WordPress 3.8 update comes with a new admin and default theme

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 12, 2013
Updated • Dec 12, 2013


A new version of the popular blogging software WordPress has just been released, introducing a new admin dashboard theme and the brand new Twenty Fourteen frontend theme.

As you may know, a new default theme is released each year which showcase what WordPress is capable of, and to implement modern design philosophies and web technologies.

The new Twenty Fourteen theme in particular is a responsive magazine style theme that supports two different layouts. You can display articles in grid layout mode, or as a slider on the homepage.

The theme uses a dark background and left sidebar, which may be totally different from what your previous theme uses. You may need to customize the layout and design of the Twenty Fourteen theme because of that if you want to use it on your site.

In addition, it is necessary to assign the featured tag to select posts that you want displayed on the frontend, as you end up with the regular listing of articles sorted in chronological order otherwise.

The new frontend theme is not the only change in WordPress 3.8. If you open the admin dashboard, you will also notice that its design has changed. The sidebar and top toolbar are now displayed in black with white text for example.

wordpress new admin dashboard 3.8

What is interesting about this is that you can change the default color scheme to another one by opening your user profile. Here you can select one of eight color schemes for the dashboard including the default scheme focusing on black and blue colors, but also lighter themes and others.

If you do not like black themes, try the light theme for example to change it easily in the personal options.

According to WordPress, lots of thought went into the new theme. It uses the free Open Sans font, offers cleaner styles, more spacing between elements and larger font sizes right out of the box.

The development team has introduced other changes to the release. You can now click on widgets to add them to a sidebar, make use of a better drag and drop experience or may notice interface improvements depending on your screen resolution.

You can check out all new changes on the official WordPress Codex page.

To update, either download WordPress from the official website, or use the automatic upgrade feature of the blogging software in the admin dashboard instead.

You may want to test the update first before you run it on a live system though. While I did not notice any issues while updating a dozen or so blogs, it does not necessarily mean that you won't notice any as different configurations, plug-ins and themes may cause those.

Happy updating, and let me know how you feel about the new admin dashboard and frontend theme.

Addendum: One of the interesting changes in WordPress 3.8 is a new indicator for comments in moderation. These comments are now highlighted with a colored line so that it is easier to distinguish them from regular comments.

The Activity Feed on the other hand mixes comments with recently published articles and other data.


Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. None said on February 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    I don’t like the black admin area and would like it to be white

  2. Shital Bhalani said on December 17, 2013 at 4:49 am

    When access dashboard with mobile phone, it’s very attracting :)
    Nice for WPdeveloper!

    Shital Bhalani

  3. Alan said on December 15, 2013 at 7:04 pm


    with 3.8 I wanted a way of setting the default colour scheme to ‘midnight’, in case others want to do this I have published the very simple code to do so on my blog here

    I hope it come in useful for someone.

  4. Saionji said on December 13, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Hi, is there any way to change color scheme for all users? The default color scheme is too bad for my site =(

  5. Douglas Hallor said on December 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I like option that you can choose your color combination. WordPress 3.8 look faster, but sometimes I have problem with browser.

  6. Space said on December 13, 2013 at 5:39 am

    After reading this, I will update to 3.8, for dashboard updates :)

  7. Mohiyuddeen said on December 13, 2013 at 5:27 am

    WordPress 3.8 is claimed to be most beautiful update yet! It is relatively faster and has a new look with new themes, widgets and much more. New features of WP 3.8 @ http://techtimes.co/tips-tuts/wordpress-3-8/

  8. Karl J. Gephart said on December 13, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Martin, sounds like you manage about as many WordPress sites as me! Have you ever tried the free InfiniteWP? http://www.drakeintelgroup.com/2013/10/21/infinitewp-wordpress-management/

    1. Mark said on December 16, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      I’ll second Karl’s recommendation of InfiniteWP – I use it to manage half-a-dozen sites at once and it’s a big time saver that does a lot for free.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on December 13, 2013 at 7:36 am

      Karl no I have not, sounds like a great tool though.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.