Doping for editors: put the fun in Paragraphs
For us, the Paragraphs module is the holy grail of structured content creation.
With Paragraphs it is relatively uncomplicated to define prefabricated content elements that define the structure of the corresponding content. These can then simply be placed in the desired content by editors.
This allows editors to create clearly structured content without a lot of effort and to fall back on recurring content structures. The editors simply select the desired element from the list of available content elements, fill in the corresponding fields and the content is output in the specified structure. This is extremely helpful when creating more complicated page layouts where you want to use the same structures over and over again.
Is there a better way?
We have asked ourselves and our clients' editors how to further simplify and improve the input using Paragraphs, or what might interfere with the editorial process when using Paragraphs.
It has often been mentioned here that it is quite annoying to have to drag the content elements to the desired position after adding them. This is especially cumbersome for content with many content elements. It would be much better to be able to insert the element right at the corresponding position.
Fortunately, there is the Paragraphs Features module from the Thunder Core team. This module extends Paragraphs by inserting a button between each content element to open the modal dialog for adding more elements.
Using these buttons, editors can insert the elements in the correct position as desired and do not have to move them first.
Beautiful. But is there an even better way?
Editors always add the same elements to certain content. The question arose whether these content elements could not be inserted preferentially, i.e. without first having to open the dialog.
In addition, some editors were disturbed by the large number of buttons: after each single content element a button for adding further elements appears. *sigh*
So we thought about how to make the buttons less annoying.
Buttons you don't see don't interfere. Accordingly, with our new module Paragraphs Editor Enhancements, we have simply hidden the buttons.
With some applications and tools (e.g. Apple Mail or Slack) the buttons for certain actions only become visible when you point the mouse over a certain area. Exactly this function has also been implemented for the buttons: only when you point the mouse over an existing content element, the buttons for adding become visible above and below the element.
In addition, the most important content elements should also be able to be inserted directly with a click.
So we had to add two new buttons for the most important content elements to the button to open the dialog.
Editors are no longer disturbed by the large number of buttons and can simultaneously insert the most important content elements with just one click.
Great! But can you make it even much better?
Another often mentioned improvement suggestion concerned the dialog for adding content elements themselves.
If you have many elements to choose from, the dialog quickly becomes confusing. In addition, editors often find it difficult to find the right elements. On the basis of the title of a content element one cannot always immediately conclude on the actual purpose of the element and cannot imagine how the element is represented in the content.
With Paragraphs Editor Enhancements we have completely redesigned the dialog. We've added the ability to filter the list of content elements so editors can quickly find the desired elements through the title and description of the element.
In addition, the representation of the elements in the dialog has been revised. Each element shows the title and the description as well as an image (if uploaded in the element's configuration).
As an alternative to displaying the elements as tiles, you can also display the elements as a list.
As a bonus, you can create categories for content elements and assign the individual elements to one or more categories.
This gives editors a faster and better overview of the available content elements and allows them to find the desired element more quickly and easily.
Whew. Do you have any more?
We wouldn't be undpaul if that was all.
Some time ago, one of our clients was faced with the problem of having to add the same elements in the same order over and over again.
As a simple example, one can imagine this as follows: an introductory text followed by an image, then a two-column text and finally a text with an image.
For the editors, this meant that the corresponding content elements had to be inserted in the correct order for each individual content item.
Wouldn't it be great if you could add the desired elements with just one click, so that the editorial staff could concentrate on entering the actual content?
The solution to this problem was the Paragraphs Sets module.
Paragraphs Sets are used to define groups of content elements. These groups can be added to the content just like the usual elements.
This saves editorial members the hassle of searching out and inserting individual elements and allows them to start entering the corresponding content directly.
Of course, Paragraphs Editor Enhancements and Paragraphs Sets also work together. The element groups of Paragraphs Sets are displayed in a separate category in the dialog and can also be found using the filter function.