FSE Program Site Editor Sneak Peek Summary

This post is a summary of the Site Editor Sneak Peek for the FSE outreach program, the eighteenth effort. As always, I want to highlight those who helped to bring others along with them in this latest effort: 

  • InstaWP for allowing the outreach program to use their tooling for free, enabling more folks to jump into this call for testing and for more creativity in what we are able to test. 
  • Props to Saxon Fletcher for creating the prototype used to test the new navigation UXUX UX is an acronym for User Experience - the way the user uses the UI. Think ‘what they are doing’ and less about how they do it. before it was more evolved in 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/ 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.

Shout out to @worldomonation @wpchai @sereedmedia @jordesign @goblinartificer @rwye1  @nigeljoy  @vinnykaur @augustuswp for being first time contributors. Expect a badge on your WordPress profiles for your contribution!

Important note: compared to other summaries, this summary is going to be simply divided between each task with indications of bugs vs enhancements to better reflect how the exploration was conducted and to make the information easier to consume.

Watch the experience

For anyone wanting to see folks run through the experience, here are videos from a few contributors who very kindly recorded and passed along their experience for others to benefit from: 

Walkthrough from @piermario

Walkthrough from @paaljoachim

Browse mode, new pattern inserter experience, and contextualized zoomed out view

Overall, browse mode felt modern and smooth with a few key items around general usability to level up what’s possible: more visible edit button, clearer way to get back to the dashboard, and breadcrumbs/more understanding of where you are in the site editor. Each of these items are listed as follow up to-dos as part of this broader effort so expect to see quick iteration here. Some feedback came in around how jarring the zoom out view was and that was partially due to this exploration testing an earlier version of what’s now being worked on, where those issues have been smoothed out as the work has evolved. 

Finally, two folks mentioned expecting to have a 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 pattern that was selected from the Inserter to automatically replace the current header/footer in the site editor and expressed confusion when that didn’t happen. While this is intentional in the current experience and there’s currently a replace option built into template parts, it’s worth noting in case it becomes a trend. 

Everything except the final item below are enhancements pulled from the shared feedback: 

  • [Enhancement] Easier to find the edit button due to confusion around inability to edit the templates directly (planned for iteration)
  • [Enhancement] Provide a more visible/clear way to get back to the dashboard as the W menu isn’t clear enough for folks as it is (planned for iteration). 
  • [Enhancement] Show more information/breadcrumbs about where you are in the site editor (planned for iteration).
  • [Enhancement] Desire to see Styles in the sidebarSidebar A 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. with templates and template parts (planned for iteration).
  • [Enhancement] Add zoomed out view to live previews of 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. 
  • [Enhancement] Highlight template or template part when selecting from each section.
  • [Enhancement] Desire to pick whether a header or footer pattern will replace the current header/footer when inserting a new one.
  • [Bug] Remove flash on screen when loading the site editor. 

I still think that getting back out to the Dashboard could be more obvious. I’ve been working in it for a while now so I know that clicking the W gets you there, but if I was just encountering this for the first time, I would be looking for a “Dashboard” button or link.

@itsjustdj in this comment.

When I tried to add a new header pattern, it ended up being placed within the existing header. When adding a pattern to the header or footer, maybe ask if it should replace the existing header? In my case, it was within the existing one, so it was hard to remove the old blocks.

@clubkert in this comment.

It would be cool if while dragging the pattern on the page, its shape and proportions were kept so that 1) you have a better idea of where it’s going to be placed and 2) you have a better idea of the space and position on the page.

@piermario in this comment.

Pattern library is categorized nicely and easy to navigate.

@nigeljoy in this comment.

New navigation management experience 

Generally speaking, a few folks struggled with the Maze option that was used to create the prototype, finding it to be a bit too constrained to get a full sense of the experience. This is something to consider when it comes to future experiments and thoughtfully considering when it makes sense to use a tool like this again. Outside of that, the feedback was overall extremely positive with folks being able to see how this takes a big step in a better direction for the navigation experience. With the more scaled back experience, feedback was limited to two items: desire for a cue for folks to open the sidebar for those who might have it collapsed and curiosity around how sub-menus will be handled. Stay tuned for a more comprehensive call for testing when the feature is further along.

It was exponentially better. Much more in line with my other block and site editor 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. expectations.

@sereedmedia in this comment.

Having some settings or the possibility to edit a menu in the sidebar is a step in the right direction, but it feels crammed and is still way less intuitive than the previous experience. If I want to add a link to a page or a categoryCategory The 'category' taxonomy lets you group posts / content together that share a common bond. Categories are pre-defined and broad ranging., I’d expect an option to choose that, not a custom link block.

@piermario in this comment.

I’m a big fan of anything that makes managing menus easier. This seems MUCH clearer on the steps of dealing with your existing menu and making changes.

@jordesign in this comment.

I wish we’d been able to see what setting up submenus will look like, since I suspect that’ll be one of the biggest remaining sticking points (that and mobile layout, which I’d love to see as well). beyond that, I’m wondering if there’ll be a cue for those who have that sidebar collapsed, so that they know it needs to be popped out to edit the menu items.

@goblinartificer in this comment.

Styles Randomizer

Beyond a few specific pieces of feedback below, most folks found this feature to be neat and easy to use but in some ways lacking in practical application with a few wondering if they would end up using it. On the flip side, others could see how it would speed up site creation for both block themers and end users alike. 

I think it would be more useful if the user could pick between random colors themes (say, pastel, neon, duotone and such). That and allowing only accessible color combination could turn this into an actually useful tool.

@piermario in this comment.

It’s also an opportunity for users who have trouble coming up with color schemes to find something that works faster than using the color sliders or hex values for each element.

@itsjustdj in this comment.

I tried this out on a newly installed theme to customize the style variations, and use it in tandem with Create Block Theme plugin to create custom style and a child themeChild theme A Child Theme is a customized theme based upon a Parent Theme. It’s considered best practice to create a child theme if you want to modify the CSS of your theme. https://developer.wordpress.org/themes/advanced-topics/child-themes/.. This is good. It really speeds things up & definitely useful. Just one note, perhaps the randomizer engine would generate a more contrasting color palette.

@franz00 in this comment.

Clicking it a bunch of times will cycle through various colors. What if I want to go back to the colors I had before clicking the Randomize colors button? It would be nice with a method to go back to the default color palette before I started randomizing the colors.

@paaljoachim in this comment.

Additional related feedback

Some items of feedback didn’t fit in nicely to the specific features being tested but are worth mentioning, namely as they are all repeat enhancement items that have come up before:

I kept unchecking the box to save the template part, but this preference wasn’t remembered the next time I went to save. I felt like it should remember that (at least until I made another edit to that template part).

@clubkert in this comment.

When I viewed a preview of the page in a new tab, it just took me to the home page. Upon looking again, it says that the link is to “view site”, but this was not what I was used to from using this functionality in the page/post editor.

@clubkert in this comment.

Under Styles > Typography > Elements > (choose one) > Line Height, clicking on the “+” will set the value to 0.1 even if a default value exists (eg. 1.5).

@worldomonation  in this comment.

#fse-exploration, #fse-testing-summary