Zooming in and out of style management in WordPress

As you may know, the “Global Styles” feature is coming to WordPress, and will enable users to control a variety of visual design options from their Dashboard.

I’ve been exploring what folks might see if they were to access this feature from the Appearance menu. It’s a tricky problem to solve because users need intuitive and direct access to style management from the main navigation, but the feature must also be summonable in various other contexts like editing a template or a post in a way that provides a live preview of changes. In those latter scenarios a sidebar is utilised:

A design concept for the Global Styles sidebar

When accessed from the main navigation, it seems sensible to reuse this sidebar for consistency, but this presents a question – what do we display on the “canvas”, and how do we provide a preview of style adjustments?

Since a mosaic view of templates will be required for the initial site editing release, displaying these on the styles screen could be an affective way of providing a holistic preview of style edits on-the-fly. If there are many templates, an affordance to zoom in and out for different levels of fidelity could be a neat concept to try:

Perhaps even as one zooms in to a single template, the styles sidebar could adapt to display style options for the specific blocks utilised in that template.

The nice thing about persisting with the sidebar implementation for this screen is that the UX can be replicated on other mosaic views. If in the future there are visual management screens for things like patterns and reusable blocks, one could also access global styles from there and see a contextual preview.

Obviously there is a lot still to ideate on here, but I thought this was a fun concept to share.

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