A vision to redesign the editing and publishing flow in WordPress began around 2017. This endeavor was named: Gutenberg. I became the third Design Lead for Phase 2 of this product in January 2019. During this process I’ve lead the improvements and expansion of the block editor which is not only integrated in WordPress Core, but expanding to become a full site editing experience.
WordPress hadn’t been updated in a long while. It was growing in market share, but so were competitors. Slowly and surely, WordPress was on the verge of being disrupted. Unfortunately, this disruption could also be coming from companies with proprietary software that owned their user’s data. Open source software like WordPress needed to disrupt itself.
I became the Lead Designer on this project after Gutenberg was merged into Core. My focus was to now improve the editor and communicate the benefits to users to help shift their paradigm from the older content editing flow to the new block editor paradigm.
When making changes that effect 1/3 of all websites in the world, there’s a lot of checks and balances. While we maintained a bi-weekly release cycle for the plugin where new improvements were constantly being merged in, the plugin would only get merged into the Core software every 4 months with a new WordPress release.
The solution was a steady process. Gutenberg improved tremendously in a number of ways. New blocks were added, animation was implemented, accessibility was improved, and it is becoming a full site editing experience now. My interim as the Lead Designer will end with Phase 2, and I’ll pass the leadership on to another contributor. But Gutenberg won’t stop. It has successfully disrupted WordPress and pushed this software into a competitive advantage in the world.