Oh my Gutenberg ! What is this?

by Despoina

Ok, so I have been postponing the writing of my impressions from the Digital Thinkers Conference by Awwwards for like a week now. One reason is that when I came back from Amsterdam I got straight back to work and yes, there was a lot to catch up with. Also, in order to write that post I had to go through my notes, my crappy iPhone pictures and try to write something meaningful and fun. You know, like I always do.

Then there was the important WordPress 5.1 update that kinda held me back and changed my plans. I mean I knew it was coming, I’ve been reading about the introduction of a new editor in WordPress for months but I chose to ignore it like the entire world ignores climate change. But when it comes to a major WordPress update, unlike what we do with our planet, it was time to face the music and take some action. I could no longer postpone the inevitable. So I took a deep breath, installed a local copy of my website on my computer, took a sip of wine and prepared myself for the worse while I run the update.

The good thing about this, is that everything went smoothly (yay!) and I did not have to worry about lost content or spending hours fixing styles and recovering data. So after that I dived in deeper. I opened up a post I previously saved as a draft in order to see the famous Gutenberg editor in action, play around with it, experiment and……


Well yeah, it was not love at first sight. I mean who likes change? No one! Think about the last time a famous logo got revamped like ZARA, Slack and Instagram as well as changes in entire interfaces such as FaceBook, Gmail and Linkedin. They are all met with plenty outrageous and some humorous comments by their end users

Change is hard but…. you adapt

The truth is, change is hard and we believe that we are not meant for it because we have our ways and habits and we do not want to be forced into something new just because some company decided it is so. Do you remember the numerous changes FaceBook applied in their news feed ? If not I am sure you remember the recent update of your Gmail inbox…. people were proclaiming that they would leave never to return!!!! But on the other hand, do you remember how both FaceBook and Gmail looked before the update? Be honest….. grab a pen and paper and try to draw it… You can’t because you do not remember! Why? Well because once change is here most of us are just adapting way faster than we think. We find our way around and we make it work.

Naturally change is not always good or spot on. A team of a major company such as Google or WordPress can work hard to give their users a better experience but the result can be disappointing sometimes and it can cost A LOT….from end users losing faith to the brand to really leaving and never returning…. I know the struggle and it is real!

But let’s not forget that we can all contribute with useful feedback in order to make things better! So here is my little contribution to the recent WordPress change

The things I like in this new editor:

😀 Cleaner look and feel

😀 Important information moved and are more emphasised in the top header such as ‘Save’ and ‘Preview’ but also a way to view your post’s outline and structure

😀 The possibility to instantly apply style to text. Yes better than before

😀 The possibility to switch to Draft!!!! Did that exist before? I don’t know, don’t care I am loving it

The things that made me frown:

🤬 Why oh why do I have to scroll so much?! I love the new minimal look and feel but the margins on the main content and the right tool bar is impossible! I used to add a post cover photo and tags in like two steps, now it feels that it takes for ever

🤬 Changing from a Paragraph to a Heading….surprisingly tough

🤬 Insert a block under an HTML block is just not intuitive… sorry!

🤬 The focus on the active block… It may seem like a nice touch but I would love to have freedom in editing whatever part of the post I like, when I like it without that extra click. The focus on the active block does not allow me to see the post as a whole

🤬 What about all the page builders and editors???? I get it. This editor is in a way WordPress’ answer to all these external page builders but a major change like this is like giving the middle finger to the thousands of people that use them … I opened up one of the pages that I build with such a page builder and it did not look good child. In the upcoming days I will see how to tackle this aspect…. ughhhh more work…..why?????

My Conclusion

I obviously did not absorb the change yet and I feel rusty using this new way of writing posts. I was curious to see if I was the only one and how other WordPressers felt about the change but a quick search about the matter came up with tons of plugins to help you revert back to the old editor…. (shocker) Anyway, taking a step back and just adding a plugin is not my style as I explained before …. I am looking forward to getting used to the new editor and finding solutions for the challenges. Not really looking forward to the time it will take to be honest but yeah…. that’s change let’s see where it can take us!

unsplash-logoVictoriano Izquierdo

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