NAV: Constraints

Disclaimer: In this series of posts, I’ll explore possible improvements to the navigation that is shared across WP Core and My goal with these posts is not to lobby for any specific direction. My hope is that some helpful insights can at least be gleaned by following a standard design process and by exploring multiple disparate design options.

In this first post I’ll attempt to outline all of the various constraints that exist, that should be considered as we explore alternate nav designs:

Must Haves

  • Backwards compatible
  • Accessible (keyboard, screen readers)
  • Responsive
  • Extensible by plugins
  • Clear information hierarchy
  • Respects roles
  • Internationalization (Works well with with translations and RTL)
  • Easy to tell where you are at a glance
  • Works well with complex plugins (Woo, JP, Yoast, etc…)
  • Works well with lots of plugins
  • Works well on
  • Works well with Jetpack Cloud
  • Nav feels consistent on every screen
  • Clear, inherent WP branding
  • Help link available on every screen
  • Easy way to visit my site from admin
  • Works well with block editor

Nice to haves

  • A sense of familiarity for folks who are already used to WordPress
  • Contextually consistent motion/animation/transitions
  • Not too many links shown at once
  • Takes up minimal screen real estate – giving page content as much space (particularly width) as possible
  • Clear demarcation between global top level links and site specific links
  • Retain ability to use admin color schemes
  • Maintain some sort of helpful navigation bar on your public facing site
  • Magical little details sprinkled in


What am I missing in my list? Do I have anything mislabelled between nice to haves and must haves?

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