Customizing Django Admin

Peter Baumgartner and Michael Trythall

User Experience

Problems with the Admin as a User Experience tool

  • UI is the gateway to application log
  • Users remember bad experiences, associate them with you and the admin
  • Good experiences - Happy Customers - Profit!
  • No dashboard, statistics, or recent activity
  • no actions or modules highlighted or given priority
  • No assistance/help for beginner users
  • Impact fromc hanges is not always clear
  • Disconnect from external systems.
  • Doesn’t fit mental models
  • Apps are not organized by context
  • little or no navigation outside of breadcrumbs
  • Doesn’t follow workflow

Missing features of the admin tool

  • Content and asset management tools, e.g. WYSIWYG, image manipulation
  • Error recovery (undo)
  • Export/Import with certain tyoes
  • Inline help systems
  • Cross model search

Poor display for complex models

  • Way too many fields on complex models
  • Try to limit your fields

Customizing the Experience


  • js
    • JQuery
    • AJAX
    • Fancy inlines
    • Inject HTML
  • CSS
    • colors
    • layout

Custom templates

(base.html, change_form.html, etc)

Model admin / Model Form hacking

  • list_editable
  • row level permissions


Use a model form and tell the Admin class to use ModelForms. Not well documented - UNNACCEPTABLE!