WordPress Opens Up More Channels for Gutenberg Testing and Feedback

photo credit: Vojtech Okenka

Gutenberg testing is in full swing and the WordPress Testing Handbook has a new page to help users get started. It clearly defines the purpose of the new block editor as not just for writing content but also for creating layouts. Users are invited to offer general feedback or engage in specific task-based tests.

The new testing page erases boundaries for feedback by allowing users to submit their thoughts and suggestions using an online form. Previously, the only way to offer feedback was by creating an issue on GitHub or contacting the contributors on WordPress' #core-editor Slack channel. 

At this stage in Gutenberg development, it may be difficult to discern what is a bug versus what is an unpolished feature. WordPress is using Storybook, an interactive development and testing environment for React and React-Native UI components, to create Gutenberg's documentation. However, this collection of documents focuses more on technical details for developers. The plugin's changelog may provide some information about which features should be working. Before reporting an issue in the feedback form, it's a good idea to review the project's GitHub issues to see if it has already been logged.

Testing Gutenberg Outside of the WordPress' Developer Community is Critical to Its Success

A few weeks ago I helped one of my friends migrate her personal blog from Blogger to WordPress. She had put off setting up her new site for months after checking out the admin and getting overwhelmed. Getting familiar with the post editor was enough of a hurdle, without piling on the idea of widgets and shortcodes and different screens and methods for inserting different types of content. The new editor can solve this problem with a unified method of creating content and placing it on the page.

Gutenberg has the potential to make WordPress content editing and layout building more user-friendly but only if it gets into the hands of non-technical users and those who are considering a switch from other platforms. WordPress' recurring failure to collect feedback beyond its own development community needs to be addressed if Gutenberg is going to become a product that will attract non-WordPress users.

As the plugin is still in the very early beta stage, this is a crucial point in time when feedback can have a big impact on shaping Gutenberg's development. Including non-technical users as early in the process as possible, as the new testing page attempts to do, should provide a better overall picture of Gutenberg's usability.

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