Exploring an application dock for the Site Editor

In 6.0 I am hopeful that we’ll be able to provide users with access to post and page editing directly in the Site Editor. There have also been suggestions of adding media management, menu management, and more.

In order for this to be a success we need to design quick and easy pathways for users to access these key site management areas.

The current menu system is sub-optimal because a click is required to open it. This means that to go from editing one template to another involves three clicks:

A permanently-visible navigation might work better.

Enter the Dock 🚢

Anyone who has used macOS (and most mobile OS’s) will be familiar with the concept of the Dock – a row of icons that provide quick access to applications.

Thinking about WordPress as an operating system, it may make sense to introduce a similar concept to the Site Editor. Our dock would feature applications for managing content, media, templates, styles, settings, and so on.

The interface for core apps should reuse shared componentry, and moving between them should be a fluid experience. Plugins might have more freedom.

Here’s an example of how a dock would enable me to move quickly from editing my site home page, to my index template and back again, all in just a few clicks.

Much like the macOS dock, it might be fun to allow folks to control the dock position and style:

Building such a system in to the Site Editor seems preferable, but perhaps it would need to be implemented in wp-admin first. There are likely trade-offs to both approaches. Luckily I think that each would work work well from the design perspective.

It goes without saying that these are very early explorations, and no doubt 6.0 will ship with something entirely different. Nevertheless it’s fun to explore and share in the hope to inspire bigger and better ideas.

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