Gutenberg is the new WordPress 5.0 that is enabled by default. The editor is based on a completely different concept from the Classical Editor, but this can create issues for the user.
While the editor does have a few pros, it can cause usability issues for many of you, especially if you are a novice. We’ll first see how the Gutenberg Editor is different, and then we will quickly review some of the associated problems with this new editor and what you can do about them.
What Makes the Gutenberg Editor Different?
The concept is what sets Gutenberg and the Classic WordPress editor apart. The previous editor could only be used for editing the content, but Gutenberg is designed for content creation. The Editor features blocks which include all the elements – so basically, the headings, paragraphs, images, quotes and everything else is separated by distinguished blocks.
Traditionally, editing content on a WP site was more like editing plain text and images. If complex content had to be put on a page, short codes were utilized, but this complex content could only be edited elsewhere on the WP site through the Admin menu. That’s not the case anymore. The Gutenberg Editor allows you to edit any kind of content.
Earlier you would have added multi column layouts and full screen images only through the HTML editor, not the Classic Editor. If 3rd party page builders allowed these features to be implemented, it was only through complex short codes. But now these layouts are supported within the blocks of the new editor. Even themes and plug-ins can have their own blocks, which extends the basic capabilities.
So What Are the Problems?
The new Editor is completely different, so there are many usability issues, starting with the interface itself, which is strikingly different from the previous editor. It will take some time to get used to it.
1. The Nested Block Interface
Like we said, everything in the new editor works in blocks. Some block options are located in the sidebar, but all others are listed together on the context menu. So you will not find them instantly unless you know exactly where they are.
While the blocks can be nested into one another if desired, it makes the entire editor fidgety. Accessing the inner blocks becomes quite difficult then, especially if the block is a paragraph block. Assume that you put in a paragraph block in a block for container.
You then move to another block and start editing, which leaves the paragraph block empty. Accessing this empty block is nothing short of a nightmare and will waste a good percentage of your time. Rather than doing this from the editor itself, go to the HTML code, find this particular empty paragraph and enter some content.
Now, when you’ll view the draft in Gutenberg editor, you’ll have something through which you can select the paragraph.
2. Unavailability of Some Previous Features
The previous editor has some useful features that are no longer available such as the custom meta fields. As a solution, you can switch back to the previous editor, but that also means missing out on new features. So a better solution might be to work with WordPress development services, and they’ll help you out.
3. Updated Plug-Ins
The plug-ins must have already been updated by the authors before you can switch to Gutenberg. So basically, you can either uninstall the plug-ins before switching or simply wait for the author to update them.
How often do you use shortcuts to move from one part of the document to another? We use them every time! But unfortunately, we can’t use all shortcuts with Gutenberg Editor. Shortcuts like Ctrl + A may work with the new editor, but Ctrl + Home doesn’t. Similarly, the previous editor allowed you to create a second heading by using Alt + Shift + 2. This also doesn’t work anymore, and the heading option has to be selected from the format bar.
5. Word Count
The previous editor showed the word count right at the bottom, but that is not the case with the new one though. Rather, you’ll have to click the new Information button at the top, which will show you the total number of words, paragraphs and blocks.
How Can You Resolve the Problems?
Switch Back to the Classic Old Editor
The best way to avoid problems with the Gutenberg editor is to simply switch back to the old one that you so dearly love. Install the Classic Editor plug-in, which when activated, allows you to disable Gutenberg. If you want, you can keep both the editors as well. You can also install plug-ins that disable the new editor.
Learn the Features
WordPress didn’t just launch Gutenberg editor for nothing. Yes, there are certain issues right now, but you can work around them. And the best way to do that is by learning how to use the editor. Once you get used to it, the issues won’t really appear to be ‘issues’ anymore.
Review Every Page
Ask professional WordPress development services to review each page before you make the switch. This will ensure that the update does not break the layout of your current site.
Deploy in a Testing Environment First
Ideally, it is best to move to the Gutenberg Editor in a testing environment first before deploying it on the production server. That way, you’ll know if your website is working fine. Plus, you can learn how to use the editor during this phase.
What’s the Best Way Forward?
Ask reliable WordPress website development services to perform the update for you. They’ll fix everything and make sure your site is working. Some of these services might even train you on how to use the new editor, which should save time at your end.
Talking to WordPress website development services can help you prevent issues with Gutenberg Editor as well as with WP 5.0 update. So do have a word with them before trying anything on your own.