GutenTalks: Community Builder And Mode Effect Co-Founder Raquel Landefeld

Gutenberg has been a popular topic of conversation in the WordPress community since it was announced by Matt Mullenweg in late 2017. WordPress designers, developers, bloggers, and community members are continuing to express opinions about their experiences with the new editor as it steadily evolves.

Bluehost sat down with Community Builder and Mode Effect Co-Founder Raquel Landefeld to get her take on how the WordPress community is adapting to Gutenberg.


Raquel, as a community advocate, what do you feel is the most common conversation surrounding the Gutenberg release?

“Fear of the unknown. A lot of people don’t know what Gutenberg means for their businesses and freelance work. Some developers may feel like this will take away from some of their worth and they won’t be as needed. I don’t think they will be without jobs, but Gutenberg certainly changes things, and adaptation is needed. Even if their fear is valid.”

The direction of WordPress is continually evolving, how does Gutenberg represent progress in open source?

“It represents progress well. It’s necessary because we are becoming more of a modern world and with that comes the need for speed. Page builders are taking over the internet and Gutenberg keeps WordPress from dying out. It demonstrates its strength as a platform that hosts over 30% of online websites, and it’s important for the future of WordPress.”

What are some positive changes Gutenberg has brought to the community?

“Gutenberg is making the community stronger! It wasn’t outsourced, it was still built by volunteers, by people who care. There is still so much opportunity for future collaboration and that work will still be done by contributors. With so many users learning to adapt from the classic editor to Gutenberg, those builders will be essential in teaching us how to get the most out of it.”

The WordPress community is unique and active in the development of WordPress, how does their opinion shape the release of Gutenberg?

“There is so much value in the opinion of the people. The majority of the community didn’t want it at first, but that’s changing. The impact of the community voice has been evident with each update and that voice has made everyone contributing to Gutenberg take a deeper look to improve it.”

Do you believe that the voice of the community changed as Gutenberg continues to resolve issues leading up to the merge into Core?

“I feel like the community is more positive, because we know its coming and that we need to adapt. People who were once against it, are now doing videos and creating content to help others prepare for it, and that’s amazing! There’s a resounding mindset that we need to embrace it and help each other. It’s imminent and actually is a very positive update for WordPress.”

Social media continues to drive many opinions and discussions regarding Gutenberg, what do you feel is the best way for the community to find positivity online?

“I think at the heart of our human nature, we have found that fear makes people react a certain way. There are some people whose initial response is to be rude… and they need to understand why this isn’t helpful. People in the community need to stand up for each other on social media. When online trolls have the audacity to call someone names, others have to stand up for whoever is being picked on. Gutenberg developers are doing amazing work and the best they can, so we should defend them and thank them. They are giving of their time, doing their best to listen to the community, and they deserve to be respected.”

Do you believe the Gutenberg editor is the most impactful update to happen to the platform thus far?

“Yes, it is absolutely the most impactful of all the updates! WordPress has to be relevant in this day and age, so this change was necessary. Jobs are lost and new jobs are created. We as developers and designers, cannot sit around and act like we aren’t susceptible to the market changes. I think we’re all in a great position for future growth and gainful employment, but we have to be adaptable.”

Gutenberg is causing everyone from agencies to freelancers and developers or designers, to strategize on how to offer this?  

“For us agencies, this is a great change because now clients have the power to make quick updates for themselves. It gives them a little more control, and the agency more time to grow and expand.”

Tell us about how your agency is preparing.

“Our agency is super heavy into design UI/UX, so we are not founded on the development side of WordPress. Our business is based on what makes life easier for the users. We are currently preparing for the launch of Gutenberg with our maintenance team and we are confident in knowing what we are doing. Our stance is still UX/UI on the forefront, but we have to make sure we do not neglect our clients.”

Many WordCamps have a fully dedicated track to Gutenberg, do you think this has helped the community feel more positive about the update?

“As a WordCamp Lead Organizer, I think there’s a demand to have a Gutenberg track or at least a few sessions at every camp. A ton of people haven’t had time to really learn it, therefore camps are a great opportunity for attendees to learn more about building Gutenberg blocks. I think these will be necessary even after Gutenberg is merged into Core.”


Thank you for sitting down with us Raquel, we are looking forward to seeing Gutenberg in core. Learn more about her below!

Raquel Landefeld is a serial volunteer with a young soul. In 2010 she co-founded Mode Effect a Phoenix-based WordPress agency that specializes in WooCommerce integration. Intentional about community building, she believes that wherever her feet are is where the building happens. Currently, she is active in several communities from tech to government to neighborhoods and more. You can usually find her organizing a WordCamp or volunteering pretty much anywhere. On the personal side of her life, she is a wife & mum, an active dancer, a music lover, an amateur photographer, and has a 20-year-curated Wonder Woman collection.

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