Announcement & Discussion: WordPress Inline Access Concept

Fresh off—and highly-relevant to—yesterday’s “There is No Web Page,” I’m excited to publish a concept I’ve worked up for a new way to edit WordPress sites.

You should read the entire post, linked below, but this stems from my concern about a new “Front End Editor” plugin for WordPress that aims for eventual integration with out-of-the-box WordPress. I didn’t think it was fair to criticize it without putting something concrete forward, so this is it:

The following is a first draft concept for inline access in WordPress, mocked up with a site using the Twenty Twelve theme. Two new elements drive the interface:

  • The “Info Bar” — Sister of the Admin Bar, provides contextual information about the page.
  • Edit Mode Tool Tips — Label specific editable “chunks” of content when hovered.

I’ve posted the mockups and a long explanation of their development on a separate page, but use this post to comment.

4 thoughts on “Announcement & Discussion: WordPress Inline Access Concept”

  1. This would be a huge time saver of having to explain (over and over) to clients, or provide screencasts, of how to edit a particular section of their WordPress site. Really hope this gains traction.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Derek. Unsurprisingly, I hope other people latch on to the idea too :) I don’t have a huge amout of time to devote to development, but I’m going to try to get a rough prototype out sooner than later.

  2. Interesting concept. My question has to deal with widgets. If the widget is a simple Text based one, it seems like it wouldn’t make sense to click on the Text within the widget to edit it and it takes you to the Widget administration page. For something as simple as text, I’d like to edit it right there and be done with it. Other than that, I really like this concept compared with standard front line editing. This provides that but has a great educational aspect to it.

    Thanks to Firebug, I think the element inspector approach would gain popularity faster with devs but I like the idea of using the toolbar.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Jeff! I agree with you that the inspector might feel more familiar to us devs but the toolbar has more promise in my mind and it’s what I’m going with for an early prototype. I could maybe even see the two side-by-side. One as “Edit Mode” and the other as “Page Inspector” or something.

      I hear you on the widget example, but I think it breaks the existing proposed workflow and could mislead editors. I give a similar example in the write up, but consider a site with a global sidebar. If an editor clicks the text widget to edit it inline, how do they know whether they’re editing the widget on just that page or the site as a whole? If they “swap out” the widget text with something else, how many editors will be surprised to go to another page and see the text they just changed in place of the older text? Some would understand that quickly, but plenty wouldn’t and that’s where I think the whole front end editing concept falls apart pretty comprehensively.

      I’m theoretically open to some type of hybrid approach, but I have a hard time envisioning how it would clearly set user expectations about what they are editing where and what’s editable inline vs. what isn’t.

      Again, thanks for the feedback. If you know others who would find it interesting, please share!

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