WordPress 6.0 was released on 5/24/22. If you have a managed WordPress site, you’ll see the update within a week or so. WordPress 6.0 is named Arturo after Arturo O’Farrill, a Grammy-Winning Jazz Musician. This new version has over 900 improvements and bug fixes. The biggest new features are improved accessibility and improvements to the Gutenberg block editor including style switcher, improved tools, and five additional templates.
Block Editor Changes:
If you use a theme that uses the Gutenberg block editor, you’ll find a number of improvements to make your experience more streamlined. Some of these improvements include:
- The ability to select text across multiple blocks.
- Updated settings and controls for tag clouds and social icons.
- Style Switching allows having multiple styles within the same theme.
- Block themes have five additional templates.
- Some of the design tools received updates, including borders, color picker, and the gallery block.
WordPress 6.0 adds a number of accessibility improvements. While only government websites are subject to ADA compliance, it’s good practice to follow WCAG guidelines and make your site accessible. Here’s a sample of some of these improvements from the WordPress Core Blog:
- Use the Post Title as the Featured Image’s alt text when linked to the post.
- Allow tabbing into block placeholder, allowing for actions like tabbing into a block that only contains a block inserter, such as an empty Group block.
- Announce search results in the Block Manager.
- RichText: Reverse disableLineBreaks to determine aria-multiline state.
- Ensure that blocks with a placeholder setup have their description read by VoiceOver, giving context for the block itself and the resulting controls.
- Remove role attributes on SVGs meant for “decoration”.
- Implement a better method for Block Inserter Search focus.
- Improve successful draft save notification for screen readersby making it more descriptive.
- Add button text labels to the site editor.
- Make sure when on the last block, focus cannot enter the block.
- Check link color contrast for the new color panel.
- Conditionally set secondary sidebar landmark region labels.
- Use the block display title in the remove label for the block settings menuto make it clearer what is being removed.
- Avoid duplicate labels for “Save Draft” and “Save as pending” buttons to reduce confusion.
- Plugins: Add focus style to plugin icon link in plugin cards.
- Taxonomy: Show error message for terms without a name.This improves the accessibility of the screen by avoiding the use of color alone to indicate an error.
- Comments: Disable “close on escape” for inline replies when using an IME.
- Toolbar: Don’t hide admin bar text labels from screen readers on small screens.
- React 18: Fix focus loss happening when installing blocks from the directory.
- React 18: Fix focus loss when navigating the guide component.
- React 18: Fix focus loss when creating pages from link control search results.
Each new version of WordPress has its share of performance improvements. With Google’s update in 2021, performance (especially load time) has become an important factor in determining search engine rank. The WordPress team has streamlined their code to improve load time for most sites.
Should I upgrade?
The WordPress team does extensive testing so releases are generally safe. We’re in the process of updating all of our sites but have yet to encounter any problems. If your website is uptime critical, then we recommend creating and using a staging copy of your website to test the upgrade. For others, take a backup of your site that you can easily restore before going ahead with the upgrade.
As always, if you have any questions or need any assistance, please reach out to us.