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If you’ve ever used WordPress to create a blog post, web page, or any other type of document, then you are likely familiar with the Inspector SidebarSidebarA 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.. The sidebar shows you information and controls related to the either the selected blockBlockBlock 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., or the document itself.
The sidebar hasn’t changed very much over the years, and in many ways still resembles the pre-GutenbergGutenbergThe Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/ (Classic) WordPress editor. Here’s a side-by-side of the sidebar in the classic and block editors:
Over on GithubGitHubGitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. https://github.com/, there’s an overview of design updates to the sidebar. The designs focus on block controls, specifically typography, color, and dimensions. The issue does propose a component system of controls for things like inputs, dropdowns, and sliders, but doesn’t explore how this system could apply to the document controls shown above.
Since we’re talking about sidebar controls, I think it’s helpful to also include the design of the so-called “Global Styles” project outlined on Github. This design uses a multi-level, nested interface to group controls into Color, Typography, and Layout sections.
With all this in mind, I’ve been looking at the document sidebar and how it could be improved. For this first pass, I’m focused on the “Status & visibility” and “Permalink” sections. Here’s a look at the current design alongside my proposed changes:
There’s quite a few changes. The first, and maybe most obvious is the lack of an accordion interface containing all the controls. Instead, controls are shown and hidden using the ellipses menu; Open the menu and you can choose what controls are hidden or shown. This reduces the overall footprint of the controls, but also allows people to customize the sidebar to their specific needs.
This menu is also a convenient place to find features and functions like viewing the document’s history, renaming the document, reverting publish documents to draft, and moving the document to trashTrashTrash in WordPress is like the Recycle Bin on your PC or Trash in your Macintosh computer. Users with the proper permission level (administrators and editors) have the ability to delete a post, page, and/or comments. When you delete the item, it is moved to the trash folder where it will remain for 30 days..
At the top of the section is the current document’s title. Here’s how that could look with a few different titles.
The title itself could also be interactive, and allow for renaming the document directly from the sidebar. This is helpful as the editor’s canvas may not always include the document title. You could initiate renaming from the ellipses menu, or double-click on the title itself.
Each control within the list would be clickable, opening a popover with more information and controls to change the value.
Here’s how each control’s popover would look:
There’s a lot more to do with the remainder of the document controls, like improving categories, tags, and the featured imageFeatured imageA featured image is the main image used on your blog archive page and is pulled when the post or page is shared on social media. The image can be used to display in widget areas on your site or in a summary list of posts. controls. But for now, I think this is a good start and can hopefully lead towards improvements across the rest of the document sidebar.