Ross Wintle recently wrote an article about who the new WordPress editor has been created for, and it got me thinking.
I’ve talked a lot, in past newsletters, about how people are disappointed in the direction the new WordPress editor has taken; and I’ve said a few times that I think the negative opinions largely come from developers as opposed to bloggers and content managers.
What Ross is suggesting is that bloggers are exactly the people the new editor is being built for. Developers are not the audience. Sure, they’re important, but they (we) are not the end user, and so our opinion matters less than that of the less technical users.
I think this is a really good distinction. This would explain why a lot of the feedback offered was seemingly ignored. Multiple developers said that the feedback was heard, and they definitely addressed many of the issues raised, but it was always built with the end user in mind. It’s just that we weren’t told who the end users were.
In my opinion one of the biggest problems with the development of Gutenberg was poor communication. WordPress is developed in the open, but you have to follow conversations that are split across Slack, Github, Trac, and more. It’s not easy.
Recently more has been done with the Make blogs, with more frequent development updates and this is a great improvement. If this had been started a year ago then I think the negativity would have been reduced. But there needs to be more clarity too.
There should be a proper brief that everyone is working towards. With user personas (or at least a target audience), and goals, and all the things that clearly show time and thought has gone into making this. That it’s not just being made up as we go along.
I’m sure that a lot of these things have been done, but I can’t find any reference to them publicly. If the what and why were clearer, then there would be something to refer back to when developers inevitably ask “why have you done this?”.