Illustration of graphic designer working with new Wordpress Gutenberg editor.

The Good, The Bad, The Gutenberg Editor

WordPress’s Future with the Gutenberg Update

At its core WordPress is about publishing and writing content. The WordPress team wants it to be the best editing interface available. They understand it’s a competitive market, with other options like SquareSpace, Wix, and the like. So WordPress was hard at work on developing Gutenberg — its code name for the future in WordPress website editing. It will be here starting November 27th, 2018, so get ready. Let’s talk about it.

What are the advantages of Gutenberg?

  • Beautiful content writing interface. It’s slick, clean, and modern.
  • Superior editing capabilities with “Block” concept. A “block” is a distinct piece of content (such as a paragraph, image, or bullet list).
  • More customization capability. Plugins can define their own content blocks. For example, an event calendar plugin could allow you to place a calendar anywhere you want on your page.
  • Increased personalization capability. This makes it easier to meet the unique needs of the individual user based on specific situation or context of use, reducing the need for “shortcodes.” Shortcodes look like [this-is-a-shortcode] and allow dynamic content to be inserted into a page.
  • Time-saving reusable blocks. Reusable blocks can be used for things like buttons or callouts. Update the settings of a reusable block and it will update everywhere.

How difficult will the Gutenberg transition be?

  • There will be a learning curve. It will take time for people to become familiar with the new editor and feel comfortable using it.
  • It’s still a bit quirky. The Gutenberg team has been working very hard to eliminate bugs. But, there are still quirks that can make the new editor difficult to use.
  • Design options are a bit limited for now. Although new features will likely be added over time, the editor is fairly limited. As far as the types of layouts that can be created, other WordPress page builders — such as Divi, BeaverBuilder and Visual Composer — are much more powerful.
  • WordPress developers may find it challenging at first. The new editor is built in Javascript. It has a significantly steeper learning curve compared to the old editor. Developers who want to build their own blocks or implement customizations will need time. This is not necessarily a bad thing — it will encourage developers to extend their skillsets.
  • Gutenberg is being released with known accessibility issues. This means anyone tasked with using WP as their job, who uses Assistive Technology, will find Gutenberg to still have accessibility issues. Depending on how critical this is to your office, you may need to alert your IT and HR, so they may make necessary accommodations.

How can we minimize friction during this transition?

  • Don’t anticipate the worst. People have been asking, “Will my site break?” At the moment, we don’t expect the new editor to break existing sites, although there may be a few exceptions.
  • If accessibility is an issue, there are work-arounds. Anyone with a disabled team member who manages WP sites is encouraged to either not install Gutenberg, or use one the of the plugins that disables it.
  • Take time to adjust. The new editor can be disabled — eventually, though, that will no longer be an option.
  • Educate yourself and your team now. We encourage people to start reviewing the new editor now. Watch the three review videos linked below to get a better understanding —

Gutenberg And The WordPress Of Tomorrow

Getting Started With Gutenberg WordPress Tutorial — You Might Just Like It!

Wordpress Gutenberg Demo — The Biggest Change In The History Of WordPress?

Currently, we recommend making the switch as soon as your team feels comfortable.

You and your team can start getting comfortable right now. WordPress has an interactive demo set up where you can actually try out the editor. It can be found at this link. For our clients who would like to experience Gutenberg workflows in their current work setting, we’ll be copying their website into a test area. This simulation of running through their typical tasks should make them feel more comfortable before going live with Gutenberg.

Gutenberg will be available when Wordpress 5.0 launches. After the initial transition, we believe this will be a change that helps you save time and allows you to manage your content in more dynamic ways.



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