A lively discussion is happening on the Gutenberg repository about renaming the Command Center. This new feature, designed to be an extensible quick search and command execution tool, was introduced in Gutenberg 15.6. In version 16.0, it came out of the experimental stage and its API is now public, ready for developers to create their own custom commands.
The Command Center is on track to land in the upcoming WordPress 6.3 release but may be arriving under a different name. Automattic-sponsored contributor Reyes Martínez opened the discussion and identified three main purposes the feature is meant to serve:
- Quickly search, navigate, and switch between different types of content
- Run commands to perform tasks or actions
- Extend and customize the tool, also with AI, via third parties (plugins)
“The concept of a command center can convey the idea of a centralized location to execute commands and manage tasks, but it seems a bit technical and carries some militant connotations,” Martínez said. “Additionally, after reading some feedback left in Riad’s call for feedback, my impression (from a marketing perspective) is that this name may not fully convey its potential and different use cases.”
Martínez contends that “Wayfinder” as a name “better captures its different use cases” and “reflects benefits, and appeals to a less technical audience.” She also suggested that it “has the potential to evoke a sense of curiosity, exploration, and discovery in more types of users.”
Two Automattic-sponsored contributors responded with support for Wayfinder as the name shortly after the discussion was posted. Nearly every other participant has highlighted concerns about using Wayfinder and suggested other names that more clearly describe the feature. The term does not have a direct translation in many languages and leans heavily towards navigation, leaving out the other purposes the feature is meant to serve, such as running commands and actions, as well as AI and other third-party integrations.
“There’s two things here. One is ‘What is it?’ and the other is ‘What is it called?’” WP Engine developer Ross Wintle said.
“I would rather it was just called a command palette on both counts. This is by far the most common term in use to describe this kind of thing. I see no need to stray from popular convention. Anything else is either confusing or marketing and I don’t like either.”
He suggests WordPress adopt the term based on its well-documented use throughout the industry for similar features in apps like Sublime Text, VS Code, GitHub, Jira, and others.
“We did hear Matías call it a “Wayfinder tool” in the WordCamp Europe 2023 Keynote, so at this point perhaps making arguments for it to be called something else may be moot, I’m not sure,” WordPress developer Aurooba Ahmed said.
“However, I was curious about the argument that a term using the word
command would be less appealing to non-developers, so I wanted to document names around the internet for command palettes that I’ve seen in non-developer tools/services (to augment @rosswintle‘s documenting of tools and what they call this feature as well).
Ahmed cited apps using “Command Palette,” including Miro, Reflect, and Obsidian. Another common name for this feature is “Command Menu,” used by Todoist and Cron. She also cited ClickUp as using “Command Center” and Missive using “Command Bar,” among other apps with similar terms.
“I’m sure there’s more, these are just the ones I could think of, off the top of my head,” she said. “I’m not sure I consider the argument that a name with the term
Command would be less appealing to non-developers a very strong one.
“That’s not to say that WordPress shouldn’t choose a different or unique name for this feature. However, then at this point I’m wondering what kind of name is wanted: one that feels new and different or one that clearly communicates its purpose and easy to remember?
“Those ideas don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but going against a fairly internet-wide informally established naming convention and understanding of a certain feature should have a solid reason behind it.”
Automattic-sponsored contributor Nicholas Garofalo noted that the name itself will not be prominently featured in the interface, based on recent mockups.
“The name, like Gutenberg, will be used primarily for marketing and documentation,” Garofolo said. “That influences naming and translation concerns.”
“Even differences in US vs UK English make it extremely difficult to find a catchy (Ie. marketable) and universally understood (Ie. easily documented) name. That’s why I agree with the aforementioned recommendation that we treat this a bit like ‘Gutenberg’ or ‘plugin.’ If this were appearing frequently within the interface then I would perhaps feel different.”
Other suggestions from speakers of different languages include Actions hub, Finder, Quick commands, Quick actions, and Quick finder. Even if Gutenberg contributors are determined to emphasize the navigation aspect of the feature at the expense of its other capabilities, a term like Quick finder is more easily understood for the 52% of WordPress users who use the software in a language other than English.
“The term ‘Wayfinder’ is very much associated with navigation and not with taking actions or giving commands,” WordPress developer Ian Svoboda said. “This feature’s purpose is to make it easier to run commands and move about the dashboard.
“A term like Wayfinder feels like marketing speak more than an actual feature name. Consider the difference between saying: ‘use the Wayfinder’ and ‘use the command palette.’ In the later example, the meaning and purpose is immediately clear. So sure someone else may not know what a ‘command palette’ is but I’d wager way more folks know what a command palette is than a random feature in me specific app called Wayfinder.
“I would ask that we focus on being easy to understand and to translate above trying to be clever with a name.”
The issue for renaming the Command Center is still open on the Gutenberg repository and discussion is ongoing. The general consensus of participants is to use clear language over a term that evokes curiosity (and likely confusion since it doesn’t translate well). A decision has not yet been made but should be forthcoming as WordPress 6.3 Beta 1 is expected on June 27, ahead of the general release on August 8.