I’m staring at it right now.

No big deal. I log in to my blog, and boom! Black menu bar left, lots of links. Menu top, more links. Boxes of information. It’s all familiar.

If you’ve been there before.

The WordPress Dashboard.

But what happens for the very very very first time you log into a WordPress site, maybe one you are given an account on for a shared class site, and you land here:

Hello, Dashboard.

Left to my own, do I know what to do? Where did the pretty site go? What the heck is this?

This came into play on a site I helped set up for Cori’s high school students, also being used by classes of students at two other schools. They are trying to do digitally what they did previously as a pen pal project- sharing and replying to each other’s writing.

We planned a few things, generating student account names that have no personal identifiers, making the site so one needs to be logged in to comment (but public to read, so it can be shared with friends, family). All student submissions are set to be Pending… status until teacher review (and comments moderated too).

Thinking about sending out the account info emails, it occurred to me what happens when someone brand new to WordPress logs in… they go to that darned dashboard. But they log in to use the site, to read other posts, to comment. Why send them always to the dashboard?

So here is a duct tape solution.

This plugin allows me to redirect logins from going into the dashboard to a special landing page (and logouts are redirected to the front of the site). It’s simple, but has buttons set up for the things students will do on the site (it could be changed any time maybe for announcements?)

Simple page with "You've successfully logged in to (name of site). From here you can" buttons for "Write a Post", "Read and Comment"

Only the top link goes in the dashboard.

It’s not a big elegant solution, as it’s not role based, I see this screen when I log in as admin. But I know the way into the dashboard.

Perhaps it’s a small use case, but is the Dashboard always the place logged in users need to land? At least WordPress has hooks into it, like this plugin (there are others), that enable me to build around that.

There are more elegant approaches like Tom does to minimize the dashboard clutter. But I think this will work. We find out this week.

Featured Image: Image by Graham Rowley from Pixabay  modified to place some graphic web site screens out the window, which is maybe where some people really want to focus.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


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