It’s been almost 4 years since the release of WordPress 5.0 on December 6, 2018 brought about major changes to the WordPress platform. Since then, 9 other major releases have brought new features, most recently with WordPress 5.9 earlier in 2022. The WordPress 6.0 release is now on the horizon, scheduled for May 24, 2022. While WordPress 6 won’t change the platform nearly as much as WordPress 5, the new release will build substantially on the Gutenberg platform and bring about almost 100 new features. Here’s a look at what’s in store for WordPress 6.0.
Improvements to the block editor
Ever since the block editor released in WordPress 5.0, each major release of WordPress has included improvements to the block editor. WordPress 6.0 is no different.
The biggest change coming to the block editor in WordPress 6.0 is the ability to more easily lock blocks so they cannot be edited, especially when it comes to reusable blocks. This helps ensure that other editors don’t make changes to your blocks that they shouldn’t — or that you don’t accidentally mess up your own work later on!
WordPress 6.0 will also include new template variables to allow you to customize blocks more than ever before. One of the primary examples of this is the Comments block. You’ll now be able to set styles for the author name, avatar, comment content, link, and so on. The Read More block will also allow for much more customization than before. The Query Loop block now gives you the option to decide what content shows when no results are found.
WordPress 6.0 also includes some new blocks. There are a lot of new features related to post authorship, like a Post Author Biography and Avatar block to allow you to customize the way the post’s author displays on your posts.
WordPress 6.0 also includes new features for styles and patterns. The biggest difference is that theme developers can now include multiple style presets, and you’ll be able to switch between them with one click. You’ll also have the ability to export your theme with all your templates and styles. You can also now use a featured image in the Cover block.
The block editor also includes a bunch of smaller improvements, like giving you the ability to customize how a row of blocks displays on various screen sizes (for example, you might want them to stack on smaller screens instead of displaying side by side). You can also add a border to a Columns block and adjust the spacing in a Gallery block.
One of the major focuses of WordPress 6.0 is accessibility. We’ve written several articles to help you ensure your website is accessible to everyone, and thankfully, that’s a major priority for the WordPress team as well to ensure everyone can use WordPress to build and edit websites.
WordPress 6.0 includes around 50 changes to enhance accessibility. The WordPress team has documented the entire list of accessibility improvements in this article, but some of the most important changes are centered around focus issues (an item is “in focus” on a website when it is selected, and “losing focus” of an object when you interact with it creates major issues for people who use screen readers), improved keyboard shortcuts, and improved labeling to help screen reader users understand what different buttons and objects do.
As mentioned previously, WordPress 6.0 brings about almost 100 new features. It’s not a total overhaul of the platform like WordPress 5.0 was, but it feels like a bigger update than a typical major release. For a complete list of changes coming to WordPress 6.0, consult the WordPress 6.0 field guide from the WordPress team. You can look forward to updating your site to include all of these new features on May 24, 2022!