Block Library Installation Design Hand-off

@karmatosed and I recently chatted about the next steps for the block installation flow from within the block library, and decided that it would be better to test this feature in code, rather than testing the static prototype.

I’ve put together a hand-off document on Github so the development team (@tellyworth and @ck3lee) can start building it out. You can follow along and get involved with the development process there.

Call for Testing

We’re going to need some folks to get involved in testing the feature, once the initial version is built out. I’d like to start thinking about that now, so we can prepare a script and start figuring out where we should be testing sooner rather than later. If you’re interested in getting involved in testing this feature, please let me know in the comments.

#block-directory, #block-library

Block Library: Mockups & Prototype

This is an update to the Block Library project that’s in-progress. Feedback has been taking place on GitHub and in Figma. My thanks to all the folks who have chimed in to help improve these mockups!


Prototype

A screenshot from the Figma file, for illustrative purposes.
Figma: Source File / Prototype

Installing a 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.

Installing a third-party block from the block directory, via the block inserter

Search Results

If you search for a block, but nothing installed in your block library shows up, you’re presented with third-party blocks that show the block icon, title, author, and rating. Pressing on a block brings up more details.

Details

The Details screen is similar to the pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party cards we see in the Plugin Directory. It’s an abridged version of the block information, showing icon, title, author, star rating, and description. (This would ideally use the short description that plugins provide for cards.)

“More Details” would bring you to the full details screen in the Block Directory, and “Add” inserts the block into your content.

Installation

Once the block is inserted into your content, WordPress would ideally start silently installing it in the background while you fill in placeholders and change settings. If you change your mind and decide this block doesn’t work for you, WordPress would deactivate and delete the block when you remove it from your content so you don’t end up with a junk drawer of discarded blocks in your library.

What happens if your installation fails

In some cases, the installation won’t work — for example, if your internet cuts out while trying to install the block. In these cases, WordPress needs a way to recover from that error. This flow explores when a block isn’t able to be silently installed.

Pre-Publish

If you have the pre-publish panel enabled, you’ll see another reminder that you’ve added new blocks to your site, and another Details link that’ll take you into the Block Directory, in case you want to review it again.

Next Steps

  • The design team will look at creating tests for this (or testing it out themselves) during the WCEU Contributor Day; look for a recap on this p2 afterwards.
  • Between now and then, the prototype will continue to be open for feedback and iteration. I’d like to have all feedback for round one of testing in by Wednesday, June 19th, so I have time to iterate before WCEU.
  • You can comment with feedback here, or directly in Figma, if you’re a part of our team account (You can ask for access in #design).

#block-directory, #block-library

Block Library: Initial Explorations

Wanted to give an update on the Block Library project that’s in-progress!

Experience Flowchart

Tried to map out every part of the experience flow for this project:

GitHub Issue

h/t @babbardel for your help!

Sketches

Sketches are now up for the following flows:

Please take a look and give feedback. Each issue also has a set of questions associated with it that I’d love thoughts on.

+make.wordpress.org/meta

#block-directory, #block-library

Block Library: Competitive Analysis Recap

Over in GitHub, contributors have been exploring potentially related “competitors” for inspiration we can apply to the Block Library project. I’ve pulled those out into groupings:

Browsing

I’m not convinced we need a browsing interface within the Editor, but it’s important to explore how it could potentially work if we did decide to go in that direction. It’s especially important for us to look at what other people are doing within our space, like Ghost Kit and the GutenbergGutenberg The 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/ Blocks Template pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party.

Outside of WordPress, discovery and browsing sections of apps provide interesting ideas for how we can tackle exploration. For example, I really like Medium’s “New from your network,” and can see something like that translating into something like “more blocks from developers you trust.”


Searching

Snapchat and Vine

I think how Snapchat and Vine combine(d) results from people you follow, along with people you don’t follow, is pretty analogous to searching for blocks in your library — and especially useful if you have no results:

The Monday app also makes use of animation when searching, which provides an extra layer of delight.


No Results

Bear and Reddit have cute No Results screens, but none of them make suggestions for what to do next, which I think is going to be the critical hook for suggesting new blocks to install. No one should ever get “stuck.” This is where I think the “Browsing” examples are key — rather than showing an empty screen if there aren’t results, we could showcase downloadable blocks instead.


Details

Path

Having some sort of details screen can provide opportunities to persuade people to install your 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.. Like plugins, we should consider letting block creators add screenshots, descriptions, and more details to help market blocks.

Path in particular took a really nice approach with their detail dialogue — it’s visually appealing, makes great use of animation, and provides plenty of space for information.


Preview

The Jetpack examples are obviously a bit more of a direct comparison. The last two mockups, especially, are a good example of using existing coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. patterns to preview blocks within the editor. I can easily see this extending to our use case, where “upgrade” is instead “install.”

I think it’s going to be very important for people to preview new blocks in-context — a “try before you buy,” if you will — and so we’ll want to further explore how we can make that a seamless experience.


Based on these explorations, I think it would be good to tackle our next phase, Exploration, by breaking it up into different tasks:

  • Discovering blocks through searching, or maybe browsing
  • Previewing a block in-context
  • Installing a block
  • And even what happens when loading a page with missing blocks (we already handle this, but it’s not connected to re-installing or re-activating the missing block)

Does this approach make sense?

Does anyone have any other examples that could provide inspiration?

#block-directory, #block-library

Block Library: Installing Blocks from Within Gutenberg

With the introduction of GutenbergGutenberg The 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/ and blocks comes the need for a way to install new blocks, just like plugins or themes. Step one in this project, for the design team, is installing blocks contextually within Gutenberg. Check out this thread for more details and prior explorations.

Scope

The WordPress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways. will provide an endpoint for searching for blocks by name and description, and return metadata similar to that of plugins. Gutenberg’s Inserter could use that endpoint to also show relevant 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. plugins that are available to install, with a button and process for seamless installation.

@tellyworth

This project is limited to installing one block at a time from within the Gutenberg editor. That might encompass:

  • How people discover blocks from within the Gutenberg editor
  • How to give users enough detail to make an informed decision about which block to install
  • How uninstalled blocks are previewed
  • What the Install process would look like
  • What happens if the installation fails
  • Removing installed blocks
  • How to manage installation requests by non-admin users

This scope is intentionally kept small so we can focus on shipping an iterating. A larger exploration of how to download or install blocks from within a Blocks screen in wp-admin, and WordPress.org, will take place in a future project.

Timeline

TaskStageFacilitatorDueStatus
Create repoScope@karmatosedApril 26
Create project board for design tasks in GitHubScope@karmatosedApril 26
Create issues in GitHubGitHub GitHub 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/ for designScope@karmatosedApril 26
Make/design kick off postScope@melchoyceApril 26
Make/meta kick off postScope@tellyworthMay 3
Competitive analysisResearch@melchoyceMay 17
Competitive analysis summary postResearch@melchoyceMay 17
Experimental explorationsExploration@melchoyceMay 24
Flow diagramExploration@melchoyceMay 24
Iterate on experimentationsRefine@melchoyceMay 31
Make/design post of designsRefine@melchoyceJune 7
Prototyping (click prototype/Figma)Prototyping@melchoyceJune 7
Testing/feedback on prototypePrototyping@melchoyceJuly 5
Update GitHub issue to start developmentDevelopment@melchoyceJuly 5
Prototype (technical prototype)Development@tellyworthTBD
Testing/feedback on prototypeDevelopmentTBDTBD

See the complete timeline on Google Drive.

Where to Follow Along

  • There will be weekly or biweekly updates here on make/design.
  • There will be time during each weekly Design meeting on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. for updates.
  • Design tasks will exist as issues on GitHub; you can follow along on on our project board.
  • Development will also be happening on GitHub.

Get Involved

Interested in joining @iviolini and I on this project? Let us know in the comments, and follow along on GitHub.

If you don’t have time to devote to working on design tasks, that’s cool — feedback is always welcome, and a great way for you to contribute.

#block-directory, #block-library