WordPress Designers Seek Feedback on Navigation Menu Block Prototype

Creating a block for navigation menus is one of the nine projects Matt Mullenweg identified as a priority for 2019, and the future of WordPress menus is starting to take shape. Designers working on the new Navigation Menu block have published a prototype this week with detailed notes on how users will interact with the block.

The proposed solution would automatically generate a menu and users would able to delete menu items using the keyboard or block settings ellipsis menu. Individual menu items can be moved right or left and more advanced options for reordering or nesting would be hidden behind the block inspector.

Adding a menu item opens a search bar that would give quick access to all the content in the site. From here users can create a new page or use advanced mode to bulk add more pages. The designs aim to hide most of the more complex tasks behind the block inspector.

Reading through the list of interactions this design is expected to cover, it’s clear that navigation menus are one of the most challenging interfaces to bring into the block editor. One of the principles the designs are based on is that “The editing state of the block itself should mimic as closely as possible the front-end output.” However, it’s difficult to fully visualize how this will work. Navigation menus are most likely to be used in the header and/or footer of a website, but it’s not yet clear how themes will reveal a navigation area to Gutenberg.

There are still many questions to be answered and the design team is seeking feedback on the prototype. Comments are open on the post and feedback on more specific interactions can be left on the relevant GitHub tickets or in Figma. The tickets related to the navigation block discussion are listed in the proposal. The design team is currently working on usability testing and aims to have a final design by the end of March.

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4 Comments


  1. Welcome to the world of generic design, where uniqueness is not valued, where design is disassociated from business identity and its power to ramp up communication. Parity sites. Ninety five percent of the web is unseen, so why not? In the end, the winner will be Matt.

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  2. I keep losing the ability to see my Tags and categories. I am not opposed to the block style, but not being able to see my tags to know if they have been accepted is very frustrating.

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  3. Personally, in my opinion, this menu needs to be drag and drop. I think most users will expect this to happen. Most users that I have seen using Gutenberg have found it confusing and when working with blocks would naturally expect drag and drop functionality.

    Additionally, where would you add any custom CSS styles, as this does not seem clear currently? Or how would I add a search bar?

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  4. I’m finally figuring out the navigation menu and have it int the right header. I’m just learning WordPress. I’m using Genesis Framework and a Child Frame. As a beginner I wish there was some design mode way to change colors in my theme. I had done my websites in Microsoft FrontPage2000 which is obsolete and my updated self hosting doesn’t support it. I miss a lot of the features and control of my pages I had. I had built it with tables instead of containers. That was a huge leap for me to wrap my thinking around. I am liking my updated look with a parallex home page. I will be having to learn some coding at least as time goes on. The websites listed below are the ones I have to get up in WordPress by March 23rd. Making progress. I’m also working on 2 others.

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