High level feedback from the FSE Program (July 2021)

This post summarizes the top pieces of feedback of the current experience to help inform ongoing efforts after the 5.8 release and as a follow up to a similar post from March. You might notice that some areas of feedback match the original post but that the specifics are different. This is to be expected due to efforts being consolidated around 5.8, causing some feedback to fall in priority. 

Keep in mind that this post is simply a snapshot in time and is inherently going to leave out aspects of the experience that haven’t been the subject of calls for testing yet, for example, Global Styles. It’s also not going to go into great detail about all of the hard work that has gone into addressing these items already, whether through PRs or sharing designs that offer solutions.

If you want a more in-depth look at feedback across the testing calls and a full summary of all issues rather than a sampling, please review the summary posts. If you want to help give feedback, join the calls for testing or test whenever you’d like!

Improve settings experience

This section pulls together everything from feature requests for additional options for different blocks, desire for more control over spacing especially for the Column and Query loopLoop The Loop is PHP code used by WordPress to display posts. Using The Loop, WordPress processes each post to be displayed on the current page, and formats it according to how it matches specified criteria within The Loop tags. Any HTML or PHP code in the Loop will be processed on each post. https://codex.wordpress.org/The_Loop. blocks, general confusion around why certain settings exist in one place and not another (example with the Query loop block, with Color settings, and Columns block), and how to navigate the complexity of settings with more powerful blocks. As a specific example tying in these various items, let’s say you want the Query loop blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. to display 3 posts from a certain categoryCategory The 'category' taxonomy lets you group posts / content together that share a common bond. Categories are pre-defined and broad ranging. and you want to set various colors for different parts of the set of posts. To accomplish that, you would have to interact with the block sidebarSidebar A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme. settings first to set the category before using the block toolbar to select the number of visible posts. To set various colors, you’d have to use List View or navigate through the nested blocks before opening up the block sidebar settings once more to make sure you’re styling what you want.

While work is underway to add in more styling options, normalize block level controls in a more intuitive way, and create more consistent dimension controls, this remains an area ripe for continued iteration to create a more cohesive experience. 

Make editing modes distinct (Site, Template, Query Loop block, etc)

Since the calls for testing began to focus on items related to 5.8 in the last couple of months, understanding how best to navigate template editing mode and the Query Loop block became major focuses of feedback. For example, this partially led to the decision to make the Query Loop block’s post content blocks view only. However, while lots of work has been done to provide clarity around what one is editing and adding the right amount of friction, this was still repeated feedback in nearly every test as an area that needs refinement considering how new this functionality is. For example, sharing information in the sidebar upon entering the template editing experience could go a long way in getting a user acquainted with this new experience. 

Refine Placeholders & Initial Configuration Steps

With new blocks and new features, the initial placeholders and configuration steps become key to get right in both setting expectations and guiding a person to create what they want. This cuts across many aspects of the full site editing project including template editing mode, the Query Loop block, Navigation block, integrated patterns, and more. For example, if one is adding the Query Loop block with the intent to show a collection of posts, it makes sense to display multiple posts at default rather than just one with the latest implementation. Currently, feedback points to work needing to be done to standardize approaches where it makes sense and to improve each experience overall. 

Solidify WYSIWYGWhat You See Is What You Get What You See Is What You Get. Most commonly used in relation to editors, where changes made in edit mode reflect exactly as they will translate to the published page. & Desire for previewing content

Across nearly all of the calls for testing, these two interconnected themes of feedback formed where people missed the ability to easily preview content often due to distrusting the current WYSIWYG experience. Some of the pain points with WYSIWYG have been improved thanks to a change in how layouts and alignments are declared but others are left up to theme authors to resolve, like removing the small margin visible in the editing experience. However, the reliance on previewing remains, especially when more complex interactions arise like previewing a template while editing a post to see how changes might land. 

Ensure reliability and robustness of the the saving process 

Because multi-entity saving (saving multiple aspects at once) is a new WordPress concept and one that underpins many interactions in the site editing experience, this is a key area of feedback to address, especially since the act of saving is so crucial to trust. Generally speaking, feedback falls into the following areas: inconsistent behavior, desire for more functionality, and enhancements to make it clearer what is being saved

Expand abilities of theme blocks

Since many of the tests relied on interacting with the new theme blocks, numerous enhancementenhancement Enhancements are simple improvements to WordPress, such as the addition of a hook, a new feature, or an improvement to an existing feature. requests were raised to improve the experience of using each. Rather than listing this under improving the settings experience, this felt worthy of a separate call out as leveling up these individual theme blocks will unlock more creative power in using these new features. Whether folks wanted more styling options in the Post Title block or to easily add pages in bulk to the Navigation block, people are already looking forward to the next version of these various blocks. 

Increase usability of overall experience

This is a “catch-all” category but an important one nonetheless, as it will help various parts of the site editing experience become more intuitive and streamlined. Similar to last time, what follows is a sampling of items both to get a sense of the kinds of issues raised and the spread:

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