FSE Program Template Editing Testing Summary

More calls for testing are on their way so join #fse-outreach-experiment in slack and/or subscribe to this Make blog to stay tuned. 

This post is a summary of the first call for testing for the experimental FSE outreach program. Thank you to everyone who participated, whether through testing directly or sharing the call for testing with others. It all helps! While this call for testing is over, feedback is always needed and welcomed in GitHub.

Related feedback is grouped under high-level headings. As you read through it, please remember that feedback is welcome on the format of this post too as the program is still in the early stages of determining what works best. 

Distinction between editing modes (template vs page/post)

The need for the distinction between modes appeared in a number of responses.  Thankfully, this was already identified as an area to improve before this call for testing in open issues like this one that reveal just how similar the two modes currently, and the resulting confusion.

Have a clear defined area for post editing and well defined area for Full Site Editing. Do not mix Publish and saving. As they are very different things. One is for post editing and one for FSE editing.

– @paaljoachim in this comment.

I believe it was not clear enough how those changes could impact the site. If you don’t already know how templates, template parts, and global blocks like Site Title work, you might not understand how your editing will affect the rest of the site. 

– @priethor in this comment.

The fact that I had to spend a considerable amount of time to understand the differences for a few arbitrary terms and what they mean in a UIUI UI is an acronym for User Interface - the layout of the page the user interacts with. Think ‘how are they doing that’ and less about what they are doing. is going to be a significant barrier to migrating existing clients to FSE and training them to understand. It simply won’t be worth it.

– @pointydrip in this comment.

Switching between editing modes (template vs page/post)

The actual act of switching back and forth between modes brought up a few different issues. What does the cancel button do? Why does applying changes for a template take me from template editing back into post editing? Some of this overlaps with the previous section as well. Thanks to the feedback shared, multiple issues were opened related to this particular part of the experience: 

Most feedback indicated that by increasing clarity in the interface (ie: a clearer, stickier notice) and making the switching process more predictable, the experience can be greatly improved from the current iteration. 

Switching to Template Editing – Editing the template from the post, while logically I knew what that meant, felt surprising – the switch was kind of a jolt because a bunch of things changed on the screen yet the overall layout stayed the same – so it felt like “Whoa, what just happened?”. Felt disorienting.

– @brentjettgmailcom in this comment.

I found it confusing that clicking Save brought me out of the FSE template mode. I saved. I did not ask to go out of the FSE mode.

– @paaljoachim in this comment.

It took me a while to find how to get back to the original post. I eventually found the Cancel button.

– @bobbingwide in this comment.

Saving Process

Generally speaking, the saving experience was reliable technically and, at the highest level, intuitive enough. The main sticking points came when trying to dismiss changes, save changes as a draft, and understanding what each “sub” item to save meant. The following issues were created to address each piece of feedback: 

I found this part to be kind of difficult. I think the labels on the different things being saved confused me. I didn’t really understand right away what was being saved for each checkmark…If I wanted to not save the template and left it unselected, but wanted to save the post, it would want to keep publishing the post.

– @geheren in this comment.

The saving process is intuitive, and it’s very helpful to clearly list what elements are going to be updated when saving. However, as said before, it might not be clear enough how each edited element will impact the rest of the site. It could be helpful to add a tooltip to the different elements that are going to be saved (post/site/template/template part) to provide users a quick, last-minute reference.

– @priethor in this comment.

Create a new template

While this call for testing didn’t focus on creating a new template, it feels like a natural extension to wonder how a new template could be created after making changes to a current one. While there isn’t currently a mapped-out plan for this experience, it is under discussion in this issue as there are quite a few scenarios to consider.  

What if I want to Save As? To create a new single template. As I might want the original single template and just want to create a new template that modifies the original template. Kind of like a default template and a modified template.

– @paaljoachim in this comment.

How would I go about creating a new template for a selected post/page?

– @bobbingwide in this comment.

Preview changes

Previewing changes is a workflow people rely upon, and this showed up in testing. While explicitly including ways to preview content hasn’t yet been discussed, there is an open issue to explore how best to view the template while editing a post that touches on this experience. In response, a new issue was opened around offering the option to preview the template in the same way one can with the Site Editor. 

My trust is always in the published page, and I’m looking everywhere in FSE for a preview page link while I’m editing to basically see if it worked. I feel like just being able to open the page in a new tab would give me confidence in what i’m doing in FSE. The other issue is that since you don’t see the headerHeader The header of your site is typically the first thing people will experience. The masthead or header art located across the top of your page is part of the look and feel of your website. It can influence a visitor’s opinion about your content and you/ your organization’s brand. It may also look different on different screen sizes. or footer in the post editing context, as soon as you do apply changes to a template and you land back on the post, you immediately think “Did it work?”.

– @brentjettgmailcom in this comment.

I found it confusing that clicking Save brought me out of the FSE template mode. I saved I did not ask to go out of the FSE mode. I want to see what it looks like on the frontend. Meaning clicking Save and then previewing the template on the frontend.

– @paaljoachim in this comment.

Undo/Revert Template Changes

This was originally brought up in this issue and is currently being worked on in this PR.

There’s no place that I have found within FSE to revert a template/part back to the theme’s default setup.

– @brentjettgmailcom in this comment.

Bug with template parts

As part of this testing, a few people (myself included) ran into a strange bug related to themes located in a sub-directory not properly loading template parts. This was reported and should help ensure future 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. themes work with this experience. 

Where is template editing work headed?

While this post goes deep into the pain points of the current experience of switching between template and post editing, it’s important to show where this work is headed. Currently, the best place to follow along is in this organizational issue focused on the remaining interface and infrastructure issues. This includes everything from issues on how to better distinguish the editing experiences to a welcome guide to introduce people to template mode! Follow along there as the work continues. 

#fse-outreach-program #full-site-editing #gutenberg #core-editor #fse-testing-summary