Why is the Admin area so busy?
The obvious reason Zen Cart admin exists is so that storeowners have a web interface to order processing and stock management.
A somewhat less obvious reason is to permit some configuration actions to be done via an admin panel.
Plugin authors sometimes take shortcuts and advise users to modify this file or that one to tune the behavior of a plugin. Zen Cart deliberately extracted some of those customization choices and put them into an admin panel, so that storeowners can do this by themselves and not need to depend on a developer.
This is a tricky balance! Many of the same people who complain that the admin has too many menus and options will also complain that there’s no admin switch for the option they want.
Every setting in the admin is an aspect you can change in your store without needing to modify code. Zen Cart is designed to be storeowner-friendly in the sense that you can customize your cart without being a software developer.
Although Storeowners with Superuser accounts have to live with a large admin panel, accounts for staff can be constrained to only show relevant menus.
See Admin Profiles for information on using this feature.