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WordPress Releases Gutenberg 13.7 – Focused on Workflow and Better UI

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WordPress Releases Gutenberg 13.7 - Focused on Workflow and Better UI

WordPress unveiled Gutenberg 13.7 which contains numerous refinements that improve the workflow, provide more granular control within the full site editor, and numerous improvements to the user interface.

Like any other release from WordPress, this is a cumulative update and not a whole new experience.

That said, the editing experience should feel more intuitive and natural.

Block Locking Offers More Granular Control

13.7 contains further improvements to the ability to lock block elements to prevent them from changing.

The newest improvement is that users now have the ability to apply the lock feature to block elements contained within a block that is being locked.

By selecting a toggle, the lock feature that’s applied to a block can be inherited by the blocks that it contains.

Block Locking Menu

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Selecting to lock a block spawns another menu that provides options for more granular locking control over the blocks contained within the block that is being locked.

Gutenberg block lock modal

Closeup of Block Lock Modal

closeup view of block lock modal

Improved Popup Modal Menus

Popup menus, called Modals, can spawn on top of the page that is being worked on from which various changes can be made, like updating preferences.

What this change does is to apply a blur to the document that is beneath the menu.

Blurring the page underneath the modal popup menu improves the focus.

A concern was raised about this new feature (while it was still under development) that was concerned with the potential for the user to lose context of what was being changed because of the blurring.

They suggested that in some instances, blurring the background would cause the user to be unable to see what was being changed, thus removing the context.

The person wrote:

“I just encountered a potential usability issue where there is an element outside of the modal that is contextually related to the content of the modal.

For example, if you go to adjust an item in the List View to apply or remove a Lock, with the modal open, you can no longer see which (particular) block you have highlighted…”

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The resolution to that issue was the observation that if the context needed to be kept in view then the modal (popup) menu is not the best user interface. This meant that blurring won’t be a problem because modals aren’t used in situations where the underlying document needs to be referenced by the user.

“…generally speaking if you need to observe both the modal contents and the rest of the UI together, then a modal is probably not going to be the best choice.”

Example of Blur Behind the Modal

Screenshot of new modal

Template System Offers More Design Control

This change provides the user with the ability to create more templates that can be specific to individual categories, tags, pages, and custom post types.

According to WordPress:

“For instance, you can use a different template for all personal blog posts, a second one for all developer related blog posts, and a third one for all travel posts.

If your site registered additional post types, like books, or products, your editor instance will automatically list them in the selection box for the Add New template button.”

This is a welcome addition because it removes a glaring limitation and extends the ability to make better websites when utilizing the Gutenberg full site editor.

Improvements to Workflow

There are other improvements that are intended to improve and streamline the workflow by providing additional options.

Among these changes is the ability to select a featured image from the media placeholder instead of uploading or choosing from the media library.

Screenshot of Featured Improved Modal

Screenshot of Featured Image Modal

The reason for this improvement is documented in the pull request:

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“This PR allows supporting media blocks to offer users the option to start with featured image from the placeholder state.

Why
To avoid having to pick another media to only then get the option and because the featured image is now hidden behind the “Add media” block control in the media replace flow.”

New: Time to Read

The ability to check how long it will take to read the document is also a new feature that was added.

This new feature is added to the information bar in the Post Editor screen that currently provides feedback on the number of words, characters, heading elements used, number of paragraphs, and number of blocks.

The amount of time it takes an average reader to read a document is highly useful information.

Screenshot of Updated Information Bar

Screenshot of Time to Read Information Bar

Sidebar Settings Panel User Interface Improved

Another example of the improved user interface is in the sidebar settings panel, which gets an update to make it easier to use.

The layout of the settings panel is more intuitive and easy to scan and choose from the menu selections.

Screenshot of Before and After

Screenshot of Improved User Interface

WordPress described the improved interface:

“The result is a cleaner, more organized display that should help you more readily access all the important information about your post/page at a glance.”

So Many Improvements

The new Gutenberg 13.7 is a cumulative update and not a radical change from the previous version. The improvements might not jump out but they will contribute to a more natural editing experience.

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This update touches on nearly every area of the Gutenberg editor, from new components like a color picker, improved document settings, a better full-site editing experience, and numerous bug fixes.

Citations

Read the Full WordPress Announcement

What’s new in Gutenberg 13.7?

Read the Block Lock Pull Request

Block Locking: Add the ‘Apply to inner blocks’ option #41876

Background Blur on Modals

Update the modal design #40781

Start With Featured Image Pull Request

Start with featured image in media placeholder #41722

Featured image by Shutterstock/Vulp
Modified by author

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Aftermath Of August 8 Google Outage

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Aftermath Of August 8 Google Outage

Google experienced a major outage this week that affected Search and Maps. Publishers and SEOs also reported problems with search indexing.

The problem seems to largely be resolved, although earlier today there were still some pockets reporting ongoing issues.

Ranking Disruptions

Many people reported disruptions in rankings, and some thought it was due to a ranking update.

One panicked individual posted a discussion on WebmasterWorld about lost rankings:

“I’ve noticed something that really worries me. Some of the main keywords got dropped from 1-2nd place to 10th.

This happened overnight, yesterday everything was fine. Today what I see is that keywords are going from top positions to the bottom of 1st page.

The reason is quite obvious at least in my eyes – the displayed URLs are not relevant. For example, our top ranking page for many commercial keywords was changed (by Google) with a page that is almost not relevant.

…Something else I see is that when using site:sitename.com the indexed pages dropped again overnight from ~230 to 169! The home page in the local language does not show anywhere.”

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On August 10, 2022, the person who started the discussion reported:

“Things seem to be back to normal at least for our website.”

Many others on Twitter and Facebook are also saying no further issues are lingering around.

Indexing Issues

An area that the mainstream media didn’t report was an indexing issue. Many in the search community posted about problems with indexing.

Marie Haynes asked if anyone was still seeing problems with indexing:

Some reported that things were back to normal or beginning to return:

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Google uses data centers all around the world, and changes introduced to search have historically taken time to spread worldwide.

Google Apologizes

The Guardian reported that a Google spokesperson apologized for the outage and explained it was due to a software update (that caused unintended consequences).

“We’re aware of a software update issue that occurred late this afternoon Pacific Time and briefly affected availability of Google search and Maps,” they said.

“We apologise for the inconvenience. We worked to quickly address the issue and our services are now back online.”

Google rankings and indexing issues should be resolved now; if they haven’t, give it a little more time.

If they haven’t changed by the end of the week, it is possible that it could be unrelated to the outage because coincidences do happen.

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Featured image by Shutterstock/Bilanol

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