A few weeks ago we had our July office hours which focused on the new Block Based Product Creation experience. As with all of our office hours, our goal is to create a space where we can share insights about the work our internal development team is doing as well as learn more about the experiences, pain-points, and feedback from developers using WooCommerce.
An unsurprising topic of conversation during the office hours revolved around extensibility and making the editor developer-friendly. There are concerns about the ease of use of technologies such as React, which may be new to developers who have been working within WooCommerce for a long time.
The extensibility of the editor was a significant concern, with participants discussing the challenges of inserting fields at specific points and the need for more documentation on how to achieve this. The ability to insert fields and components at desired locations, especially for plugins, was highlighted as a key requirement.
The team shared that they are working on simplifying setup and integration for existing plugins. However, one of the shared frustrations among some of the developers, was that even putting aside tutorials and documentation for extending the Product Editor, build tools in the React based technologies feel difficult to work with.
Page Builders vs. Blocks
Although not specific to the Product Editing experience, there was conversation around the perceptions of Block based interfaces (leveraging Gutenberg) versus existing page builders such as Elementor.
Some feedback which was new to us was around the frustration with RTL language support within the Blocks ecosystem. @nerrad found a Gutenberg issue which deals precisely with this and committed to surfacing the issue to the team.
In general, it seems that there is still some resistance to coming back to the editor and experiencing it as it is today, without the bias of what the editor was when it first appeared. Our hope is that with better documentation, which is underway, and continued development of features and extensibility support, we are able to fulfill the needs of what a Blocks based editor can achieve for both developers and no-code builders/ merchants.
UI/UX Feedback and Visual Hierarchy
Feedback was provided regarding the UI/UX of the editor. Participants discussed issues with the modal layout of the description section, which could confuse users into thinking they had switched pages. The need for better visual hierarchy to guide users through the editing process was highlighted, with suggestions for clearer field labels and indicators.
Designers from our UX team were participating in the chat, and as the experience is iterated upon, this feedback will be taken in to consideration.
Sidebar and Visibility Indicators
Participants inquired about the presence of a sidebar or column in the new product editor, as they felt the current approach could make it difficult to access important information like status indicators, visibility settings, and planned publication dates. The possibility of having a summary column or sidebar to provide quick access to crucial product details was suggested.
We can confirm that we have a plan to add a sidebar similar to the post editor to see the above information and manage the product visibility.
Next Office Hours
Our next office hours will be held on September 2oth, on our usual third Wednesday of the month.
If you have a topic that you are interested in learning more about or discussing with our development team, reach out to us here or in our Community Slack.