?

What does anyone else think?

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  • I can so relate to your comments about modernizing, Alice! I made myself try the new WP dashboard on several occasions and each time drifted back to the old one. I didn’t think it was about resisting change at all – when a change doesn’t make sense to the user, why accept it? Facebook is very good at that- sneaking in changes that don’t always improve the user experience. Crazy!

    • Thank you Ute. It’s interesting that WordPress.org have not adopted the new version, and thank goodness I say! WordPress have made a lot of changes for the worse lately – perhaps they aren’t listening to their female Happiness Engineers enough…

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