With the release of WordPress 6.3 in early August came the official end to the site editor (phase two) of the Gutenberg project.
And to be honest, the site editor has improved so much since it was first introduced in WordPress core back with the 5.9 release in 2021. It’s something that can be used on production sites, and it’s a great way for users to build their websites visually with no code.
But it’s still not without its faults (as you can probably tell by looking at the GitHub issues page for the project).
And as someone who has spent the past six months or so working on developing a suite of WordPress block themes and trying to make the site editor experience better with a blocks plugin, I have a lot of thoughts when it comes to the site editor.
So here are some things I hope to see improved on as the Gutenberg project moves into phase three.
Better Responsive Controls
My biggest issue with the site editor at the moment is the responsive controls.
Yes, I know about intrinsic design, and I’ve read many a developer blog post about them both on the official WordPress developer blog and other places. And it all makes sense to me, and I’ve added that to the Crosswinds Framework.
But my biggest issue with responsiveness is controlling columns as the screen size shrinks.
Right now, there’s no way to control the number of columns for the columns block or the post template block at smaller screen sizes. All that happens is that at a certain break point, it all goes down to one column.
That results in some weird looking columns if you have more than two column with either block.
Right now, I’ve solved that in the Crosswinds Framework by adding CSS to make the columns in the columns block look better in those middle screen sizes. And I’ve added options through the Crosswinds Blocks plugin for controlling the number of columns in the post template block on tablet and mobile screen sizes.
But I would really love to see a similar set of controls in WordPress core to make things easier for everyone.
More Inline Options
Another thing that would be awesome to have in the site (and really block) editor is the ability to have inline blocks or options.
Let me describe what I mean. So say I have a button block and I, as a user, want to add a little arrow icon next to the text for the button but inside the button itself. Right now, I’m pretty sure there isn’t a WordPress core way to do that without writing additional CSS.
Or maybe I want to have some sort of screen reader text in the button itself that’s hidden with a screen reader class.
I think technically both might be possible by editing things with HTML, but it would be nice for non-technical users to be able to do that straight up in the editor without those extra HTML steps.
As a web developer at a university that has to have accessibility at the core of every website, I would like to see a continue improvement on accessibility in the site and block editors.
I know that a lot of people have worked on making things more accessible since the block editor came into WordPress core four-and-a-half years ago, and they have been amazing. It’s definitely not easy work, but it is definitively appreciated.
I just hope that as we continue on with phase three of the project and focus on collaboration that accessibility continues to be improved across all of WordPress, but especially the site and block editors.
More of the Block Visibility Plugin Features in Core
Finally, I just have to say that I would love to see more of the Block Visibility plugin features rolled into core.
Nick Diego has done an amazing job on this plugin, and his move to make the previously paid features of the plugin free was incredible.
I would just like to see some of those features moved into site and block editors. It doesn’t have to be everything, but just enough to where it can give users more control over their site without writing additional CSS or needing to dive into the code too much.
Honestly, if all it was was allowing blocks to be hidden at various screen sizes, that would be a big improvement for me.
But just a little bit more control over when blocks appear or disappear would be great.
I know that work will continue on the site editor even as phase three and collaboration take more of a center stage now.
I just really hope that these things make it into the next few releases to really be able to take the site editor to the next level.
There’s already so much promise with the editor, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.