A Few Thoughts on Document Tools in the Post Editor Sidebar Aka My Junk Drawer

I feel like I’ve written this post before but I’m in the mood to write about it again. I’m talking about my relationship with the sidebar in the post editor that stores all of the tools related to a Post or Block. I don’t have much of an issue with the Block tools but I do have an issue with the Post tools.

Below is what my post editor looks like when I write a post. Every single post I write is assigned a Category and Tags. Depending on the plugins that are installed, these two boxes can be pushed further down the sidebar.

The Visual Post Editor Showing the Post Tolls on the Sidebar
The Visual Post Editor Showing the Post Tolls on the Sidebar

Every time I scroll through the Post tools in the sidebar, it feels like I’m digging around in my kitchen junk drawer looking for something. These boxes used to be called Meta Boxes and prior to Gutenberg, you could move these boxes around. In the post editor, these things are stuck so I can’t move them to the top. Being able to move these two items to the top would satisfy me but I think there is a better way.

The following is a post editor concept that was designed by Mel Choyce in 2013. You can certainly see from the concept and from her explanation that the direction of WordPress heading towards blocks was already well underway.

What I love about this concept is how the publishing details, categories, and tags were integrated into the editor so that they’re always in the same spot and they blend in. I wish a concept like this would have turned into a reality, even as an experiment so I could have written posts to see how it flowed. I still think something like this could be designed for the post editor today but whether it’s more usable than what we have is anyone’s guess. I’d be the first one in line to beta test it though!

If the categories, publishing details, and tags were integrated into the editor, it would free up a lot of space in the sidebar for other tools or plugin-specific boxes.

As it stands, I’m not a fan of everything being crammed into the sidebar. Perhaps in the future, the boxes will either have the option of being moved around, or the ones that are used most often such as categories and tags will be integrated into the editor itself. What do you think?

1 thought on “A Few Thoughts on Document Tools in the Post Editor Sidebar Aka My Junk Drawer”

  1. That sidebar tends to get so overcrowded. Not sure what the remedy is, but there’s got to be a way to slim it down some.

    One thing I would like to see is the ability to widen it. Sometimes there’s a horizontal scroll that makes for even more clutter.

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