WP Swift Control Review: A User-Friendly WordPress Toolbar Alternative
If you build client sites for a living, you should always be on the lookout for tools to help you create a better experience for your clients. Sure – delivering a great-looking site is important, but you also want to make it easy for your clients to use that site going forward.
Or, if you work on a lot of WordPress sites, you might be interested in a way to make your experience better, too!
In our WP Swift Control review, we’ll be looking at a tool to help your clients, or just you or logged-in users at your site, have a better experience.
In a nutshell, WP Swift Control lets you add a sticky front-end menu that lets logged-in users access key areas of the WordPress dashboard. Here’s an example of what it looks like…
It starts as a compressed gear icon. Then, when visitors click to expand it, they can see a customizable list of dashboard options:
You can think of it kind of like a more user-friendly version of the WordPress toolbar.
In this post, we’ll share a little bit more about what you can do with both the free and premium versions of this plugin. Then, we’ll take you hands-on and show you how it works.
WP Swift Control Review: The Feature List
WP Swift Control comes in both a free version at WordPress.org and a premium version with additional functionality.
With the free version, you can add the following selection of widgets to the control panel:
- Edit [post] or [page] or [post type] (depending on the post type a person is looking at)
- Open WordPress Customizer
- Create new post or page
- Access themes list
- Access plugins list
For each item, you can:
- Change the text
- Choose whether or not to open the page in a new tab
- Choose the icon from FontAwesome
You also get a few color choices for things like the background, accent, icon color, etc, as well as an option to remove the native WordPress toolbar.
So that’s all available for free…
Then, if you upgrade to the Pro version, you get new features like:
- Custom widgets/controls – take people to any internal or external link.
- Page builder support – automatically detects if a piece of content was created using a page builder and will launch the interface when you click to edit. Works with Elementor, Brizy, Divi, or Beaver Builder.
- Custom post types – automatically creates a widget for you to add any publicly available post type. It adds an „Add Post-Type“ widget for each post type that’s available. Let’s say you have a post type registered that’s called Documentation. Swift Control will have a widget ready for you called „Add Documentation“.
- WooCommerce support – easily add and edit products from the control bar.
- New sign-out widget – add a widget to let people sign out of their account control bar.
Hands-On With WP Swift Control
WP Swift Control is pretty easy to use, so it doesn’t require much explanation. But let’s go through how it works.
For reference, I have the Pro version installed, but the basic interface is the same between both versions.
To set up your control panel, you go to Settings → Swift Control.
There, you’ll get a drag-and-drop interface where you can arrange the widgets in your control panel. If you want to add a new widget from the list of available widgets, all you do is drag it over:
With the Pro version, you can also click the plus icon to add a custom widget that links to any internal or external page:
When you edit a widget, you’ll be able to change its text, icon, and whether or not to open it in a new tab when clicked:
Further down, you can change the colors for five different parts of the control panel:
And you also get some miscellaneous settings that let you:
- Hide the native WordPress toolbar from the front-end to avoid duplicating functionality.
- Skip loading FontAwesome if your theme or another plugin is already loading it.
- Clear the plugin data when you uninstall it.
And…that’s pretty much it! I told you it was easy to use.
How WP Swift Control Works on the Front-End
As you saw in the intro, it displays as a single gear icon on the front-end that, when clicked, expands to show the full list of widgets that you configured.
These widgets will dynamically adjust when needed. For example, if you’re viewing a post, the edit widget will say “Edit Post” (or whatever text you chose) while it would say “Edit Page” if you’re viewing a page:
WP Swift Control vs the WordPress Toolbar
Obviously, there’s a lot of overlap between what WP Swift Control does and what the built-in WordPress toolbar does.
So why would you choose WP Swift Control over the WordPress toolbar? Well, it’s certainly not a night-and-day difference, and it’s not like it’s going to completely change your dashboard experience. However, I think WP Swift Control does offer some perks over the WordPress toolbar.
First, it’s just plain more user-friendly, especially if you’re using it on client sites or to help non-technical users. WP Swift Control has big text and icons that make it easy to find what you’re looking for.
It also cuts out the extraneous stuff. For example, there’s no WordPress logo (when has anyone ever clicked that?) and you don’t have to worry about plugins adding their own toolbar options and cluttering things up.
It also takes up less space because it’s compressed by default. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the omnipresent nature of the toolbar, so I like the more compressed look of WP Swift Control. I even wrote an article on how to hide the WordPress toolbar because I’m not a fan.
Finally, it’s also super easy to customize. While there are certainly plugins that let you customize the WordPress toolbar, I haven’t come across one that’s as dead simple as WP Swift Control.
I guess if I had to summarise it, I would say that WP Swift Control just makes you or your client’s WordPress experience a little bit more pleasant. And if you’re using WordPress a lot, that can add up over time.
Features I’d Love to See
WP Swift Control is pretty much brand new, so I’m sure there’s more in the works. Some features that I would love to see, though, are:
- User role control – I think there are situations where it could be helpful to display different options based on a user’s role.
Import/export – having a quick import/export option would be great so that you could just quickly import all the settings on a client site and not have to worry about configuring anything.I have just been told that this feature will be coming today or tomorrow.
WP Swift Control Pricing
You can try out the free version of WP Swift Control at WordPress.org.
Then, if you want to go Pro, you have two options, both of which let you use the plugin on unlimited sites:
- One year of support and updates – $78. You also get a 20% renewal discount.
- Lifetime support and updates – $248
For a limited time, you can also take advantage of special launch pricing to save on those prices.
Final Thoughts on WP Swift Control
WP Swift Control is not going to radically change your WordPress experience, but it does make a simple, user-friendly tweak to how you access the WordPress dashboard from the front-end of your site.
If you’re not a fan of the WordPress toolbar, or if you think the WordPress toolbar doesn’t provide the best experience for your clients, WP Swift Control provides an alternative that can help you offer an improved, more customizable user experience.
To learn more, click one of the options below: