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.


5 responses to “WordPress Opens Up More Channels for Gutenberg Testing and Feedback”

  1. Thanks, Sarah. I agree that we need more feedback from a broad range of users. It seems difficult to get feedback from those who are using WordPress but not actively following developments. Putting out a call for input probably won’t be sufficient.

    So, maybe using people who interact with lots of users in the various segments would provide a proxy. It should be possible for the Guttenberg team to reach out to people who are training new users and others who work extensively with designers, for example, to get input.

  2. I’ll go one step further and say Gutenberg needs to be surfaced as a beta feature to all WordPress users through an admin widget with an easy in-app method for providing feedback. This is standard practice in large software applications, usually marketed as “Try the next version of…” or similar.

    Gutenberg is a breaking change both on the UX side and the code side and every WordPress user needs to be made aware of it and enabled to provide feedback about how it impacts their work.

    In addition, we should actively engage UX, IxD, Content Strategy, accessibility, and other subject matter experts outside the WordPress island and request feedback. Projects like ours suffer from a lack of independent analysis, and Gutenberg is so significant a change that not seeking this input would be irresponsible. In my opinion.

    • I definitely agree with this. The current feedback and decision process is focusing too much on developers and people who are familiar with core development or active in the WP community.

      It’s crucial to get end users on board. They are the ones who need to use Gutenberg on a daily basis once it’s in core, without even being aware of it at the moment. I already suggested in a blog post a few days ago that Gutenberg feedback needs to be gathered from the WP dashboard.

      In addition, today we sent a newsletter to 8,431 subscribers asking for testing and feedback on Gutenberg. Most of these folks are end users and hopefully they will provide valuable feedback to the developers, from a user’s point of view.


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