UX Designer, 15+ Years of Print and Web Design Expertise
November 26th, 2018
Big news for WordPress users! Gutenberg, the biggest expected change to WordPress 5.0, rolls out very soon and you need to be prepared.
The new WordPress editor gets its namesake from Johannes Gutenberg, who is known for printing the first major book using mass-produced movable metal type over 550 years ago - the Gutenberg Bible. Funny enough—I actually live in the same city where this 1445 masterpiece lives, but I digress.
While the new editor is not quite as revolutionary as the printing press, it is a game changer for WordPress users.
It’s Not Just an Editor
The sole purpose of Gutenberg is to simplify website creation and editing for the non-technical user.
For instance, right now the only way to see what a page or post will actually look like in WordPress is to click the preview button that will bring you to the front end in a separate tab to see what the user will see.
This has always created an extra step. Not only is this annoying, it’s inefficient.
Fortunately, that will all change with Gutenberg.
The new editor is not changing the way WordPress functions; it is revolutionizing the way website creators interact with it.
Daniel Escardo, an IMPACT developer explains:
“It shouldn’t truly affect the functionality that powers the really custom sites but it will afford a little more control for end users to add content and organize it in blocks.
For not super-custom websites with a lot of custom post types, it should enhance the user experience.”
In other words, if you’re a marketer with very little code knowledge, or you need to make urgent changes when your web developer is out sick. Gutenberg will make doing so a lot less intimidating.
How Will Gutenberg Work?
Gutenberg will rely on blocks (or modules). Every aspect of a page will be a distinct, separate block, that you can simply drag and drop to where you like on a page.
There will be blocks for content, images, quotes, paragraphs, hero images, galleries, audio, video, headings, embeds, custom codes, separators, and buttons among other things.
You don’t need to know HTML or be able to write shortcodes. You can control the front end and back end of a website entirely from a single console, and similar to HubSpot, what you see is what you actually get.
But developers, fear not! You will still be able to create customized reusable blocks using HTML5.
Adrian Morelos, another IMPACT developer shares:
“The current visual editor [in WordPress] demands a lot from non-programmers to use the access codes and HTML to make things work.
Gutenberg’s goal is to make this easier, especially for those who are just starting out on WordPress. Other platforms like Medium or Ghost provide a unique, [clean] experience for writers and Gutenberg is the WordPress’s answer to that.”
Sounds Great, But Are There Any Problems We Should Worry About?
Of course! Big ones! This change will likely cause big headaches for developers, unfortunately.
There are so many themes and plugins that will have to be updated to be compatible with the new system. Many sites will likely break in the interim.
How Can You Avoid It?
The best way to stop your site from breaking when Gutenberg launches (and this is important), is to enable the Classic Editor pluginnow and configure it to revert to the old editor.
Anyone Can Use Gutenberg, but Should They?
It is true that the new editor will make websites even easier to create on WordPress for marketers who are not the most tech savvy.
It is also true, however, that without basic UX knowledge, your site may still look like crap. (Pardon my French.)
Whether you’re working on WordPress, HubSpot or another platform, it is better to seek out an experienced web designer and developer for your project. (Hint: Talk to us.)
When Johannes Gutenberg started printing his Bible, he couldn’t have known he was creating a new normal for publishing.
WordPress developers, on the other hand, are strategically making improvements to an already great system and have a vision for continuing to make digital publishing even better. It will be exciting to see how this change pans out!