Second Update: now with plugin! – Don’t hit update just yet…WP 3.8 overhauls UI, breaks dashboard widgets.

After getting notified that 3.8 was available, I eagerly ran the update, and then immediately wished I hadn’t. While the UI updates in WP 3.8 definitely hit the goal of “modern interface”, they failed hard at the goal of “displaying existing dashboard widgets correctly”, and pretty much failed responsive design in general.

How? By forcing dynamic columns a la Pinterest and Google+. So, in my 1920×1080 resolution on my main development box, we get this:

crap2

 

Why is that a problem? Because dashboard widgets, especially the kind that contain live data, were built for 50% width, and look like the dog’s bollocks terrible at 25% width (yes, I learned that phrase from a British friend). Behold:

crap

 

If you’re looking at this picture and thinking to yourself, “Wow, that’s really retarded”, well, congratulations, you’re a better dashboard UI designer than the entire WP dev team.

A WP dashboard is not a social media platform. We USE IT FOR THINGS. Turning it into Pinterest was a terrible, terrible idea. I guarantee there are plugin designers right now RACING to see who can get a “control the column count” plugin to market, when that functionality should have been built right into the settings.

WordPress, I am disappoint.

Update: The solution!

WordPress dev Mark Jaquith opened a WordPress Make Trac for the issue, and linked to this solution on StackExchange. Simply add the following to your theme’s functions.php to re-enable column control:

function wpse126301_dashboard_columns() {
    add_screen_option(
        'layout_columns',
        array(
            'max'     => 2,
            'default' => 1
        )
    );
}
add_action( 'admin_head-index.php', 'wpse126301_dashboard_columns' );

Second Update: The easier solution!

We’ve put together a simple to install and use plugin to resolve the issue.