Preview of Upcoming Updates to Pressbooks Admin Interface [February 2023]

Since hiring Michelle Weremczuk last year as our first dedicated UX/UI designer, we’ve been working hard to make the overall Pressbooks experience more user-friendly. You’ve likely already seen the new network catalogs, new user dashboard, improved clone a book page, and new book dashboards we’ve shipped in recent months as part of this ongoing effort.

In case you missed last month’s product update webinar, this post will give you a preview some additional changes to the Pressbooks admin interface that are coming soon. Each of these changes are designed to simplify the sometimes overwhelming experience of administering a Pressbooks network and make it easier for network managers to perform common tasks. Most of the changes described below will only be visible to network managers, though end users will also be affected by the changes we’re making to the top nav bar.

New Admin Dashboard

First, when network managers log into Pressbooks, they will see a totally redesigned network administrator dashboard. This redesign was based on interviews and conversations with several network administrators and is designed to help users with this role to more quickly and efficiently perform their most important duties and responsibilities.

What the redesign looks like



What’s changing:

As the screenshots above show, the new dashboard presents:

  • a block featuring the network title
  • a block displaying book & user count and a link to explore network stats in greater depth
  • a block with direct links to the most commonly performed homepage related tasks
  • a block with direct links to the most commonly performed network administration tasks
  • a block with support resources designed specifically for network admins

Simplified admin menus

Over the course of our interviews with network managers, we heard over and over that having multiple dashboards which controlled different parts of the network was confusing and sometimes frustrating, especially when the network root site’s navigation menu so closely resembled the nav menu for individual books on the site. To reduce this confusion, we are combining all of the important links used by network managers into a single ‘Administer Network’ menu.

What the redesign looks like

Before (two separate admin menus):



What’s changing

Rather than presenting two separate nav menus for the network and the root site, network managers will see a single consolidated menu which includes links for everything they need to configure and administer their network. This nav menu will include seven clear headings:

  • Dashboard
  • Books
  • Users
  • Appearance
  • Pages
  • Settings
  • Stats

Redesigned top-level nav bar

Finally, we wanted to reduce confusion as users navigated the various top nav-bar options and make creating books and adding users easier to perform no matter where a user was in the admin interface.

What the redesign looks like:

Top-level nav bar for Network Admins Before:

Top-level nav bar for Network Admins After:

Top-level nav bar for regular end users Before:

Top-level nav bar for regular end users After:

What’s Changing:

  • The ‘Administer Network’ menu will include the same top-level links as are displayed in the redesigned side nav.
  • The ‘My Books’ menu has been simplified so that it simply presents a list of all the books a given user has been added to.
  • We’ve made buttons, icons, and test larger and more legible to all users.
  • We’ve added new ‘Create book’ and ‘Clone book’ buttons which will be visible across the admin interface for all users who have permission to create or clone books on that network.
  • We’ve added a new ‘Add users’ button which will be visible across the admin interface for network managers only. Clicking this button will take network managers to a new ‘add users’ page which will allow them to add multiple users to their network at once by providing a list of email addresses. Note: Book administrators will continue to have the ability to add users to their book(s) from the book dashboard (see Users – Pressbooks User Guide).

We are currently putting the finishing touches on these changes and expect to have them fully tested and ready for release near the beginning of March, along with updates to our official guides & documentation.

If you’d like to see and discuss these and other updates to Pressbooks on a regular basis, please consider attending our monthly product update webinar series. These webinars are held in Zoom from 2-3pm ET on the last Thursday of every month, unless otherwise noted. The agenda and Zoom link can be found at Pressbooks Product Update Agendas and recordings from past webinars can be found at Pressbooks Product Update Webinars - YouTube.

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The changes described here were included in our latest version of Pressbooks (6.9.0) and have been deployed to all the enterprise networks we host.