WordPress 6.0 Accessibility Improvements

Thank you to @joedolson and @alexstine for collaborating on this post. 

Improving accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) requires ongoing effort and this post seeks to highlight some of the ways in which the project has taken action in this area of work for WordPress 6.0, set to release May 24th, 2022. If you’re interested in helping with this work, please join the #accessibility channel in Make SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. and check out how you can get involved. There’s plenty of important work to be done including testing, giving accessibility feedback, and creating PRs to address feedback. 

General improvements

Some improvements didn’t fit nicely into a specific area and instead impacted the general experience of using WordPress. This includes everything from adding button text labels to the site editor to displaying the blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. title when removing a block:

Navigation block

While the first version of the navigation block that landed in 5.9 ensured many key accessibility features from the start, more work has been done to refine the experience and to ensure changes to the UIUI User interface continue to include accessibility features: 

Block improvements

Beyond the navigation block, various additional blocks received updates to improve their respective accessibility, wherever they are used: 

List View

List View continues to be an important tool, especially in a full site editing world, allowing folks to quickly navigate between complex content. In this release, tons of work was done to allow it to be more high impact for more people:

Media 

Expect various aspects of managing media to have updates from adding a “Copy URLURL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL www.wordpress.org to clipboard” option to make it simpler to get the URL you need to ensuring the full permalink for an image is visible when on mobile devices. 

Quick/Bulk Edit

Quick/Bulk editing has a few improvements that significantly improve keyboard and screen reader operability:

Login and Registration

The login and registration fields now properly set valid autocomplete attributes with a fix to the generate password button that was misleading: 

Themes

A few fixes are in place for various default themes and the overall process of hovering over theme details now has more consistency: 

#6-0, #accessibility, #dev-notes

#dev-notes-6-0

Dev Chat Summary, April 6, 2022

1. Welcome

The agenda followed in this week’s WordPress developer chat meeting.

Link to the start of the meeting on the CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. channel on the Make WordPress SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/..

Meeting facilitated by @marybaum and @webcommsat.

2. Announcements

WordPress 5.9.3 release is out! (April 5, 2022)

If you missed the WordPress 6.0 walkthrough, you can watch the video, read the transcript and the chat discussion all on the recap. This was a casual, guided walkthrough of many new features that are planned for WordPress 6.0,, and things that are likely to be released thereafter. Props to all involved.

3. Blogblog (versus network, site) posts for dev chat awareness

Thanks to everyone who has contributed and given their time to these posts and events.

4. Updates on the Releases

a) Next major releasemajor release A release, identified by the first two numbers (3.6), which is the focus of a full release cycle and feature development. WordPress uses decimaling count for major release versions, so 2.8, 2.9, 3.0, and 3.1 are sequential and comparable in scope.: 6.0

Bug Scrub schedule for 6.0 list, which is regularly updated. Help the components maintainers and all those involved in progressing tickets by joining them on a bugbug A bug is an error or unexpected result. Performance improvements, code optimization, and are considered enhancements, not defects. After feature freeze, only bugs are dealt with, with regressions (adverse changes from the previous version) being the highest priority. scrub. You can also volunteer to run a bug scrub on the specific tickets you care about!

Update from @annezazu for the release co-ordinators:

  • currently no known blocking issues for the release. Things are proceeding as expected.
  • all issues related to the walkthrough have been opened or confirmed already filed. There is work underway around how best to integrate it into the current process.
  • Gutenberg 13.0 RCrelease candidate One of the final stages in the version release cycle, this version signals the potential to be a final release to the public. Also see alpha (beta). (the last Gutenberg release for inclusion in 6.0) was pushed by a few days to Friday, April 8 to allow for more time for PRs ahead of feature freeze/betaBeta A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to trial under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as part of the process. 1
  • the Core Editor Tech leads are feeling solid about coordinating backporting PHPPHP The web scripting language in which WordPress is primarily architected. WordPress requires PHP 5.6.20 or higher changes and on the dev notesdev note Each important change in WordPress Core is documented in a developers note, (usually called dev note). Good dev notes generally include: a description of the change; the decision that led to this change a description of how developers are supposed to work with that change. Dev notes are published on Make/Core blog during the beta phase of WordPress release cycle. Publishing dev notes is particularly important when plugin/theme authors and WordPress developers need to be aware of those changes.In general, all dev notes are compiled into a Field Guide at the beginning of the release candidate phase. front
  • two new release squad members to help make this release a success: @ndiego stepped into the Core Editor Triagetriage The act of evaluating and sorting bug reports, in order to decide priority, severity, and other factors. lead role and @ironprogrammer stepped into co-lead the Test role for the squad
  • a post is in progress/underway around specific features to help test in the lead up to 6.0. This will include items like comments loopLoop The Loop is PHP code used by WordPress to display posts. Using The Loop, WordPress processes each post to be displayed on the current page, and formats it according to how it matches specified criteria within The Loop tags. Any HTML or PHP code in the Loop will be processed on each post. https://codex.wordpress.org/The_Loop., cover blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. as featured imageFeatured image A featured image is the main image used on your blog archive page and is pulled when the post or page is shared on social media. The image can be used to display in widget areas on your site or in a summary list of posts. PR, webfonts APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways., and more

    Confirmed, post dev chat:
    – 6.0 Beta 1 Release Party at April 12, 2022, at 18:00 UTC

5. Open Floor

  • @afragen: needs feedback for the Plugin Dependencies feature project, aiming for 6.1. More design feedback requested, thanks to @paaljoachim for review so far.
  • Trac Ticket 55344 raised by @josklever. @adamsilverstein confirmed the issue, it needs a patchpatch A special text file that describes changes to code, by identifying the files and lines which are added, removed, and altered. It may also be referred to as a diff. A patch can be applied to a codebase for testing. to lazy load hidden widgets, and tests, in order to move forward.
  • @tylerwe: asked about potential options to integrate a text-to-speech into WordPress core for better #accessibility

Potential next steps in the discussion: (1) starting place with a pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party submission and check the Plugin Developer Handbook, (2) to aim for a WordPress core integration, it has to be entirely open-source and GPLGPL GNU General Public License. Also see copyright license. compatible, (3) bring discussion to an #accessibility meeting, (4) licensing questions, (5) provide more details on a Make post for feedback. Post dev chat: Tyler thanked @jeffpaul for further offline discussions about a potential plugin.

  • The Learn WordPress Social Learning MeetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. has block theme discussions around different parts of theme.jsonJSON JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, is a minimal, readable format for structuring data. It is used primarily to transmit data between a server and web application, as an alternative to XML.. @daisyo welcomed anyone interested to join.
  • @webcommsat: WordCamp Europe 2022 Contributor Day, June 2, 2022 – if anyone would be interesting in volunteering to help at the core tables, please contact the Core Team Reps @marybaum and @audrasjb. Is anyone already preparing items which could be used from any of the core areas? If so, please can you let them know. Previously core has had a significant presence at WCEU contributor days, broken up into its different areas.
  • Event confirmed post dev chat from @marybaum and @nalininonstopnewsuk:
    Bug scrubs for the Quick/ Bulk Edit component and the About / Help Page component will be on April 11 2022, at 20:00 UTC The scrub will include discussion on the messaging strategy for the 6.0 About Page. All welcome to join.

Next Dev Chat meeting: April 13, 2022, 20:00 UTC in the Core Slack channel.

Props to: @marybaum and @webcommsat for facilitating the meeting, @tylerwe and @webcommsat for the dev chat summary, and @marybaum, @costdev, and @annezazu for the review.

Could you volunteer next week for the summary?

#5-9-3, #6-0, #dev-chat, #summary

Bug Scrub Schedule for 6.0

With 6.0 well underway, it’s time to schedule the 6.0 bugbug A bug is an error or unexpected result. Performance improvements, code optimization, and are considered enhancements, not defects. After feature freeze, only bugs are dealt with, with regressions (adverse changes from the previous version) being the highest priority. scrub sessions. These 6.0 specific ticketticket Created for both bug reports and feature development on the bug tracker. scrubs will happen each week until the final release.

Alpha Bug Scrubs

Hosted by @costdev

Hosted by @chaion07 (APAC-Friendly)

Hosted by @mikeschroder (APAC-Friendly)

BetaBeta A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to trial under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as part of the process. Bug Scrubs
Focus: issues reported from the previous beta.

Hosted by @costdev

Hosted by @chaion07 (APAC-friendly)

Hosted by @mikeschroder (APAC-Friendly)

Release Candidaterelease candidate One of the final stages in the version release cycle, this version signals the potential to be a final release to the public. Also see alpha (beta). Bug Scrubs (if needed)
Focus: issues reported from the previous RCrelease candidate One of the final stages in the version release cycle, this version signals the potential to be a final release to the public. Also see alpha (beta)..

Hosted by @costdev

Hosted by @chaion07 (APAC-Friendly)

Check this schedule often, as it will change to reflect the latest information.

What about recurring component scrubs and triagetriage The act of evaluating and sorting bug reports, in order to decide priority, severity, and other factors. sessions?

For your reference, here are some of the recurring sessions:

Have a recurring component scrub or triage session?
PingPing The act of sending a very small amount of data to an end point. Ping is used in computer science to illicit a response from a target server to test it’s connection. Ping is also a term used by Slack users to @ someone or send them a direct message (DM). Users might say something along the lines of “Ping me when the meeting starts.” @costdev or @chaion07 on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. to have it added to this page.

Want to lead a bug scrub?

Did you know that anyone can lead a bug scrub at any time? Yes, you can!

How? Ping @costdev or @chaion07 on Slack with the day and time you’re considering as well as the report or tickets you want to scrub.

Planning one that’s 6.0-focused? Awesome! It can be added it to the schedule here. You’ll get well deserved props in Dev Chat, as well as in the #props Slack channel!

Where can you find tickets to scrub?

  • Report 5 provides a list of all open 6.0 tickets:
    • Use this list to focus on highest priority tickets first.
    • Use this list to focus on tickets that haven’t received love in a while.
  • Report 6 provides a list of open 6.0 tickets ordered by workflow.

Need a refresher on bug scrubs? Checkout Leading Bug Scrubs in the coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. handbook.

Questions?

Have a question, concern, or suggestion? Want to lead a bug scrub? Please leave a comment or reach out directly to @costdev or @chaion07 on Slack.

Props to: @davidbaumwald for proof-reading.

#6-0, #accessibility, #bug-scrub, #core, #core-test

Core Editor Improvement: Continued progress on accessibility

Improving accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) requires ongoing effort and this post seeks to highlight some of the ways in which the project continues to make strides in this area. If you’re interested in helping with this work, please join the #accessibility channel in Make SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. and check out how you can get involved. There’s plenty of important work to be done including testing, giving accessibility feedback, and creating PRs to address feedback. 

Ensuring accessibility from the start with the Navigation blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. [planned for 5.9]

The Navigation Block is a key milestone for the full site editing project that focuses on the experience of editing a site’s navigation menuNavigation Menu A theme feature introduced with Version 3.0. WordPress includes an easy to use mechanism for giving various control options to get users to click from one place to another on a site., both in terms of structure and design. This is a big effort that includes how to make it easy to add submenu items, how to create a responsive navigation experience, how to support multiple different inner blocks, and more. While work is underway to simplify the experience for all (ex: reducing the number of steps to add a page link), this section covers three big pieces of the work, thus far, that have had a particularly strong impact on accessibility:

  1. The first is that when implementing submenus it was intentional that they would open on explicit click rather than focus, when navigating with a keyboard and/or screen reader. The changes made ensure that screen reader users are better informed when tabbing submenus, and can choose whether to enter them or not. Previously it was necessary to tab through every submenu item to get to the next parent item. For a deeper look into the behaviors of the navigation block and submenu items, check out these visualizations that provide more context but have not yet been fully implemented. 
  1. When building the responsive navigation feature in the navigation block, work was done to ensure the hamburger menu was built using proper modal behavior from the start. This means that when you open the responsive burger menu, the tab is kept inside the responsive menu experience until you press Escape. A quick demonstration is shown in the video displayed in this section.
  1. Finally, the markup for the front end was changed to ensure that the Navigation block contains fully semantic markup, no matter what its contents are.

Accessibility benefits with the Gallery Block Refactor [planned for 5.9]

Ahead of WordPress 5.9, an update to the Gallery Block was shipped that essentially allows you to have all of the tools you’re used to with an Image Block for each image in the Gallery Block. Thanks to this change, the Gallery Block now benefits from improved keyboard navigation and the ability to add alt text right within the block sidebarSidebar A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme.. This will make it easier to both produce accessibility friendly content and for those navigating what you create when viewing your site. To learn more about the Gallery Block Refactor, you can check out this WordPress News post dedicated to it

The new gallery block with an alt text field for each image within the gallery block itself.

Other noteworthy updates/fixes [in the GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/ pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party today]

There’s a lot of high-impact changes that can be overlooked when not shown altogether. To help capture additional accessibility improvements, here are high impact changes in the editing experience: 

Thank you to @joen who helped provide wonderful insights about the navigation block, including the featured video. Thank you to @kellychoffman @priethor @daisyo for the content review. Thank you to @javiarce for the lovely Gallery Block refactor screenshot.

#core-editor-improvement, #gutenberg

DevChat meeting Summary – May 5, 2021

Agenda for the two meetings. Thanks to @peterwilsoncc and @jeffpaul for leading the 05:00 and 20:00 UTC devchats respectively.

Link to 05:00 UTC devchat meeting archive in Slack // Link to 20:00 UTC devchat meeting archive in Slack

Announcements and news

These posts need your feedback:

  • @ryokuhi published a proposal on Make/Accessibility about a new Trac workflow keyword that the AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) team would like to consider.  If you feel particularly opinionated or passionate about this, please comment on the post.
  • @jeffpaul and @desrosj published a request to Component Maintainers, Feature plugin authors, and the Gutenberg team to share plans / help needed for 5.8 (primary focus will be FSE).  Please comment on the post to help ensure we’re tracking the right work for the release.
    • @youknowriad noted that required Gutenberg changes in Core are made as filters/extensions points and brought to coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. as part of the GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/ merge that happens regularly
    • @mkaz shared the WordPress 5.8 Must Haves project board on GitHub as outline of Gutenberg work for 5.8

5.8 Review

  • Schedule confirmed including bugbug A bug is an error or unexpected result. Performance improvements, code optimization, and are considered enhancements, not defects. After feature freeze, only bugs are dealt with, with regressions (adverse changes from the previous version) being the highest priority. scrub schedule
  • @youknowriad shared that trunk is already on Gutenberg 10.4, @gziolo is working on updating it to 10.5 and the big changes (Global styles infrastructure in themes.json and FSE blocks) are coming in 10.6
  • Feature freeze on Tuesday May 25th (19 days from now) defined as “During the following two weeks, there will be no commits for new enhancements or feature requests. Core contributorsCore Contributors Core contributors are those who have worked on a release of WordPress, by creating the functions or finding and patching bugs. These contributions are done through Trac. https://core.trac.wordpress.org. will focus on defect work (aka outstanding bugs)
  • BetaBeta A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to trial under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as part of the process. 1 on Tuesday June 8 (33 days)
  • RCrelease candidate One of the final stages in the version release cycle, this version signals the potential to be a final release to the public. Also see alpha (beta). 1 on Tuesday June 29 (54 days)
  • Release on Tuesday July 20 (75 days)
  • Current list of tickets that are on the 5.8 milestone, list of good-first-bugs tickets

Component maintainers and committers update

  • @sergeybiryukov shared Plugins update that Parameter names in pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways. functions now use consistent terminology when referring to actions, filters, and callback functions via #50531
  • @sergeybiryukov shared Themes update that #49487 removes the “Featured” tab on Add Themes screen to match an earlier change in the Theme Directory
  • @webcommsat shared About/Help update that ticketticket Created for both bug reports and feature development on the bug tracker. triagetriage The act of evaluating and sorting bug reports, in order to decide priority, severity, and other factors. continues with @marybaum
  • @audrasjb shared Menus update that #21603 is being reviewed
  • @audrasjb shared Upgrade/Install update that the last meeting recap includes a project for the next few releases

Open Floor

Props to @audrasjb, @webcommsat and @marybaum for reviewing this post.

#5-8, #accessibility, #dev-chat, #docs, #fse, #full-site-editing, #github, #learnwp, #summary, #updater

Discussion summary: Dropping support for IE11

As a follow-up to the very active discussion around the proposal to drop support for IE11, there is a majority agreement to move forward with dropping support. The next steps are to figure out a timeline and what it means for projects/teams to drop the support.

Regarding timeline, there are two upcoming milestones where support could be dropped: 5.8 and 5.9. The argument for dropping in 5.8 is to realize the change and improvement quicker, while others are inclined to wait until 5.9 to provide a longer window between the official announcement and the effective date.

The decision when will be left to the release team for WordPress 5.8; this team is not formed yet as it depends on the April go/no-go Full Site Editing merge.

This post was written in collaboration with @mkaz, @annezazu, and @youknowriad.

#accessibility, #browser-support, #performance

Discussion: Dropping support for IE11

After digging into data and reviewing previous decisions around browser support, this is a proposal to define a policy to stop supporting Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) now that usage has cumulatively fallen below ~1% across three metrics. 

Current state of IE11

As of February 25th 2021, IE11 usage has cumulatively fallen below ~1% according to three sources of metrics:

  • 0.71% from StatCounter’s GlobalStats.
  • 1.2% from W3 Counter.
  • 0.46% from WordPress.comWordPress.com An online implementation of WordPress code that lets you immediately access a new WordPress environment to publish your content. WordPress.com is a private company owned by Automattic that hosts the largest multisite in the world. This is arguably the best place to start blogging if you have never touched WordPress before. https://wordpress.com/.

For comparison, the numbers above are very close to the data used to make a decision in 2017 to drop support for IE versions 8, 9, and 10. It’s important to keep in mind that when viewing these statistics in the context of WordPress, these percentages represent tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of users that could potentially be left behind if support for IE11 is dropped. 

In August 2020 Microsoft themselves announced that Microsoft 365 and Teams apps would stop supporting IE in the upcoming months. However, given that IE11 is a component bundled with Windows10, according to the IE Lifecycle it will still receive security updates as long as the Windows version it was shipped with continues to receive support. 

In terms of the current WordPress user experience, a flag was added to not recommend IE in BrowseHappy about 13 months ago, so by now, most WordPress users should be aware. Tied to this, the experience overall is not optimal in IE11 with a high cost of maintenance for developers.

Proposed Policy

The proposed policy for WordPress is to end Internet Explorer 11 support. This was discussed most recently in the February 24th Core Editor Chat and briefly during February 23rd JavaScript office hours in SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/.. More context and discussion have been shared over time in this original Trac issue that seeks to determine clear guidelines around what absolutely can’t be broken in order to help identify development and testing needs. 

Benefits

Dropping support would result in smaller scripts, lower maintenance burden, and decrease build times. For instance, a recent exploration by @youknowriad demonstrated that not transpiling the scripts to IE11 immediately resulted in a net reduction of nearly 84kB in the GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/ JavaScriptJavaScript JavaScript or JS is an object-oriented computer programming language commonly used to create interactive effects within web browsers. WordPress makes extensive use of JS for a better user experience. While PHP is executed on the server, JS executes within a user’s browser. https://www.javascript.com/. built files, representing a 7,78% total decrease in size; these scripts have seen a size contraction up to 60%, with an average reduction of 24%. This is a result of heavily relying on transpilers, further explained by Jason Miller, Web DevRel at Google. Moreover, dropping support would ultimately make WordPress’ currently included polyfill script obsolete, decreasing the enqueued scripts size up to 102kB more.

The smaller downloads would positively impact all users, especially those on slower networks, or computing devices. We expect a result of dropping IE11 support to improve performance for the vast majority of users. 

Potential Concerns/Blockers

TLDR: The concerns are for those who are unable to upgrade, like financial institutions and education sectors, and those who rely on IE11 for screen readers. 

There are major institutions like banking, government, and education that are unable to control when they can upgrade sometimes due to legal requirements, depending on the country. This further underscores the need to determine a policy that takes into consideration both a data-informed approach and the impacted user bases while weighing the potential benefits for the wider web. 

According to a September 2019 WebAIM survey, IE11 is still used as a browser among screen readers with 11.5% share. This is an older survey and IE11’s global share was 2.9% at the time the survey was done according to the sources linked above. It takes time for screen reader software to support newer browsers and the latest versions of popular screen reader NVDA have continued improving and adding support for the Edge browser. As a result, this post embraces an assumption that IE usage among screen reader users has declined since the survey as the software improves and overall usage of IE11 has declined. Please let us know if this assumption is or if there is better data available to refer to.

Keep in mind that there are ways to patchpatch A special text file that describes changes to code, by identifying the files and lines which are added, removed, and altered. It may also be referred to as a diff. A patch can be applied to a codebase for testing. gaps in functionality that’s determined critical to maintain for a time. This post does not seek to go into technical implementation details though.

Share your feedback about this proposed policy change to drop support by March 18th

This is a tough decision to make and we want to solicit feedback from as many voices across the community it may impact. Please note, this post is not meant to go over any technical fallbacks at this time but to purely discuss the policy of dropping support. 

Once we’ve gathered feedback, the next step will be to consolidate and decide the policy. The actual technical implementation of the policy is most practical to pursue across the numerous WordPress projects. 

Thank you to @mkaz, @annezazu, @youknowriad, @desrosj for help writing and reviewing this post. 

#accessibility, #browser-support, #performance

Core Editor Improvement: Video Subtitles

While some people might think of the CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. Editor as being focused on the writing experience, it’s so much more than that, especially with what’s now possible thanks to numerous core blocks and the future site editing world. This post is about one of these new content tools that you might have missed in the last few months of recent releases: the ability to add video subtitles. With more and more people venturing into the video space thanks to them being easier than ever to create, this new feature packs powerful capabilities for content creators and their viewers alike. 

To take advantage of this new feature, just upload a video and use the Text Tracks setting to upload your subtitles as shown below: 

The Text Tracks setting options now included in the Video BlockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience..

People viewing your site can enable captions through the settings of the video player. Here’s a screenshot of a video with captions on to get a sense of the experience: 

Example of a paused video with subtitles enabled.

Now you can engage with your audiences so they can catch what you’re up to whether they might have limited hearing, don’t want to wake a sleeping baby/pet/person nearby, or prefer reading along while watching your video. Happy creating! 

If you’re interested in working on features like this, make sure to join #core-editor, check out the current focuses, and attend the Core Editor weekly meeting @ 14:00 UTC in core-editor. 

#core-editor-improvement #core-editor #accessibility

Core Editor Improvement: Text Only Icons for the Toolbar

A lot of work has been done to improve the infrastructure of the CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. Editor and expand what’s possible technically. It is also important to pause and highlight improvements that make creating with the core editor easier than ever before. This post seeks to highlight one of those recent features that might have been missed in the flurry of recent releases: the ability to have descriptive text icons instead of an icon only view of the Block Toolbar. Since the Toolbar is currently one of the main ways we all interact with the Core Editor this is a big change that should have big benefits. Text icons unlock the ability for you to tailor your experience of the Toolbar and helps more people have the flexibility to create with the Core Editor. In particular, these icons improve settings from an accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) standpoint for those relying on tooltips.

To get a sense of just how much of a difference this makes, check out the following screenshots showing the different options available: 

Icon Only: 

Icon Only view in the Core Editor Toolbar

Text Only: 

Text Only view in the Core Editor Toolbar

How to find this option

Here’s a helpful GIF that illustrates where you can easily find this setting in the Options menu under the Appearances section:

Settings can be adjusted under the Options menu in the Appearance section by toggling “Display Button Labels”.

Try out both and see which works best for you. If you’re like me, you might find times when it’s helpful to use each. Perhaps you’re teaching someone about the Core Editor for the first time, and they find the text-based options easier to understand! Or, you are trying to write a lengthy post and find Icon Only to feel less distracting. No matter the circumstance, the option is there for you to experience the toolbar in the way that works best for whatever you’re trying to do. 

If you’re interested in working on features like this, make sure to join #core-editor, check out the current focuses, and attend the Core Editor weekly meeting @ 14:00 UTC in core-editor. 

#core-editor-improvement #core-editor #accessibility

What’s next in Gutenberg? (November)

This is a monthly update containing the high-level items that GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/ contributors are focusing on for November. Please join us in our efforts and let us know in the comments if anything is blocking you from contributing. 

Ways to follow along with Gutenberg development: 

Here’s an overview of ways to keep up with Gutenberg and the Full Site Editing project. There is also an index page of Gutenberg development related posts and a Site Editing Milestone overview issue that breaks down the upcoming work into focus areas. 

Preparations for WordPress 5.6

The WordPress 5.6 Must Haves project board includes issues that need attention in preparation for the WordPress 5.6 release. Many contributors will be spending the month of November working on bugs and regressions to be fixed for inclusion in WordPress 5.6.

A number of issues have been labeled for Dev Notes. A dev note is a blogblog (versus network, site) post, published when a technical change that developers may need to know about will be included in the next WordPress release. Dev notesdev note Each important change in WordPress Core is documented in a developers note, (usually called dev note). Good dev notes generally include: a description of the change; the decision that led to this change a description of how developers are supposed to work with that change. Dev notes are published on Make/Core blog during the beta phase of WordPress release cycle. Publishing dev notes is particularly important when plugin/theme authors and WordPress developers need to be aware of those changes.In general, all dev notes are compiled into a Field Guide at the beginning of the release candidate phase. are typically published along with the first Release Candidaterelease candidate One of the final stages in the version release cycle, this version signals the potential to be a final release to the public. Also see alpha (beta). which is currently scheduled for November 17, 2020.

Full Site Editing

Work on this major focus for phase 2 is an ongoing effort and is expected to continue iterating over the coming months. For November, priorities are being evaluated in order to identify next focus areas for Full Site Editing.

Overview

  • The Full Site Editing overview issue #20791 can help to identify the major components that will be included in this effort.
  • The Full Site Editing project board is another good place to watch for more detail about the current status of this overall effort.
  • Site editing Infrastructure and UIUI User interface continues to be addressed in overview issue #24818.
  • An effort the ensure that Template tags are accounted for in Full Site Editing is underway in issue #22724.

Query BlockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience.

The Query Block is an important focus area. This feature is being explored in the following issues:

  • An Overview issue aiming to identify and resolve any Missing Query block functionality can be followed in issue #24934.
  • Design work for the controls for the Query block is being explored in issue #25198.
  • The Pagination Block is a part of the overall Query Block effort with design being explored in issue #26557.

Global Styles

Global Styles refers to the system that defines and manages global aesthetics allowing overall site styles, theme styles, and blocks to work well together.

  • An overview issue #20331 contains detailed information about Global Styles.
  • The Global Styles effort is being actively evaluated to identify next areas to focus on as well as areas to de-prioritize.
  • An effort will be made adjust for some things identified during testing with the blocks based version of the Twenty Twenty-One theme.

Ways to Get Involved

While the above items are our focuses, you can always help with triage, needs testing issues, good first issues and reviewing PRs.

If there’s anything we can do to make contributing easier, let us know in the comments or in #core-editor chats. While we can’t promise to fix everything, we’d appreciate being aware of any blockers.

Meetings to Join

While you can view all meetings here, here are specific meetings to join depending on your interest. Remember that you need a WordPress.org slack account to participate: 

  • CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. Editor weekly meeting on Wednesdays @ 14:00 UTC in #core-editor focused on all things Gutenberg. 
  • AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) weekly meeting on Fridays @ 16:00 UTC in #accessibility focused on wrangling accessibility related work across Core and the block based editor.
  • Block Based Themes meeting twice monthly on Wednesday @ 16:00 UTC in #themereview focused on preparing for Full Site Editing. 

Note: with daylight savings time related changes happening for many countries on different dates it may be helpful to double check on the times as some meetings may shift times to accommodate attendees preferences.

#gutenberg-next