Topic Progress:

What’s New In WordPress 5.6?

Running Time:  11:33

In early December, the third of three major WordPress updates in 2020 was released in version 5.6.

Along with this upgrade comes a new stock theme, Twenty Twenty-One. It is designed to show off what the block editor can do and opens the door for major changes to take place as Full Site Editing comes our way in 2021. The new theme pushes accessibility further than any previous stock theme as it meets the high bar of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 Level AAA.

To be sure, there are not nearly as many notable changes in 5.6 as there were in this summer’s release of 5.5.

This video demos these 3 new features in the block editor aka Gutenberg:

  • the ability to add subtitle and captions to your vidoes
  • selecting multiple blocks to place them within columns
  • adding a tiled (repeated) background to the cover block

Here are the highlights of the over 220 changes that I didn’t review in the video.

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  • Last of 3 major updates in 2020
  • Most women developers than any previous update
  • The past 10 updates from the Gutenberg plugin up to 9.2 are included
  • One step closer to Full Site Editing (FSE) that we will see in 2021

Changes To Gutenberg's Interface

With each new version of WordPress, the Gutenberg UI continues to evolve and improve the user experience.  Here are some noticeable changes.

1. A Better Way To Find Block Patterns

Screenshot of Block Patterns

In WP 5.6, Block Patterns now sports a dropdown making it easier to get to the blocks you wish to use.

2. Info Box Gets A New Layout

Screenshot of Info Box

The Info Box got a makeover. An outline of the page’s elements is there too.

3. "Document" Now Has A Better Label

Screenshot of Document Box

A small but nice change is that you will now know you’re working with a Page or a Post (and not just a Document).

New Stock Theme: Twenty Twenty-One

  • Leverages all that the block editor can do
  • Meets WCAG 2.1 Level AAA requirements
  • Supports Dark Mode
  • Built in Accessibility Statement


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