Opinion: Why WordPress Gutenberg Editor is a Failure


I’ve been using WordPress CMS for more than 10 years now. I’ve seen its evolution from a blogging platform to a fully featured website builder.

In December 2018, WordPress launched Gutenberg editor. The community, including myself, received it with mixed feelings.

On the one hand it looked like something innovative, intended to change the way users create and publish content, on the other hand it seemed like an incomplete tool trying to improve something that was already working great.

I’m now writing this post using Gutenberg editor and there is nothing particularly wrong with it. However, I sometimes find it difficult to use and confusing, even after using it on a daily basis. It simply doesn’t provide the user experience I’m used to.

Overall, I don’t like Gutenberg. Let me explain why. There are so many little things that simply don’t work as required. Here are a few examples:

  • The UI is not intuitive – important controls are hidden, there are too many useless options, the icons are confusing and not representative. I don’t need spotlight mode, top toolbar, cog icons and other useless features.
gutenberg confusing icons
gutenberg hidden options
  • I don’t need the Edit/Select mode – in previous versions I could select the content from all blocks and copy or move them. Now I have to change the mode from Edit to Select and then I’ll be able to do the same thing.
gutenberg edit-select options
  • It’s not front-end editing – you add blocks in your back-end and preview them in the front-end. There is no way to edit blocks and other elements in the front end (except using the fullscreen mode which is not accurate).

  • Block/pattern editing is a nightmare – if you’ve ever used Elementor or any other decent page builder, you’ll understand what I mean. You can easily adjust a simple block like image or button, but when you have a more complex block, things get really complicated. It’s super hard to adjust elements and editing becomes a difficult task.
gutenberg block-pattern editing
  • Embeds are useless – what’s the point to embed a Youtube video if you can’t adjust the width of the video or set up the autoplay option. You will anyway need to include the video via custom code.

  • Images – you can’t simply drag and drop multiple images at once, as in Classic Editor. Now, you have to create a gallery, select your images, post the gallery and adjust the columns. Used to be simpler and more efficient.

  • Issues – if something goes wrong, let’s say you create an HTML block and your code is not valid, WordPress will notify you and give you options to Resolve the issue. Why? I don’t need to convert this block, I just want to edit the HTML code, which is not possible without converting the block.
gutenberg resolve block
  • It’s not drag & drop – you can only move blocks up and down and there is no way to drag and drop a block into a column or another block. The interface is clunky and the block toolbar flashes chaotically if you don’t select it to be on top.

I like changes, but why did they change something that was working really well? Looks like they are pushing this product further, without listening to the community and in my opinion it gets worse.

Thank God we have the Classic Editor and can use it for now. I hope that Gutenberg will improve and the team will make it more user friendly and easy to use. For now, I will never use it to create new pages or more complex layouts. I think that it’s way behind Elementor and other page builders.

So, what do you think? Is Gutenberg a failure or a success? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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