WordPress is constantly improving its software, patching security vulnerabilities, and fixing bugs through minor releases.
The latest WordPress 5.9.3 minor release happened on April 5, 2022. This new maintenance update consisted of nine core bug fixes and 10 block editor fixes.
WordPress’s release post contains the complete list of fixes and links to the Trac tickets as well as GitHub issues. We will list the notable fixes to problems users may have encountered in the previous WordPress version.
WordPress 5.9.3 resolved various issues that interfered with the user experience in the admin panel and the block editor.
Decode HTML Entities in the Template Parts List
The WordPress 5.9.3 update fixed the bug in custom template part names containing HTML reserved characters like apostrophes (‘) and dashes (-).
Before the update, you could add a new template part with such characters, but the interface would not decode the HTML entities correctly. As a result, the template part name would appear broken on the list.
Thanks to the WordPress 5.9.3 release, a custom template name with HTML reserved characters will appear correctly.
Cover Block Gradient Overlay
This update fixes the issue with the cover block when applying a transparent gradient overlay design. Previously, the black color used by default in the background blocked the image underneath the overlay.
The new version removes the black background color, turning it into a transparent gradient that doesn’t block the image.
Hide Links to Customizer for Newly-Installed Block Themes
The new release removes the Live Preview link from the /wp-admin / theme-install.php page that appears after installing a block theme. The link directed users to the WordPress Customizer, which is not optimized for block themes.
Site Editor Notice in the Customizer UI
The new site editor becomes the default editor when users activate a block theme, hiding the navigation link to the old Customizer from the admin panel. However, users can still access the Customizer via /wp-admin/customize.php.
Since the Customizer is not the best tool for editing a block theme, a notice and link to /wp-admin/site-editor.php will be displayed on the Customizer sidebar.
How to Update Your WordPress Site
If you’re using an older version of the software, you can update your WordPress site in a single click through the hPanel.
Head to the WordPress section and find the current WordPress version at the bottom of the page. Click on the Update to 5.9.3 button, and it will install the update.
Another way to update your WordPress version is from the admin dashboard. Find the notification text at the top of the dashboard and click on Please update now.
You’ll be redirected to the WordPress update admin page, where you can update the site to WordPress 5.9.3.
Bonus Tips: Activate the Automatic Minor Update During Installation
We recommend selecting Update only to minor version when installing WordPress via our auto-installer. That way, your WordPress site will be automatically updated whenever a minor version is released.
WordPress 5.9.3 introduced many bug fixes that improve the user experience on the WordPress admin and the block editor. Check the WordPress version on your site and update it if you’re still using an old one.
WordPress 5.9 was released a few months ago and brought a new full site editing experience thanks to its new site editor and block-based default theme. The next major release of the year, WordPress 6.0, will take full site editing even further.
WordPress 6.0 closes the conceptual stage of the Gutenberg project Phase 2, bringing with it many enhancements to the full site editing, blocks, and global styles features.
This article will provide an overview of what to expect from WordPress’s next major release.
WordPress 6.0 Release Schedule
WordPress 6.0 is scheduled for release on May 24, 2022. The first beta release is expected on April 12, 2022, and you can test it to explore the new planned features and report any bugs to the developers.
WordPress will launch several beta versions and release candidates before the final release. Here is the WordPress 6.0 timeline provided by the WordPress team:
April 12, 2022
April 19, 2022
April 26, 2022
Release Candidate 1
May 2, 2022
Release Candidate 2
May 10, 2022
Release Candidate 3
May 17, 2022
May 23, 2022
WordPress 6.0 Release
May 24, 2022
Planned Features for WordPress 6.0
The previous major release has provided the foundation for full site editing with the Gutenberg editor and pattern library. We can expect considerable refinement of these features and new additions to create an even better site-building experience.
Now, let’s go through some of the highlighted features planned for WordPress 6.0. Note that this is not a definitive list, as the developers may change it as we approach the release date.
The site editor, launched in the previous major release, was a big step forward in page and post customization.
WordPress 6.0 will improve the editor by introducing new features and removing some limitations. Here are some expected site editor improvements in WordPress 6.0:
Global style switcher. Users will be able to quickly switch between pre-made global style alternatives. This means you can implement a new global style without modifying the current one via the global style interface.
Selecting text across multiple blocks. This new writing improvement lets you select text from multiple paragraph and heading blocks. If you try to do this in the current version, it will automatically select the entire block.
Block style retaining. When you transform a block into a different block, this new feature will keep the block style, including color and typography. For example, the text color in a heading block will stay the same if you switch it to a heading block. This style retaining feature also applies to the button block when you add more buttons to the content.
More template options. WordPress 6.0 will offer more options for template creation, such as author, categoryand taxonomy.
Decoupling themes from templates. Switching themes will not change any customized templates.
Browse mode and site navigation structurefor the site editor are expected to arrive in WordPress 6.0.
However, according to the WordPress 6.0 product walkthrough, these features are not ready yet.
Other than these major improvements, the new WordPress version will also provide UI improvements for the site editor, such as selectable blocks on the list view, the addition of a code editor and preferences for the main site editor, and better placeholders for various blocks.
WordPress blocks will be significantly enhanced in WordPress 6.0, including the introduction of several new blocks. Here are some of the notable improvements to expect in the new release:
New blocks. WordPress 6.0 will add post author biography and read more blocks. There’s also a plan to add 12 blocks for post comments, including comment form and comment loop blocks.
Block style preview. Hovering over the block style options in the design tool will show a live preview in the content area.
Block locking UI. WordPress 5.9 added the lock attribute, but users still need to tweak the code to lock a block. WordPress 6.0 will add a UI in the block toolbar to make locking a block easier.
Featured image expansion. Featured images will no longer be limited to post featured image blocks. It will be possible to incorporate them into media and text blocks or cover blocks. This enhancement will improve the overall design possibilities.
More transformation options. WordPress 6.0 will add six new block transformation options, including paragraph to code, group to rowand tag cloud to categories.
Nested quote block. It will be possible to nest blocks and add paragraphs, lists, or code snippets inside the quote.
Block patterns will be at the center of the site creation process in WordPress 6.0. WordPress has already kickstarted this by launching the pattern directory and pattern creator on the official website.
The main change planned is the replacement of the quick block inserter. If you click the plus icon in the content area of the site editor, the inserter will show pattern options instead of block options.
Another proposal is to use patterns for layout transformation. As of now, patterns are only used for creating new content. This proposal suggests that patterns should be able to transform the content layout without losing the existing content.
WordPress 6.0 aims to improve the user experience, introduce more customization options, and expand API support in the design tools. There are also many smaller improvements, like a better color palette interface and border control.
Here are some of the significant improvements for the design tools in WordPress 6.0:
Layout transformation for multiple blocks. WordPress 6.0 will add new options in the block toolbar and the design tool panel to transform multiple blocks. Users can select several blocks and use this feature to transform them into container blocks like group, row, and stack blocks.
Custom post date format. The design tool for post date block will provide the option to use a custom date format.
Gallery block gap spacing. The gallery block will have a block gap spacing configuration in the block design tool. This will allow users to better customize the layout of image galleries.
Web Fonts API. The Webfonts API integration was excluded from the WordPress 5.9 release and will be re-introduced in WordPress 6.0. Users and theme developers will be able to add web fonts options to the global styles interface.
Typography support for container blocks. Group, row, and stack blocks will have typography options.
WordPress 6.0 will bring significant improvements to the full site editing experience. We can expect more flexibility in the site editor and more customization possibilities thanks to the enhancement of the blocks and design tools.
WordPress developers will release the first beta version of WordPress 6.0 on April 12, 2022. You can test it in a staging or testing environment to experience the features this major release will provide.
It’s been much easier for your average internet user to get to grips with web design and development in recent years. You don’t need to be an expert coder to create a website, thanks to the various tools, frameworks, and templates that make these tasks intuitive and user-oriented. But as web development advances, so too have user expectations. This means anyone building a website always needs to find new ways of bringing their site directly to the user and offering an amazing experience.
What is information architecture?
When we go on a journey, we usually take the most direct route to get to our intended destination fastest. This is obviously more efficient in terms of both time and energy. Whether that journey is physical or online, the principle is the same.
Information architecture (IA) is aimed at improving the classification and structuring of content to improve the overall user experience of a website.
Rodrigo Melo, Head of Design Innovation at Namecheap, provided us with this interesting insight:
“IA is one of the fundamental pillars on which a great user experience is built. Ultimately it comes down to enabling users to succeed in their goals, or to invite them to discover new goals or information. All of this, when done well, becomes intuitive, simple, and clear. Invisible – just like a wide-open path forward. ”
He further explains that when IA is successful, users do not need to make decisions or think about what they are doing — they are simply compelled to move forward. The goal is effortlessness in search and navigation as well as faster results.
IA overlaps with user interface (UI) design as the visual element is central to the way users interact with a website. It is a more specific field within user experience (UX) design as website interaction is driven by the user.
The main components
There are four main processes in information architecture:
1. User research
Web design should always start with the user, so this means getting to know them in terms of their needs and problems. Information architecture needs to take this information into account and match it up with business goals, then respond with a strategy that works within the technological resources available.
User research can be carried out through card sorting, which is a technique by which users are given the chance to organize topic cards as they see fit. For example, participants were given the unsorted cards: ‘biology’, ‘history’, ‘economics’,’ Spanish ‘,’ physics’, ‘German’, then they took the initiative to categorize each card under ‘sciences’,’ humanities ‘, and’ languages’. This process helps researchers to better understand how users choose to organize the content of an online platform.
Tree testing is another research method in which the sitemap, or tree, is loaded into the website software and users are given tasks to see how easily they can find certain information. Often participants are given a text-only version of the site so they are dealing with the content in its most basic form. Tree testing takes the opposite approach to card sorting as it shows how users engage with content through practical use rather than categorization.
Visitors to a website need to be able to easily find what they are looking for, and this is one of the main goals of information architecture. In navigation, key web elements like buttons, menus, and tables are crucial in guiding the user. Search is also a key concept for many websites, with the need to combine and balance simplicity and functionality.
These are the most common types of navigational structure:
Hierarchical – the top-down organization of content from main categories to subcategories. An example of this is drop-down menus for creating a range of subcategories.
Global – from a central page the user can access all locations, through the use of sidebars, sticky menus, or hamburger menus.
Local – presents content within specific subsites or subtopics of a website, rather than allowing content to be accessed centrally.
Contextual – content is organized into different content types rather than topic or genre. For example, dividing content into articles, videos, products / services, or reviews.
For some useful tips on navigation, take a look at this blog (link to Cora’s navigation best practices).
Putting labels on your website content is an essential task in information architecture. For this, you need to consider all of your key topics and categorize them in headings and subheadings. These will show your users what they can expect from a subset of content, so the headings need to be clear and accurate. Illustrations help to make labeling easier to understand, as well as examples of items included in the category.
This supermarket website divides products into categories with a dropdown menu for each, which are further subdivided and illustrated by images. The overall effect is clear and easy to navigate.
However, this online forum is very text-heavy with limited space for each label. This makes it difficult for the viewer to process the different links and difficult to navigate.
This is the process through which the blueprint or schematic overview of a website is produced. It should clearly represent the navigation, labeling, and interface of a website before it is developed. This is the ultimate test of information architecture, and it’s where IA is joined by UI to give both the look and feel of a planned site. Wireframes are usually created using software like Adobe XD or Sketch.
To find out more about the ins and outs of site architecture for a small business website, take a look at this comprehensive guide.
Information architecture in practice
So far we’ve discussed the theory of information architecture. Let’s now look at some recommendations to get the most out of the process.
Things to aim for
IA needs to be clear and organized from start to finish, so keep the following best practices in mind:
It’s a good idea to start things off with a content inventory. This is the process of reviewing all of your content so you have a better understanding of how to structure / organize it.
Mind mapping is a technique used to develop logical relations between different parts of the website. This involves brainstorming and problem-solving sessions and creating visual representations of main concepts and processes.
For clarity in the planning stages, site mapping is the process in which all content is displayed in a hierarchical structure diagram to show categories, parent / child relations, and navigation.
A large e-commerce site with a wide selection of products, LL Bean is a good example of how to make navigation easier for the user. Its landing page has clothing types broken down into men’s, women’s, and kids’ options, while other equipment and accessories are divided by activity or product type, so it is easy for users to find and navigate to what they are looking for.
Things to avoid:
With IA, there are many pitfalls that can lead to disaster with a new website. Here are some bad practices that you should be wary of:
Topics that are not covered and questions that remain unanswered. You need to consider every possible user need and reason different users are coming to your site.
Redundant content and competition. This means content audits and updates on an ongoing basis.
Inconsistency in navigation. Your visitors need to glide through the website and encounter no unexpected obstacles, like difficulty in getting back to a menu.
Unstructured or cluttered content. Your users need to be in control and able to go where they want without confusion or feeling overwhelmed.
Unfortunately, these errors in IA can be off-putting for customers and lead to a lower rate of conversions. Decisions are made quickly so let’s make sure your bounce rate isn’t the result of any web design failures.
Information architecture may be relatively new to web design, but it represents the increased focus on the user that websites need to strive for in 2022 and beyond. Effortless navigation and clarity are essential, as well as considering every possibility in the user journey. Another thing to remember is that IA practices need to be continuously refined and evolved so your sites can move with every new change.