How to: Navigate the new Tumblr dashboard

How to: Navigate the new Tumblr dashboard

Recently, the popular microblogging site Tumblr drastically changed the interface of the dashboard. Arguably the most important aspect of a user’s Tumblr experience, the dashboard is where you can view posts published from other blogs you follow. It also used to be the main way to view your messages, see how many followers you had and more. Technically it still is, but things have changed!

Here are some of the features Tumblr’s new dashboard is sporting, as well as helpful hints about where to find old favorites.

Where’d the blog stats go?

After Tumblr implemented the new interface changes, posts with thousands of panicky reblog notes appeared, with people discussing the difference, not only in appearance but in usability. Prior to the change, blog stats were simply noted on the right hand side of your dashboard. After the change, these stats seemingly disappeared, leaving only users’ tracked tags on the right sidebar in their wake.

To access your stats, scroll up to the top of your page and click the link directly to the right of the “Dashboard” link. This should be the name of your main blog. This link will take you to your blog-specific dashboard. Not only will you be able to view how many followers you have and access a list of them, but you’ll also be able to see how many messages you’ve been sent, as well as how many posts you have in your queue and drafts folders.

Accessing your sub-blogs just got a little easier

If you want to view the same stats on any sub-blogs, Tumblr’s created a link just for that. Immediately to the right of your main blog title on the top of your dashboard is an image of a bullet list. Click on that and a neat little drop-down menu will appear, listing all of the other blogs you run. Just choose which blog stats you’d like to view, click on the link and you’ll be taken to a page with stats specific to that particular blog.

Send messages privately via your inbox

One of the major complaints Tumblr users had after the new dashboard implementation was that their main screen no longer notified them when they received new messages. Tumblr’s response was to create an inbox that houses messages from all of your blogs in one convenient location. Much like when there are new posts to be viewed on your dashboard, an orange notification bubble will appear above the envelope icon whenever you receive a new message, no matter which of your blogs you happen to receive it on.

In addition, you have the option to either publish your message publicly on the blog where the question was originally asked or answer it privately. Note that this works as a one-time only form of makeshift email. If the original sender wants to reply, they’ll have to return to your ask box and submit another response, as opposed to being able to reply directly to the private message you just sent.

Change your blog name and avatar

Changing your blog name and avatar are simple tasks with the new-look Tumblr, once you figure out where to do them! Simply click on the name of your blog at the top of your dashboard. Once there, click the large green “Settings” button on the right sidebar. The top two options in your settings let you upload a portrait photo and change the URL of your blog respectively.

Overall impressions

By changing the interface, Tumblr seems to have been attempting to create a stronger feel of organization and cohesion for loyal users. The problem is that they’ve also added a bit of complication for newer users who might have already felt overwhelmed  learning how to navigate and post on Tumblr.

While the inbox notifier was a clever way of getting around user complaints that they’d never know when they received a new message, lumping messages from all of your blogs into one space can easily lead to confusion. More than once I’ve received a message I thought was directed at my main blog, only to publish it and discover it had been posed on a sub-blog. In addition, the private messaging option, while useful, is a little lacking, because you can only respond privately one time per message received. Tumblr has also removed the ability to add responses to messages into your queue, meaning you either have to reply privately or publish it the moment you want the response updated to your blog. For community blog accounts with multiple moderators answering questions, this makes it impossible for blog owners to easily collaborate when replying.

Overall, users will get used to the dashboard changes with time. Tumblr truly does seem to be a company that strives to improve user experience, both with attempts at layout improvements and collaborations with other companies to provide more content-sharing options. As the company continues to grow, only time will tell if the developers are able to keep adding innovative features while adequately addressing user concerns in a way that’s both satisfactory and effective.

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