GutenTalks: Graphic Designer And Front End Developer Michelle Schulp

The Gutenberg editor is the latest innovation to the WordPress platform that has the internet buzzing as the community monitors its ongoing updates. The effect that the update will have on CORE has the community discussing the impact it will have on the future of WordPress.

Bluehost sat down with Graphic Designer and Front End Developer Michelle Schulp to discuss how Gutenberg will impact content creation for users and developers.


Michelle, do you think the block-based writing experience changes the way users create content? How will this modern layout affect the editing experience?

“I think Gutenberg is the result of the editor finally catching up to how users think about content and pages on the web. We are rarely creating content in terms of large blobs of text on a static page anymore. Content is dynamic, it is variable, it is fluid.

The types of content we are showing:

  • Images
  • Text
  • Lists
  • Calls to action
  • Quote
  • Columns
  • Grids

All of these are often going to change and shift as the site evolves—and users want control over that.

However, they don’t necessarily want to mess with design decisions (padding, spacing, margins, overly specific layout) the way a traditional Page Builder does. Gutenberg provides a framework for dynamic, flexible, and variable content creation within the page. It does a fantastic job of embracing a “decisions not options,” paradigm for theme developers to create rules for this output.”

What is the benefit of having responsive text column blocks readily available? How does this impact theme developers?

“The benefit of having anything baked into core is that it will be standardized and work, (assuming the theme developer supports it). Theme developers have to learn to think modularly about their styles for each block, which in my opinion is a trend that has been a long time coming.”

WordPress is definitely setting trends with Gutenberg! Do you think that Gutenberg has done a good job of listening to the feedback from the community?

“I think there is still work to do here, but I know their intention is good. I am glad these questions are being asked and people’s voices are being heard. Hopefully, we don’t prioritize an arbitrary ship deadline over making sure the feature works.”

Finding a balance between criticism and updating the features to meet the needs of the masses has been an ongoing endeavor for Gutenberg developers. What makes you most excited about the Gutenberg release?

“I am excited that we are finally adopting a modular model for interacting with content. I think this will standardize the visual interface for many different current solutions (meta boxes, page builders, custom-rolled content blocks, etc.) and make the WordPress ecosystem feel a little more cohesive and united.”

You wear many hats as a designer, developer, and member of the community—have your initial thoughts about Gutenberg changed? What were they to begin with?

“As an Atomic Design fan, I’ve been waiting for something like this for years, and have done my own work to build similar solutions using existing tools for clients. When I think about my role as a designer, I am thrilled with the idea behind Gutenberg and am 100% on board with its adoption (especially with the options to build custom blocks and custom templates that can lock specific blocks to specific areas).

My developer side is watching carefully to see how drastically Gutenberg will impact my workflow going forward, especially since I don’t have a company to foot the bill for any additional education I’ll need to obtain. I spoke about all of this in one of my most recent WordCamp talks. From my experience as a user, I’m enthusiastic but frustrated with a somewhat buggy and counter-intuitive user interface.”


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


Michelle

is an independent graphic designer and Front End developer in Minneapolis. Prior to beginning her career, she studied Visual Communications, with minors in Psychology and Sociology. As her work progressed, she also branched into Front End development and user experience design to round out her skill set. This combination of disciplines led her to adopt a strategy-based approach to design, focused on solving tangible problems and achieving realistic goals based on how people think.

She loves the open source community, and when she is not working on projects she speaks, volunteers, and organizes at events and workshops around the country. Her passions are communication and empowerment, and she believes in the power of “Why?”
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