It depends on the users. In my experience, users want to find their contents with one click and they are afraid, if they accidentally click into some settings. So I give them two accounts. One with admin rights and one with author rights. Authors have a clean ui and they aren’t allowed to create new collections etc. So they have the ability to explore everything, but they should never login as admin, if they don’t have to.
You can use the constant
COCKPIT_ENV_ROOT to switch between custom dev and production setups.
I wrote the addon DashboardGrid. You can move unwanted widgets to the trash area to hide them and you can create your own widgets to give your users a cleaner starting point.
My addon rljUtils has a DarkMode theme. It needs some fine tuning with contrasts and it uses dirty
!important css to overwrite defaults, but it could be a base for creating a simple new theme.
If you want to change the logo, have a look at my WhiteLabel addon.