Support » Plugin: Gutenberg » Seems promising, but needs to be more intuitive

  • I installed Gutenberg 2 days ago and have played with it for quite a while.
    I like how the sidebar context changes with the block that is selected.
    Also, it comes with many formatting options not found with the default editor. For example, changing the background color of a paragraph, column, or block. There are a host of supported embeds too now.
    So good going on that front.

    However, I found it to be terribly unintuitive. I just fail to understand why so many websites, editors and frameworks are trying to copy the minimListic looking edior from
    With Gutenberg too using that approach, I did not have the slightest idea, where one column ended and the other began. because there are no borders or demarcations of any cand until one hovers over a block.
    There is no way to tell whether the text above the image is in 2 columns or just one column.
    Similarly one can’t tell whether the images are placed in 2 different columns or just placed side-by-side inside a single column.
    The point is the layout is not very clear until the user hovers over the elements. And in that case too, just the layout of the section being hovered upon becomes clear; not that of the entire page.
    It would have been more intuitive if the columns/blocks had a demarcation (for example, a border) of some sort.

    Same goes for the settings (duplicate, remove, convert etc) which too appears only on hover. I have not tried using this on mobile, so I can’t even imagine how this would work on small devices as there is no hover there.

    Overall a highly unintuitive UX undermines the potential of this plugin.

    On an unrelated note, I read somewhere that the future releases would focus on making Gutenberg a visual editor. WordPress being open source and having a lot of highly talented people contributing to it, I am sure Gutenberg will soon be a polished visual builder as well. But with the headstart it would get by being installed by default on millions of websites, it would be a serious threat to other visual builders.
    To me, it seems a little unfair to those visual builders.

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  • Plugin Author Tammie Lister


    Thanks for taking the time to experience Gutenberg. Your feedback is interesting, what do you regard as a good example of an interface, not minimalistic? Is there any experience right now that works well for you?

    You are right that Gutenberg does have phases. The next ones are focused on the Customizer and theme side. This will bring a lot more of those ‘building’ experiences within Gutenberg. Right now a lot of site builders are seeing it as a boost, a way to build up from that point, over an end to their market. This is a great way of seeing it and hopefully a way forward as the community works together.

    Tammie, the point I consider most un-intuitive with Gutenberg and other editors like the one on is that their controls appear only on hovering over the designated block/editing area. While this somehow works for other similar editors, it negatively affected my experience of Gutenberg because Gutenberg is much more complex and has a lot many features, settings, and blocks than those minimalistic editors.

    Is there any experience right now that works well for you?

    While many of the page builders rate differently on their UX and intuitiveness, they have an interface that is more intuitive than this. Again the reason is that the user does not have to hover to see the demarcation/boundaries of different rows/sections/columns and widgets/blocks. They have clear defined borders which lets users know at a glance the layout they are dealing with.
    Good examples: Elementor, DIVI, Pootle builder etc.

    Please don’t consider my review as criticism of Gutenberg. On the contrary, it is a feedback (though blunt) which I hope puts across my experience with it and may result in the betterment of the product.

    Of course, all this holds true only if others too have the same opinion as mine. For all I know, I may be the only one who considers this hovering thing as unintuitive.

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