Make the editor controls visible at all times

Currently, the page/post editor operates something like a “treasure hunt”: both the toolbar and the plus-in-a-circle icon come and go as one types or clicks the mouse. This is unconventional and surprising to first-time users. There is plenty of empty space on the screen. These editor controls should be visible at all times rather than forcing users to hunt for them.

From experimentation, it appears that the toolbar comes up only if you double-click on some existing text. It disappears when you are actually typing text. So if you are entering a new post, you can’t see the controls to (e.g.) enter a link. Similarly, the plus-in-a-circle does not come up regardless of where you click with the mouse. You only get to see it when you hit the enter key.

A similar point applies to the “update” versus “gear” controls in the top right. When you open the settings, it covers the “update” control, and vice-versa. They both should be visible at the same time, so that users can update a post without having to close the settings. One click instead of two. (And then another click to reopen the settings if you want to make more settings changes.)

The controls that I’m complaining about are “modal” in the sense that they come and go depending upon various user actions. Google “modal controls bad” and you’ll see lots of articles and discussions about how modal design is bad UI design. Mostly they talk about modal windows that pop up in front of other functions but “modal” really is about features whose availability depends upon the “mode” of the UI (like whether you have typed the enter key).

I’m asking because I’m trying to get some folks to become contributors/editors for our volunteer organization’s website. These folks are not naive, but they are writers, not developers. They have had no problem with the editors in Google Docs and MailChimp. Their reaction to the Ghost editor is “how do I use this thing”?

The current editor is a roadblock to success with Ghost. The controls should be visible at all times.

We will not be changing our editor.