Support » Plugin: Gutenberg » WordPress is not Squidoo! Make GB an optional plug in, please!

  • I tried out Gutenberg this afternoon, and immediately had a flashback to my days on Squidoo.

    On the Squidoo platform, everything had to be put on the page into these separate chunks. You couldn’t, in other words, just type what you wanted for 10 paragraphs, then highlight the parts you wanted to format or remove and be done with it. You had to keep clicking into each separate “chunk” of your “lens” (which is what a page on Squidoo was called) then edit or remove accordingly.

    There was nothing wrong with Squidoo, per se. It was what it was, a platform meant to cater to non-writers who wanted to put out fun, splashy pages that focused more on colorful blocs of highlighted text and funky layouts than writing. But it made writing cumbersome for W-R-I-T-E-RS who just want nothing more than to type their entries straight out and use standard formatting (header, italics, bold and link) like in a word processor.

    So, coming from a former Squidoo user who’s already used this type of interface, I can tell you that Gutenberg is not a leap forward for your users. It’s a step back to the early days of 2.0. (circa 2005), when platforms were all about providing a “fun” experience for the MySpace/Live Journal crowd, as opposed to providing a platform for writers that was about making the experience of publishing articles as efficient and fuss-free as possible.

    So please–do not force this editor on your users. Make it optional. But don’t take the risk of thinking that because you’re the “only” game in town, you can just force this on everyone and not expect people to bail. If it’s frustrating enough, they will. They will bail because WordPress’s primary demographic are writers and professional bloggers.

    Remember who your key audience is, WordPress. Writers. Journalists. Businesses. Bloggers. Not soccer moms and high school teens struggling to figure out how to make each header of their blog entry a different color of the rainbow or cram as many cool text and image effects onto one page.

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by rcnyc.
    • This topic was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by rcnyc.
    • This topic was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by rcnyc.
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  • Plugin Author Tammie Lister

    (@karmatosed)

    Thanks for the considered review @rcnyc. I’d like to take a deeper dive into some of your feedback if possible.

    You seem to have a lot of experience with Squidoo and thanks for sharing those insights. It was appreciated you walked through the issues that platform had. Your comments are right to consider balance back towards a flow in writing. That is very much something being explored right now. Perhaps there is a point you can have both the blocks and more flow. I personally believe there is and this is something to consider in iterating. It’s not something we have today in Gutenberg fully yet but it is being worked on. There are a few things, from nudging on in the interface to lightening up the editor itself. All add up to a less fractured interface and work towards easing the flow.

    Considering the demographic you highlight, beyond blocks is there anything you think is missing right now to cater for them?

    Perhaps there is a point you can have both the blocks and more flow. I personally believe there is and this is something to consider in iterating.

    @karmatosed:

    How about just having two different modes in Gutenberg that enable users to switch back and forth between a regular word processor and blocks? In other words, have GB behave as a word processor as the default. (Straight typing, no blocks.) If the user wants “blocks”, he/she clicks on a button marked “Switch to blocks”, and that converts the written text into blocks and they can play with formatting however they want. If the user wants to go back to straight editing again, user just clicks on “switch to word processor”, and it goes back to acting like a processor again.

    Why not do it that way, rather than ditching the word processor format altogether and alienating writers, who probably comprise a large part of your user base? If writers want to write, then let them. If people want to play with colors and images, then let them. Give both demographics the option in one interface, but just with two modes–one for writers, one for everyone else.

    But don’t just ditch one format for the other. I’m well aware of the high profile news and media sites that use Word Press. There’s no way, no how that people at these sites, who are under the gun posting breaking news stories on a daily (and maybe even hourly) basis, are going to put up with “blocks”. To keep these sites, you might as well just compromise with a revamp that gives them a straight processor mode. They’re not going to adapt to blocks no matter how much you hope to make this concept “work” in a way they might like. They don’t want blocks, don’t need blocks. They just need a simple text box to type (or copy and paste) articles into and basic formatting of text.

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