WordPress 5.9 “Josephine” was released in January 2022, but that seems like ages ago when you compare the advances made in site building over the past year. Anne McCarthy, an Automattic-sponsored contributor who heads up the Full Site Editing Outreach Program, has published a short video that tours the important changes in WordPress over the past few major releases. The video also doubles as a preview of some of the features coming in 6.2.
If you are using the Gutenberg plugin and have been tracking the relentless progress of the Site Editor, you will notice how limited the design options are in 5.9 and how much more consistent and expansive they are today. In 5.9 users users can only add a Front page template, and the site building interface is disjointed and less polished.
McCarthy demonstrates how WordPress 6.2 will introduce smoother interactions with browse mode. It will also greatly expand the template options available for users to add and includes a new colorized list view.
The Navigation block has had a long, rocky journey but seems to be reborn in 6.2. McCarthy showed how much more intuitive it has become with the new experience of editing navigation in the sidebar, and repositioning via drag and drop with live previews.
The instant that Style Variations were introduced in WordPress 6.0, it seemed they were always with us. Looking back at 5.9 in the video, the Site Editor appears so bare without them. WordPress 6.2 will extend this even further with improved block style previews, a style book, and a new zoomed out view that makes it easy to see changes at a glance.
Everything coming in 6.2 is converging towards better usability and more design options for site editors. The challenge here is to continue introducing new features without the interface becoming cluttered and chaotic. Many of these features are still being ironed out. For example, McCarthy mentioned that the Edit button is still a work in progress and may soon be relocated to be more prominent in the Site Editor.
This video gives a quick visual summary of what is being done to wrap up the full-site editing phase of the Gutenberg project before contributors move on to Collaboration. It is worth a watch to see the site building progress that contributors have made in just one year.
If you want to get involved in making sure all these features in 6.2 are ready for prime time, check out McCarthy’s latest FSE Testing Call: Find Your Style. It will plunge you into the new features of the Site Editor to perform a few tasks. It’s essentially a guided opportunity to explore the new interface while contributing back to WordPress, and you will earn a fancy testing contributor badge that will display on your WordPress.org profile.