There was a post published on WP Tavern this morning about the difficulty of the simple task of placing a left or right aligned image in Gutenberg—something that seems trivial in the classic editor.
I’m not trying to pick on Jeff for writing this post, but more wanted to address what seems like a common trend in complaints about the new editor. That the equivalent process in the classic editor was faster and required fewer steps. I think in most cases this isn’t true.
Comparing The Process
In the case of inserting a left or right aligned image, there are a dozen different ways to do it in Gutenberg. One of which is what Jeff highlighted in the post—adding it to the end and then moving the blocks around—but there are simpler methods.
The easiest involves just 2 steps:
- Drag an image into editor where you want it to go.
- Click align right.
You can drag images directly onto the classic editor too, but it involves more steps:
- Place the cursor where you want it.
- Drag the image onto the editor.
- Click Select Image.
- Click on the image you just inserted.
- Click Align right.
The entire editor is the drop zone for dragging, so you can’t drag it straight to where you want. You either need to place your cursor in the location you want it to end up, or drop it and then move it later once it is placed.
If you prefer to click specifically where you want the image to go, a similar method in Gutenberg actually requires one fewer step:
- Click the block inserter above the paragraph you want to insert the image before.
- Select the image block.
- Drag the image onto the block.
- Click align right.
These examples both use new images being inserted, but let’s say the image is already uploaded and you just need to select from the library.
It turns out it’s the exact same number of steps in both the classic editor and Gutenberg—both involve 6 clicks.
There are even more methods beyond these. Global block inserter, keyboard shortcuts, etc. None of them are particularly complex once you’re aware of them, but some are a little less obvious (like keyboard shortcuts) until you’ve learned how to do it once.
All New Interfaces Require Training
I’ve trained a lot of non-technical people on WordPress through the years and the first time they encountered the classic editor they had to learn what the various controls were and how they worked—especially if you have plugins adding things to it. The method from the classic editor feels intuitive now because there are years of training in using that method.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is a new interface and there will be a learning phase. And that’s perfectly ok.
The Complexity Argument
I won’t argue that Gutenberg isn’t more complex than the classic editor when viewed at the macro level. It is! But that’s because it can do so much more. It’s the first step in setting up for the long term goal of the project, which will simplify overall site creation and management.
But on a micro-level, many similar actions being done with the classic editor actually require the same or more steps than Gutenberg. It just doesn’t necessarily feel that way because we’re so familiar with doing it the old way.
Many of the WordPress workflows we know by heart are changing, but I feel it’s a pretty easy argument to make that dragging the image directly to where you want it is actually more intuitive to someone experiencing WordPress for the first time.