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Does WordPress Need a Notification Center? We Think So, How About You?

WordPress allow plugin and theme authors to display notices in the admin area to keep users informed about new features and updates. However at the speed WordPress ecosystem is growing, the admin notices can get out of control.

Updating your plugins and seeing half your screen covered with admin notices is extremely annoying.

Notifications in the admin area of a WordPress site

However, it’s even more frustrating as plugin authors because we’re the ones that get blamed for it.

Then of course there are plugins who misuse admin notices for promotional purposes. Some that you can’t even close. After seeing Jeff’s article on WPTavern and reading some of the comments, we felt compelled to write about this topic and offer a suggestion that can possibly fix the problem.

If you think admin notices are getting out of control, then you should know that it’s only going to get worst (unless something is done about it).

Currently there 44,000+ WordPress plugins in the official plugin directory. Not including thousands that are hosted on Github or commercial WordPress plugins.

As more developers enter the WordPress ecosystem and new plugins are created, you can imagine that there will be a time when you update 5 plugins and see 5 different admin notices.

So what’s the solution?

A centralized Notification Center.

You see, when we converted OptinMonster from a WordPress plugin into a software as a service (SaaS app), one of the first things we built was a notification center to keep our users notified of new changes.

OptinMonster Notification Center

This was very well received by our audience. Users can mark a notice as read and they can always go back to read previous notices. It’s unobtrusive and serves its purpose well. Those who want to stay updated read the notification, others can ignore it by marking it as read.

At Awesome Motive, we have had several internal discussions about building our own notification system for our suite of WordPress plugins.

But that’s not feasible considering we have so many plugins. If we ever have to update a potential bug in the notification center, then we would have to simultaneously update all our plugins.

A better solution would be if a notification center was added into WordPress core, and there was a standardized way that all developers would follow.

There’s a nice proof of concept available in the form of a WordPress plugin that Barry Kooij created called WP Notification Center (we wrote about it here).

WordPress Notification Center

Currently that plugin doesn’t have the option to dismiss the notification or read the full details. But it’s a great start to solving this problem.

How many of you would like to see a notification center built into WordPress core?

Let us know your thoughts by leaving your comments below.

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Reader Interactions

29 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Could’t agree more. It will look much much much better. The old way of notification is so annoying me.

  2. Great idea! Love to be able to use the whole screen, instead of one filled with notices of plugins that reappear on every new load.

  3. WordPress needs an admin setting to disable admin_notices from selected plugins and themes.

    Theme notices to install plugins, that I will never install, are most annoying.

    Best wishes,
    Mitchell

  4. Great idea. Code it up and submit it to the team. This is an open development system, isn’t it?

  5. So what is the notification system where we get WP.com/jetpack alerts. Is that not something that developers can tie into and just start using?

    It would be great to have ALL of those notifications in one long list (updates, plugins, themes, blog/site activity, etc).

    Whatever option is done, I hope if it’s built into core, that it will have an option to email us as well as making the notification show in the dashboard/bar/wherever.

  6. Really good idea.I was thinking about it yesterday that why no one has made a good plugin to control Notications.

    Finally thanks to you

  7. That would be a welcome addition, for sure. All these admin notices coming into the home admin screen and some staying with you throughout each page is certainly annoying and this is something WordPress should address as soon as they can roll it into an update. So many people are talking about it now, that it’s getting to a tipping point, for sure.

  8. Absolutely, I actually tweeted that Barry’s plugin should be in WP core a few months ago. The notification center plugin needs a lot of work (it doesn’t support all plugins, and doesn’t always work properly) but it is definitely needed.

    • I agree. Pushed out an update today to catch more notifications. Need to think on how to work on dismissing notifications because WordPress plugins add them in code, without DB storage or a unique identifier per notification. The joy :)

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