WordPress, Intrinsic Web Design and Development

I wrote these notes on the WordPress FSE slack room.

I wanted to share it here too. Enjoy reading.

THE OG Jen Simmons talks about the Intrinsic Layouts. This is THE talk first intrinsic word and the web met each other. (2018)

I watched this talk multiple times and I would suggest anyone to watch at least for ones if you haven’t yet.
The intrinsic topic starts around 21:00 before that she talks about history and CSS basics.
She talks mostly about resizing, intrinsic resizing, and intrinsic spacings. Shows some demos and examples.

It is important to note she never says “We don’t need breakpoints”. She shows multiple demos about resizing/spacings. One or two of them have breakpoints.  
She is a bit obsessed with the grids I don’t know why. She loves grids. 🙂

I think the biggest misunderstanding in the Gutenberg Leads “breakpoints are not intrinsic”. Even if it is not we as a community feel like this is the case.


But there is no evidence to support that.

Actually, WP user’s needs are quite the opposite. Even where the original term coming from doesn’t support that.

Intrinsic may have fewer breakpoints, YES but that doesn’t mean layouts, columns, custom designs, gsap designs, different devices, and complex layouts don’t need breakpoints. 

I hope we can change this idealistic obsession with intrinsic design/web in 2024.

I don’t know how the first talks around Gutenberg started (2018) maybe nobody see it coming this editor will become the block/layout/site editor as it is now.

But publishing has changed a lot.

Whatever the case people need better tools and options to create what they dream and imagine.

I hope nobody will say “auto calculating min/max can eliminate the breakpoint needs”

NO. It can’t.

Not all designs are the same and you don’t know what you don’t know.

Only some layouts can be implemented as intrinsic not all.


We need to give people sufficient tools so they can freely build anything and do anything. Limiting the editor just because “Oh normal people don’t need to know that” or “Oh normal people don’t need to think about that” is not very productive and future thinking.

Plus it is very exclusive thinking that we need to avoid. 

People are making complex AR animations and layouts with their phones in TikTok and Instagram now.

That’s my thoughts on this intrinsic topic.

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