Migrating document attributes from the Inspector to the Top Bar

With Full Site Editing approaching, we’re exploring ways to better prepare the post editor for this richer editing experience. One enhancement being considered is moving the post title off the canvas, and into the Top Bar.

The reasoning for this change is that not all templates actually display the post title. So if you’re editing a post and viewing its template concurrently, it is consequently impossible to update the title.

We make use of the Top Bar in the Site Editor to display template details and actions, so this feels like a natural evolution.

This got me thinking about the editor iA, and whether we should move all document attributes to the top bar. There are a number of potential benefits to doing this:

  1. It reduces reliance on the heavy / noisy Inspector, and reduces its scope to tertiary block controls only.
  2. Creates a discrete, centralised location to manage document attributes, with increased real estate for more elaborate interfaces.
  3. Increases portability of document settings. If these attributes are presented in a popover / modal, they can be accessed from any location.
  4. Creates a more scalable environment for plugins to provide interaction with non-visual data. This is going to be vital for complex post types like those added by WooCommerce.

I think there is further justification in that one does not need to see the canvas while working with document attributes, and that design tools for blocks are a UI that users need more frequent access to.

Here’s a rough mockup to illustrate the idea:

The portability I referred to above can be useful in the mosaic view of content we may implement in the future.

This kind of quick-editing is a feature of the wp-admin list screens, and something we’ll need to create parity with in full site editing. The modal could even provide a bulk-editing environment too.

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