FSE Program Authoring an Author Template Summary

This post is a summary of the thirteenth call for testing for the experimental FSE outreach program. As always, I want to highlight those who helped to bring others along with them in this latest effort: 

Shout out to @hage, @antigone7, @robglidden, @azhiyadev as first-time contributors. Get excited – you now have a testing contributor badge on your WordPress profile!

High-level summary

To help ground the following feedback, here are some quotes about the overall experience to keep in mind: 

The most frustrating thing to me is still, hands down, the lack of a clear, consistent visual cue or affordance to insert a new 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. on a new parent level after an existing block. Most of the time, when adding a block using the [+] square, the new one is inserted right there, still as a “child” block. List view often comes to the rescue and helps a lot. Without it, everything would be much, much harder to build..This, and the current lack of consistency in styling and spacing options between blocks (some have margins, some don’t, some have colors, some don’t, etc.) is still, in my opinion, one of the main factors keeping users from jumping ship from site builders. 

@piermario in this comment.

Outside of the user-experience issues noted below, everything went well. No editor crashes. No problems saving. And the front-end matched what I was seeing in the editor.

@greenshady in this WP Tavern post.

Outside of these quotes, a few items proved to be repeatedly mentioned by folks who gave feedback on this test: 

To provide a visual of what this test accomplished, here’s what @greenshady created in his write up for this call for testing:

Author template with a nice header showing a menu, site title, and author description on a light beige background.

Confirmed bugs

Listed below are confirmed bugs that break expected functionality or the experience of different features. 

Previously reported

New Issues

Feature Requests

Most requests in this section touch on items that would improve the experience of an option (quick inserter prioritizing patterns) or block (No results block) rather than a list of desired new functionality. This reflects the fact that much of what folks wanted to do in this call for testing they could reasonably accomplish compared to prior calls.  

New Issues

Previously Reported:

I did not know about the “No Results block”. That was interesting to learn about. Perhaps it should automatically be added with the default text if there are no author posts to show.

@paaljoachim in this comment

The Post ExcerptExcerpt An excerpt is the description of the blog post or page that will by default show on the blog archive page, in search results (SERPs), and on social media. With an SEO plugin, the excerpt may also be in that plugin’s metabox. block under the 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. doesn’t have an option to adjust the excerpt length. (The Latest Posts block does have this option.)

@piermario in this comment.

Working with the block felt odd at first. Where does it go? After the Post Template? Before?…It was also odd to visually edit a feature that is conditionally displayed. There should be an indicator that its contents may or may not be shown on the front end…Overall, the No Results block is a welcome addition to the theme-blocks toolset. I would like to see the 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. fleshed out a bit. Theme authors will likely start using this more when 6.0 lands, and I could see users inadvertently trying to delete it, thinking it is part of the default output.

@greenshady in this WP Tavern post.

General Usability Feedback

Once more, this call for testing showed the desire to avoid starting from scratch, more consistency across the experience (especially with what options are available to customize blocks), and more connection points between new options. In particular, the inability to link to the Author Template one customized in this call for testing using the Post Author block was repeated numerous times as a pain pointPain point Pain points are “places where you know from research or analytics that users are currently getting hung up and have to ask questions, or are likely to abandon the site or app.” — Design for Real Life. The missing connection there lowers the impact the new author template could have. While this won’t be available for WordPress 6.0, expect to see the option to do so included when the new Post Author Name block is included in a future WordPress release:

The most immediate issue when creating a new author template is that it was devoid of default blocks. Where was the—at minimum—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. and footer? The empty template would make sense if I was building something from scratch. However, this is not a from-scratch project. It was built from a theme with existing archive.htmlHTML HTML is an acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is a markup language that is used in the development of web pages and websites. and index.html files, ancestors in the template hierarchy…Users will most likely want to make modifications rather than start from scratch. Using an ancestor template as a base means that they are less likely to unnecessarily deviate from the existing layout, especially with more complex designs.

@greenshady in this WP Tavern post

I feel that menus were a lot more intuitive and easier to manage with the previous system. I wish there were a way to basically tie back the new blocks to a similar interface, which had become familiar and was easy to use even for non-experts.

@piermario in this comment.

I find it difficult in viewing the author template on the frontend and had to use your advice: yoursiteurl.com/author/[username].

@paaljoachim in this comment

I had expected that after locking the group block at the header, the cover block contained in it (for example) could also not be moved. But that was possible without any problems. In my opinion, another option would make sense here: Lock all blocks contained in the block. If a group block contains several other blocks, it would be very time-consuming to lock all of them.

@hage in this comment

#fse-outreach-program, #fse-testing-summary