Gutenberg Phase 2 Friday Design Update #2

January is halfway done and Gutenberg issues are gaining traction and feedback from a variety of people. Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts, and opinions!

Widgets to blocks

There’s been several concerns about widgets from people in the slack feeds, so thought to address it here briefly. While Gutenberg is converting all core widgets to blocks, they won’t be going away completely quite yet. 😉 There is a “Classic Widget” block being built to support the widgets that haven’t yet converted to blocks. If you’re looking to get involved, please check out the GitHub project board.

In relation to this, the widgets screen in wp-admin will be changing over to blocks. There’s concern around this for good reason. But ultimately as everything becomes a block, this paradigm shift needs to be communicated in smaller steps to help all users make the transition.

Navigation block

The navigation block and the interface for creating navigation menus is being discussed with some innovative concepts. What if the “Pages” screen was where you built your nav keeping the nav block simple? Or should the nav block be where you create the entire menu? Share ideas in the ticket!

Tightening up

If neither the widgets blocks, nor nav blocks are your thing, there’s a whole list of Gutenberg related issues that need tightening up. As mentioned in the State of the Word, “tightening up” is a focus for Phase 2. There’s a lot that needs work! Come help.

Research work

Yep, research is still ongoing. Some themes are beginning to emerge as they work through the data. Help out in the #research channel in slack.

There’s also conversation around how to present the data, and where to store it; a site, a PDF, Google Slides?

Share your work

Many like to post their thoughts and explorations on their own blogs. Unfortunately this isn’t always highly visible. Well there’s a whole project board dedicated to research with a column specific to “explorations.” Give a shout out in either the #design or #research channels in slack to get your work added there. Every little bit helps inform decisions going forward.

#gutenberg-weekly, #phase-2

Gutenberg Phase 2 Friday Design Update

Happy New Year everyone! As mentioned in the Gutenberg Design Flow post earlier, this is Friday’s summary of the week’s work regarding Phase 2 design.

If this was a short distance race, everyone would bust out of the gate at full speed, but it’s a marathon here, so out of the gate, setting a comfortable pace is necessary.

Widgets to blocks

There’s a better understanding of how to move forward with widgets thanks to @melchoyce. Most are ready, but there are a few PRs that need some help to completion.

Progress Post

Github Widget Project Board

Navigation block

This is in early exploration mode right now, so if you’ve got some thoughts around this, please share! Please drop your ideas and designs in the relating issues themselves.

Explorations from WCUS

Github issue – block

Github issue – wp-admin interface

Research work

@tinkerbelly and @jarahsames have been leading the efforts here. More can be read in Sarah’s latest post, Sitebuilding research. The synthesis of this research will help influence future Gutenberg decisions. If you can lend a hand, the research synthesis needs some people power, so please volunteer in the #research channel on slack.

Get involved

This Friday’s post is meant to help surface the information. If you see any questions from people, or have any yourself, please share in the comments below. If you’ve got some ideas, or have been designing some thoughts around the Gutenberg projects listed in Matt’s 9 Projects for 2019 post, don’t hesitate to provide some links, or jump into the Github issues and PRs. Looking forward to everyone’s contributions!

#gutenberg-weekly, #phase-2

Sitebuilding research: what’s next?

Happy new year, everyone! In December, a team of intrepid designers, developers, and WordPress people banded together to learn more about WordPress’ end users. In total, the team chatted with seventeen different people over seven days. Huge thank-yous to everyone who joined in—you’re all 🌟s!

Now it’s time to sift through the data and pull out some insights. This will happen over the next two weeks. Here’s the current plan:



  • Key takeways (no more than ten)
  • Recommendations (to inform product decisions)
  • A mental model of sitebuilding for each identified segment
  • A customer journey for each identified segment

These artefacts will be used to guide the product direction of Gutenberg Phase 2—and possibly beyond!

Want to get involved?

Many hands make for light work, and many brains make for more insights and less bias. You don’t need to be a designer, and no prior research experience is necessary. Pop into the #research channel in Slack, ping @tinkerbelly or @jarahsames, or comment here if you’d like to join in on any of the stages.

#gutenberg, #research, #site-building

Iterating on the Gutenberg design flow

As phase one has wrapped up it’s a great time to look at iterating how designers can contribute and get involved in the ongoing work for phase two and beyond. 

GitHub projects

The Gutenberg plugin itself is on GitHub and this is the cornerstone of the project. All designs being worked on will have a corresponding issue within GitHub. During phase one projects began to be used and this will continue. Here are the projects to follow for design:

Note: like widgets other specific boards may be created to focus on the 2019 projects mentioned here.


Everything starts with research. There have been a lot of insights from usability testing and feedback during phase one. Phase two is starting with a dive into research and interviews are underway. For more details on this you can join #research in Slack and follow the #research tag on this site for posts.


Once the areas to be designed are identified into tasks (listed in GitHub projects), then exploring happens. There are a few tools to use for sketches, mocks and prototypes:

  • InVision: A great place to collect ideas and sketches on a board.
  • Figma: This is a great tool to use to sketch and share.

If you are looking to find something to work on? You can follow the ’needs design’ label in GitHub for issues already discussed that need a designer, or any of the projects mentioned.


Designs grow through feedback. Sharing early and sharing often is the mantra to follow when working together. There are a number of channels within Slack you can drop in to get feedback async:

  • #design is the home for designers in Slack, feedback can be asked at any point here.
  • #core-editor this isn’t just for developer feedback, this channel has editor focused designers ready to give you feedback.
  • #accessibility is your first port of call to get feedback on even the earliest sketch.

Before development starts any design should be made into an issue or attached to one that already exists in GitHub, this is where most of the feedback will happen. There are a number of useful labels to get even the earliest feedback on an issue:

Potential design flow

Whilst it will be up to each person, a flow using the tools available could be:

  • An issue is created in GitHub, added to a project. This sets the foundation of the problem with some basic information and updated over time. A label of ‘needs design’ is added.
  • Research is added to the issue and then once designs are being produced in Figma, those also are added to the issue. Commenting can happen both in Figma and on the issue. InVision may be used to collate research for example.
  • Once there is an agreed design ‘needs design’ is removed and ‘needs design feedback’ added. 
  • Iterations continue based on feedback until a point is reached where the design is ready to be developed. At this point ‘needs dev’ could be added and work begun.
  • During development those that helped with design will give feedback.
  • At all stages getting real feedback through usability testing will crucial.

Staying connected

There is a lot going on in quite a few places and following along isn’t always as easy as it could be. With the new phase of Gutenberg this is something to iterate on. There are a number of changes being made to ease this:

  • Weekly #design meeting updates in Slack. The current phase design lead will give a summary update during this meeting.
  • Weekly #design meeting feedback opportunity. There will be time within every meeting for specific feedback or to call attention to issues. Please add those as a comment on the meeting agenda.
  • Weekly #core-editor meetings will still continue, designers are welcome to join. Notes will also be taken going forward to catch up async.
  • Friday is summary day from the New Year! 
    • The current phase lead will post a design update on make/design.
    • Those who are working on specific areas such as research, projects or features and have reached a point to update or get feedback, are encouraged to do that on make/design.

Sharing ideas

In this post, existing planned ideas have been covered, what if you have a great idea for something? The same feedback channels mentioned of #design in Slack, #core-editor and the GitHub repo are great places. You can also add to the ‘Phase 2 Research’ board ‘explorations’ column. Creating a blog post and sharing in those channels is also a great way to share a vision. If it’s just an idea without a sketch you can also discuss in Slack or make an issue.

Collaboration across teams

Designers should never go alone. Collaborating together is important but collaborating across teams is how the best product is made. As the next phase approaches it would be great to hear people’s ideas for how more collaboration can happen. Please add them in the comments.

Get involved

As phase 2 begins, now is a great time to start getting involved. Expect to see posts and announcements calling for specific involvement outside the ways mentioned above. There are going to be opportunities for all different types of designers to contribute along the way.

It would be great to hear any ideas people have for other things to iterate on. All of these iterations came from feedback so keep that flowing! All of this information will also be added to the handbook to ensure it’s easy to discover.

How to participate in user research

With user interviews for the sitebuilding study kicking off soon, lots of preparation is underway. (As a reminder, you can view the research plan here.) Here’s an update on where things stand right now, and how you can help.

Sessions are being scheduled with approximately twenty users during between 12 December and 21 December. The interviews will be conducted remotely via Zoom. They will be an hour long and will follow this script (subject to change as we iterate on it).

Each session will be lead by a moderator, who’ll be responsible for guiding the interview and asking the questions. A notetaker will be responsible for taking notes and recording their impressions. There may also be some observers on the call, who’ll just be listening in. Once the interview is finished, the moderator, notetaker, and any observers will convene (either on Zoom or in Slack) for a brief debrief session to discuss insights and things learnt.

User research is an art, not a science, so it’s great to have lots of different people represented in these sessions and analysing the results. This means we can get more insights. If you’re new to user research and would like to participate, @jarahsames and I would like to help you!

First of all, we’ve put together some guides for each of the roles:

Feel free to leave comments if you’ve any questions on these documents, or ask in the #research channel in Slack!

On top of this, @jarahsames and I will be hosting a dry run of the interview script as well as answering all your burning questions so that you can see how everything will work on Tuesday, December 11 at 17:00 UTC. If you’re interesting in joining in with the research efforts next week, we’d love to see you there! If you can’t make it, you can leave any questions you may have here, or pop them in Slack #research. We’ll also record the session and post it here.

And as a reminder, you can sign up to register your interest in participating in these sessions by filling in this form, or pinging in the #research channel.

#gutenberg #research

Exploring sitebuilding via user research

As phase 2 of Gutenberg begins to gear up, it’s time to do some exploratory research in order to better understand the 30% of the web who may not be active in the WordPress community. This foundational research is intended to get a better understanding of how people use site- and page-builders currently, what their mental models of a website look like, and what pain points exist in the experience. Results will be used to inform the boundaries of the overall product direction.

Working with @karmatosed and @alexislloyd, @jarahsames and myself have been working on a research plan to explore attitudes toward sitebuilding. In short, we’ll be talking to people about their experience building websites, and we’d love for everyone in the community who’s interested to join us!

Absolutely anyone can be involved—you don’t need to be a researcher, or a designer, or a UX person. You don’t need to have any experience talking to people, all you need is the willingness to listen and learn! Participating in user research is a great way of gaining empathy for your end users and evolving a more user-centric way of approaching product decisions.

There are lots of different ways to participate: you can help us with the planning and writing of the script. You can sit in on a session as a silent observer. You can take notes. You can run a session yourself. Or you can help analyse the results once it’s all over. Sarah and Sarah will provide you with guides for each task and will be there to help you throughout the process if you have any questions. 

The interview sessions will be run the week of 10 December. These sessions will be shared in the #research Slack channel for anyone who’d like to participate.

A report of the results will be published here by 9 January, and updates on progress will be posted here weekly so you can follow along. Updates will also be shared every week during the regular design meeting every Wednesday at 19:00 UTC.

Interested in joining in? Register your interest here!

#gutenberg, #research

Weekly design meeting notes of Wednesday November 21, 2018

The full transcript of this meeting can be found in our #design Slack channel. All linked headings in this post jump to where this topic was discussed on Slack.

First topic today is some housekeeping.

Because of WCUS and holidays, some meetings coming up will be paused

  • 5/12: Design weekly meeting
  • 10/12: Triage
  • Week of 24th and 31st: all week meetings cancelled.

Please note the Slack #design channel is always open for design reviews, an ear to listen – feel free to use the channel outside of meetings too.

Figma license for

Figma have donated a license for use contributing to WordPress. It’s worth noting, use of the software isn’t for personal or client work. You can read more about it on the WordPress design blog.

Sarah James is moving the SketchPress library over to Figma and Gutenberg fase 2 will be the main project the design team can work on Figma.

@boemedia notices that it’s hard to learn software when the use is restricted. So there should be some tangible WordPress projects connected to it. @Kjellr says that Figma is actually free for up to 3 personal projects, so it’s easy to set up a personal account.

If anyone has problems signing up for Figma, please ping one of the team reps in the Slack design channel. We’ll help you get things sorted.

New channel for Gutenberg user research

The WordPress Slack workspace is extended with a new channel: #research. If you’re interested in helping out, or know people around you (not only designers but also developers or other roles) who are interested in getting involved this way, please join the channel. You can read more about user testing for Gutenberg phase 2 on the design blog.

Reducing trac keywords for design

Currently, trac tickets that need design eyes have three labels:

  • ux-feedback
  • ui-feedback
  • needs-design

@karmatosed suggests going back from three to two labels, to make them align more and reduce brain pain:

  • one for ‘feedback’
  • one for ‘needs design’

These labels will be used around the three areas that have tickets: core trac, core meta and github for Gutenberg. @karmatosed will write a blog post to propose and take this to core/meta.

Open floor

@estelaris asks if design is currently focussing on the next phase for Gutenberg, or can people help out on other projects?

A few running projects are mentioned and it would be nice of designers could be involved in more things and work on projects without waiting for a meeting to see what’s happening.

A short brainstorm follows about ownership of smaller design projects, to keep track of them and don’t get forgotten. Another thing is, we definitely need more designers, but without mentioning the projects that need work, people joining the channel may drop out again if they think there’s no work to do.

If people have ideas on how to make the work (because there’s plenty of work to do!) more visible, tangible and attractive for new design contributors to work on, please feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments.


Two ways to get involved in Gutenberg user research

Planning is now under way for user research efforts to complement and drive the next iteration of Gutenberg. These efforts will iterate throughout the development of Phase 2, ensuring that product decisions are informed by an understanding of user needs.

Currently two different efforts are underway:

  1. Community feedback: If you’d like to share your thoughts about Gutenberg as a WordPress community member, @jarahsames has put together a brief survey to collect insights. The survey will close at 23:59 UTC Saturday, 24 November, and a synopsis of results will be shared here after the results have been analysed.
  2. User research: @jarahsames and myself are planning for further research with users outside of the WordPress community to get a better understanding of their needs as we think about how Gutenberg might expand to meet those needs. Anyone who is interested in research is welcome to join in—no previous experience required! Updates will also be posted here at regular intervals.

Interested in joining in? Have some questions? Just want to see what’s happening? Pop into the brand new #research channel in Slack and say hello!

#gutenberg, #research

If you’re curious about design for WordPress org…

If you’re curious about design for, I just posted extensive UX research survey results about network of sites on the meta p2 😉

#cross-posting, #meta, #research