WARNING: What You Need To Know About The New WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg Post Editor Interface
The Gutenberg Editor in WordPress 5.0 has serious flaws if you’re a serious writer and content producer
Today I excitedly downloaded WordPress 5.0 with the much-touted Gutenberg Post Editor, and really looking forward to using what I was sure was going to be a massive upgrade to the classic WordPress editor. Well…trust me when I tell you it was massive, but an upgrade? Hardly.
Prince Charles was talking with some people many years ago, and the subject of the “king of books” the King James Bible was brought up. The prince and the men discussed at length the glorious history of the King James, and the impact it has had upon the world. All agreed it was something quite special.
Then one of the men turned to Prince Charles and asked him what he thought about the new versions, written in “modern English”. The prince thought for a moment and then he said,
“I think they’ve improved it worse”.
I can think of no better description of the new WordPress Gutenberg Editor than to say “they’ve improved it worse”. Gutenberg was designed by people who design responsive websites, and it utilizes something called a “drag-and-drop” interface. This is a great feature when found living inside a WordPress theme. It makes new page creating and updating old ones a breeze.
But what drag-and-drop offers in benefits for theme builds, it takes that away inside an editor where a writer or an author is trying to compose something. As I type what you are reading right now, I am using WordPress 5.0, but have added the Classic plugin to restore the post editor to it’s previous glory. So as I create this article, the layout is nearly identical to how it will look on the front end when view online. This is not what Gutenberg provides.
Twitter users were not happy with Gutenberg today
WHAT WERE YOU PEOPLE THINKING????? I HATE IT!!!! It just became 10 times more difficult to create a post!!!!! I have published just under 7,000 articles in 9 years, and I say it STINKS!!!!! Should have consulted with me first, just went back to 4.9,8. ARRGH!!!!
— Now The End Begins (@NowTheEndBegins) December 7, 2018
Twitter was especially harsh on Gutenberg today. A quick trip to the WordPress channel on Twitter showed that people not liking Gutenberg outpaced people who did like it at about a ten-to-one ratio. Maybe twenty-to-one, maybe more.
The WordPress developers are just that, developers. They are not content creators and writers, as it is obvious in this new editor design. I have spend the better part of 20 years as a UI/UX expert, working on huge multi-million dollar projects at the highest level of the Fortune 500 world. And the first thing that jumps out at me when I look at Gutenberg is how nothing makes sense, nothing is where you would expect it to be.
A hard-and-fast rule that experienced veterans understand is developers shouldn’t design, and designers shouldn’t develop.
Further, instead of a writer-friendly layout that is similar to how it will look when published, Gutenberg forces everything into a narrow, center-column layout that is antithetical to article construction. It is the opposite of what you need to see as you are going through the creation process. I dare say, it actually hinders the creative process of article construction.
So, what should you do now?
WordPress 5.0 is a great update for speed and security, and you should absolutely install it. But unless you want to drive yourself nuts trying to figure out the Gutenberg disaster, install the plugin that restores the post editor to the previous, wonderful version.
You will find it on the main plugins page in your WordPress admin panel, or you can click this link and download it to your computer. Once installed, your site will have the benefits of all the great new goodies in WordPress 5.0, sans the horrible, poorly-designed drag-and-drop Gutenberg editor. Classic Editor is an official WordPress plugin, and you may install it with confidence.
I love WordPress, and design all the sites we do here at Mudflower on the easy-to-use WordPress platform. For my money, there is nothing better, especially when you consider that WordPress is available for free. And I believe with all my heart that the fine folks there will work quickly to correct this issue. Gutenberg can work with drag-and-drop, but my UI/UX training and experience tells me not in its current format.
To everyone at WordPress, I hope you take this critique in the spirit that it is offered. We love you, and need you to continue. But please reach out and contact me if you would like a UI/UX expert, who has also authored nearly 7,000 articles over the past 9 years, to consult with you on the very much needed Gutenberg rebuild.
I would be happy to help!