The Latest from WordPress 4.8 and Why Publishers Should Care

We work with many clients who use the WordPress platform, so we like to keep tabs on what the WordPress folks are up to and whether the latest updates are taking things in the right direction for the site builds we do.

WordPress is at it again—this time releasing an update that streamlines the UX of WordPress and hammers out some longtime problems that ardent fans of the platform will be happy to see gone.

Version 4.8, styled “Evans” after the jazz performer Bill Evans, includes several key updates that streamline the publishing process:

  • New media widgets that make image, video, and audio inclusion easier than ever
  • Updates to text widgets that simplifies the process of rich text formatting
  • A news and events dashboard to keep users informed about what’s going on in the WordPress world

Let’s review each of the latest additions and how each supports independent publishers.

New Media Widgets

Marketers working on behalf of WordPress sites, rejoice—the 4.8 update makes including image, video, and audio files easier than ever. Users don’t need to have any knowledge of HTML or any technical bones in their bodies to bring this media to life. All you have to do is drag and drop your files into the WordPress media library to add images to widgets, no questions asked.

The reason why marketers need these features is the same reason that WordPress included them in the first place—visual media drives engagement. By improving image and video integration into WordPress widgets, the platform is allowing publishers of all kinds to better represent their brands and include high-impact visuals alongside all content they post.

Updated Rich Text Widget

Evans allows native rich text editing capabilities for text widgets. For the publishers tired of clicking, searching, formatting, and re-clicking, all to create a basic list or format some text, this is welcome news indeed. Rich text functionality means that publishers can stylize their content easier than ever before, a necessary part of drawing attention to key points and value-driving calls-to-action.

Improved Link Boundaries

For all the advancements in text editing that WordPress has seen over the past few years, linking boundaries has been neglected. Any time users needed to edit hyperlinked text, they found that either they broke their hyperlinks with their additions or they accidentally linked text that should have been outside the boundaries. No longer. Evans allows more granular control over hyperlink editing, an addition that will save daily publishers plenty of time in the long run.

Upgraded News Dashboard

Another new feature of 4.8 is an upgraded news and events dashboard. This appears in the admin area of your WordPress page and keeps you informed of all the latest and greatest news updates, promotions, and events sponsored by WordPress.

The key takeaway for publishers here is that the upgraded news feature keeps users up-to-date on all upgrades and emerging trends creating buzz in the WordPress zeitgeist. When updates that offer new options for customization come around, you’ll know about it. Think of it like keeping your finger on the pulse of your publishing platform.

Moving Forward with 4.8

Evans also includes several backend improvements to the WordPress cogs and gears, including fixes to several APIs and custom screen sizing for each user. However, these under the hood developments pale in comparison to the broader UX-oriented improvements that headline the 4.8 update. With increased functionality for adding images, video, formatted text, and link boundaries, WordPress is proving that it’s committed to the experience of its publishers. And as the capabilities of publishers improve, so too will their ability to reach out to their markets and engage them in meaningful ways.