My latest at ProfHacker: Through Another’s Eyes: Troubleshooting with User Switching

Two different views of the same objectLast week, I introduced readers to Installatron, a tool that’s very useful for backing up and cloning WordPress installations. This week’s post continues the WordPress thread.

Many of us who use WordPress use it for maintaining a personal website and/or a professional portfolio; we’re the only users registered on our sites.

Others, however, use WordPress for course sites to which they invite students to contribute, or maintain a Multisite installation. They may have a lot of users. Adminsistrators will need to set user roles appropriately, but once that’s done, users can take care of such things as resetting their own password should they forget it. There’s all kinds of good WordPress documentation available online, and those inviting students to contribute to a site generally provide explicit instructions not only about what to contribute, but also how to contribute.

But even when those instructions are well-written and illustrated, things can go wrong. Sometimes, what a user sees in her dashboard doesn’t look like what’s found in the documentation — and, since the administrator has (or should have!) a different role than the user, she may not be able to reproduce the user’s problem.

To troubleshoot the problem for the user, it may be essential for the administrator to be able to see the dashboard as the user sees it. That’s where the User Switching plugin can come in really handy. It lets administrators (and Super Admins for Multisite installs) easily switch to a user’s account (without revealing the user’s password).

I’ve found this plugin invaluable for troubleshooting. On a Multisite installation I run, it let me help a student figure out why her site didn’t look the way she’d intended (she’d created a menu, but not activated it). On another setup, it helped me figure out why a user’s dashboard didn’t look the way it was supposed to (I’d assigned her the wrong user role).

What are your favorite plugins for working effectively with WordPress? Please share in the comments.

[CC-licensed image by Flickr user Blondinrikard Fröberg]

from ProfHacker » Amy CavenderProfHacker – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education

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