What’s New in WordPress 6.2: Building Better Site and Block Editing Experiences for the Enterprise
Refinement, ease, efficiency, and speed color our hot takes on the latest WordPress.
Was there ever a WordPress release, incremental dot or not, that didn’t have serious content creation and design improvements for the enterprise CMS community?
As we have for the most recent 6.0 and 6.1 WordPress releases, here we unpack our top enhancements in WordPress 6.2—scheduled for full release March 29, 2023—for enterprise content creators and developers.
Right off the bat, WordPress 6.2 focuses on refinement and ease, further enhancing the block editing experience with features like a new “distraction-free” writing mode and streamlined block settings, split between Styles and Settings, for easier block control.
You can also look forward to a revamped site editing experience featuring a new approach to navigating between templates and template parts. Ta da!—the beta label on the Site Editor has at last been removed; if you haven’t tried this sterling example of modern WordPress functionality, now’s a good time to dive in.
You’ll also appreciate a simpler way to manage menus outside the canvas thanks to a new Navigation block option, baked into the block settings.
Finally, WordPress 6.2 beats previous versions hands-down when it comes to performance. In tests, we’ve seen a 23% improvement for themes without a theme.json and 9% for those with.
- Elevating the site editing experience
- A cleaner block editing experience for content creators
- A more intuitive way to manage menus
- Building with patterns
- Reorganized pattern categories
- Improved design functionality
Elevating the site editing experience
The WordPress Site Editor is a powerful, time-saving tool that streamlines making key site changes, using the familiar site editing interface, instead of code. This means even non-technical users can bring their vision to life while needing less input from developers.
WordPress 6.2 greatly improves the flow, usability and capabilities of the Site Editor, helping users:
- Update blocks faster across a site with an option to apply local changes globally
- More easily browse templates and template parts
- See the impact of design changes site wide
To further dial up the editing experience, a block preview added to the Styles sidebar panel displays selected blocks, conveniently allowing users to see how settings are affecting those blocks. And better still, WordPress 6.2 adds a new Style Book capability to see all your blocks and the impact of any changes in one place.
Our hot take:
Being able to style an individual block and instantly apply it to all instances of it across your site is a real WordPress 6.2 time-saver. If you’re ”in the flow” designing your site and come up with something excellent for a single block instance that you want to have everywhere, now you can apply those changes globally.
A cleaner block editing experience for content creators
To make working with blocks easier, the Styles and Settings tabs have been separated in WordPress 6.2. This gives plugin authors more flexibility to create intuitive controls—including where these controls show up in the interface—and makes blocks packed with tools easier to configure.
In addition, when toggled, a new visual mode automatically hides various inactive bits (e.g., sidebars and toolbars) inside the Block Editor interface. Result? Authors get a cleaner editing palette to work from and more freedom to focus on content creation.
Meanwhile, developers will enjoy being able to customize settings for any block by using a client-side filter to modify block settings before the editor is rendered.
Our hot take:
As content creators, we really appreciate the updated visual mode that cleverly fades various parts of the editor UI not in use, promoting a “distraction-free” writing experience for authors—and leaving content center stage.
A more intuitive way to manage menus
The Navigation block in WordPress 5.9 introduced a new editing experience. Now, with the release of an additional editable view in the block settings sidebar, managing menus and locking individual items is even easier. Note: users can still edit directly in the canvas.
This view works similarly to List View but is specific to the current navigation being edited. Clicking the “Edit” button selects the menu item in the editor, allowing inline editing. This option offers a nice balance between the prior experience and the new block editing paradigm.
WordPress 6.2 also improves the inner workings of the Navigation block, adding a location fallback for classic menus so that the most recently created classic menu is used by default. If there is a menu named “primary” or has a primary location, that menu still takes precedence. Separately, when the Page List block is used, a simplified option guides you through the process to edit each item directly.
Our hot take:
WordPress 6.2 Navigation block editability and control improvements make working with this critical site-building block a cleaner, more intuitive experience. For example, by restricting the ability to edit content on its inner blocks, the Navigation block allows site admins and agencies to more precisely tailor the editing experience for users—especially when using block template parts in classic themes.
Building with patterns
Introduced in WordPress 5.5, Patterns help you get started faster with predefined layouts as well as maintain design consistency.
More bundled pattern options
WordPress 6.2 now provides a better way to view and pick patterns, including newly bundled Header and Footer options.
Explore all the new options below.
The Query Loop block, an advanced block that allows you to display posts or pages in various configurations, also comes with some refreshed, baked-in pattern options that are more text forward:
Reorganized pattern categories
In addition, to accommodate an expanding number of patterns, including Header and Footer options, various Pattern categories have been revamped or consolidated.
Here’s a shortlist of key changes:
- Query patterns renamed Posts
- Columns merged into Text category
- Buttons category renamed Call to Action
- Header and Footer categories introduced
- Banner category introduced*
*Denotes visually distinctive elements that help structure or contrast page contents (including headings and “hero” elements).
Our hot take:
Bundling new Header and Footer patterns into WordPress 6.2 Core for all to use clearly helps democratize design, providing excellent out-of-the-box options for users, regardless of the block theme they use. In that spirit, we also appreciate how the updated Site Editor speeds the creation process by allowing users to edit all parts of their site and patterns. Site admins can even bundle their own header and footer patterns for clients, too.
Improved design features and media access
Media is an important part of site building. WordPress 6.2 now allows you to add various types of content to your site, from blocks to patterns, directly from your library via the Inserter, saving time and effort.
Related, you can also search and select images from Openverse, a search engine with 600 million+ openly-licensed media options. Note: Optionally, you can disable this feature to restrict access to Openverse.
Here are more WordPress 6.2 improvements that caught our fancy:
- Splitting block settings into separate Styles and Setting tabs—get a more intuitive and clearer understanding of the options built into each block.
- Inline previews while editing block type in the Styles interface—see the impact of your changes without leaving the interface.
- Seeing the impact of your changes as you style your site—use the new Style Book to visualize the cascading effect tweaking a block has on your entire block library.
Find out more about WordPress 6.2
Take a closer look at WordPress 6.2 features and fixes with this helpful preview.
Already a WordPress VIP customer? Be sure to reach out to your account team to learn more about this new release.