Support » Plugin: Gutenberg » Good progress so far

  • Good start so far. I could see raising my rating with future releases as it further matures.

    So here’s my review and feedback based on what was an initial 5 minute test followed by turning it on “officially” for a new site I’m building. I’ve written a few posts using Gutenberg since.

    Disclaimer: I’m a UX Designer by day so I’m looking at this from my personal experience with content creation, occasional WP dabbler, along with experience of usability testing non-technical users.

    Also to note, except for a few blog posts I read MONTHS ago introducing this, I jumped into trying it without reading anything recent. I was watching a FB Group thread about the feedback so far (which actually sparked me to give it a trial).

    I like the idea that it’s richer editor. It doesn’t feel up to a full “page builder” level yet, but for my purposes I’m ok with that. I want to build posts that are more formatted than a wall of text (i.e. include call outs, calls to actions, click to tweet, etc).

    The idea of blocks seemed ok, but I suspect there’s a perception that a block would be more at the <div> level than a paragraph. I also realized in further testing I couldn’t create a multi-paragraph callout that’s wrapped in a connected background.

    When I just started writing in the editor, it felt pretty easy to use. I typed away. What I noticed was that I had to think for a second when I wanted to do something with formatting. I couldn’t quite figure out when the toolbar shows up and when it doesn’t. My hypothesis here is that it feels more complicated, but in reality you can actually just type, type type, arrow key, return etc etc. It probably feels like you need to mouse to add paragraph blocks and such, when you really don’t need to.

    My writing approach goes anywhere from writing directly in the editor to copy/paste from an external/cloud app. I didn’t expect it to be easy to copy/paste it and was surprised that it went in fine. Good work there.

    I would suggest putting a “beta” sticker on the editor screen itself. That may help set expectations that this is still a work in progress as opposed to expecting this is closer to done.

    I couldn’t quite figure out what a reusable block did at first. It ultimately worked the way I expected (i.e. reuse a call to action or disclosure text on different posts). I would like to see a centralized place to edit them in the future so that I don’t have to find a post to make tweaks.

    At first I completely missed how to add different types of blocks. I assumed that wasn’t an out-of-the-box feature. The plus icon on the left of the empty block led me to expect that it added another empty block (especially since the hover says add block). Maybe a gear would work better here to indicate it’s a configuration (with updated tool tip).

    I completely missed that the paragraph icon on the toolbar allows you to change the block type. Once I figured that out, it made it easier to switch things to headings without thinking I needed to create an empty block, set it to heading and the paste in the text. I wonder if a gear icon would work better for that button too.

    I like the idea of having the color styling (and also being able to set palettes). I see this as helping with efficiencies to create call outs. Or potentially I’ll eventually create a custom block with external CSS. For things that I’ll infrequently use, the inline css doesn’t bother me much.

    Ok. Let’s talk about permalinks. I completely missed how to edit them. I had to google and read through the entire GitHub thread on the topic. That’s a problem. For anyone that’s paying attention to SEO keyword strategy, the current implementation is a miss. It’s not something I want to hide because it’s easily forgotten. Or give me the option to show it vs hide it.

    The other oddity I noticed is if I customize the SLUG and then edit the title again, the SLUG gets updated with changes appended. In the current editor version I THINK it stays with the custom slug once it’s manually edited. Suggestion: keep the behavior that the custom SLUG stays stuck once it’s manually edited but give a refresh button so that it’s easy to reset it to match the title if needed. I’ve needed both at times, with needing to keep the custom slug as the more common scenario. Again, because it’s optimized for SEO keywords, not just pulling in a hyphen separated text string.

    I stumbled into a weird bug with the title. I had one that was probably two lines long. One of the later saves while I was editing the body text, the title truncated. Completely chopped off some of the words. I haven’t recreated it yet.

    For performance, I’m running an older model MacBook Air. Using Chrome with a few too many tabs open, the fan starts to spin. Part of this is definitely my Air combined with Chrome. Just an FYI.

    A few things I miss that may be on your roadmap but calling them out anyway:
    I also miss being able to configure the sections displayed. For some sites I keep it fairly bare bones and for others I have extra taxonomies want the custom fields vs hide them.
    Custom fields are missing as a section. For my current test site it’s not an issue, but for my other it’s fully dependent on custom fields for the content.
    And speaking of customization, being able to turn on/off block types would be useful. While I can see the need for some of the block types, there’s probably a bunch I wouldn’t use. It would be nice to be able to clean that up based on what I actually need to use.

    To wrap it all up:
    Overall it was better than I expected (given the rumblings I was hearing about 1 star reviews). I also went into testing it as though it’s a beta. When I am writing on auto-pilot in the editor it feels easy to use, like typing in MS Word. But when I need to do something like formatting, it feels like I need to think a little too hard. For some reason that I can’t wrap my head around, it doesn’t come across as an interface you can just type in like MS Word if you stop think about it. So there’s a bit of a learning curve, and some opportunities to improve a few usability issues.

    Good work so far for a beta release.

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  • Plugin Author Tammie Lister


    Thanks for your review and considered reply @cabatint. I am going to try and dig into some of it to reply. Lots of good food for thought, thank you.

    You rightly point out phase one isn’t going to be a full page builder. What would you expect to see in later versions to meet that for you?

    Your point about editing reusable blocks is interesting. What do you have in mind as a centralised place?

    Permalinks wise would having it on publish show be good for you? Then you can edit before publish?

    Hey @karmatosed

    Thanks for the follow-up. I hope it was helpful.

    Having it potentially being page builder would be useful. For my perspective it would be more for landing pages, so that I don’t need another plugin or two. Not a complete deal breaker in my mind for immediate consideration if a page builder and this can be installed at the same time (obviously not used on the same page at the same time).

    For centralized editing, I would expect to see a menu option under posts menu “reusable blocks” or similar. From there you could follow common WP paradigms with a list of the created blocks, click to edit one singularly and then only give the relevant options for the block type. Not sure if block type changing will work or not. I haven’t tried it within the existing interface.

    Editing the permalink on publish makes sense to me. It was actually a thought I had as well. And in that same thought I wonder if it would become useful to put anything else on there worth confirming (i.e. selected categories, tags, etc). Have to find the balance between clutter and usefulness 🙂

    And just to note, I continued working with Gutenberg all weekend. Except for some hiccups with toolbars not always showing up, it’s feeling pretty good. I popped out a few short blog posts.

    Shout if I can help further!!
    – Cara

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