WordPress 5.5 update came with a bunch of changes. Many were to the block editor but some were not related to the editor at all.
The cosmetic changes in WordPress 5.5 release are to make things look and work better for things like screen readers for the visually impaired.
Before we get into the Cosmetic Changes In WordPress 5.5 Release, I want to cover (or remind you) the differences between a major and minor release of WordPress updates.
More importantly, when you should update that new release and when you should wait at least a few days.
The Difference Between WordPress Major & Minor Releases
Now, just a quick reminder, before any updates, you should always do a full backup of both your files and database.
Before we get too deep into this, with a major release, like this one (5.5), you should wait a few days to a week before you upgrade. But with any minor releases, you should immediately update to those.
Major release, wait a bit – Minor release, immediate update.
So the version numbers for major updates involve a change in the first two digits, 5.4 to 5.5 or 5.8 to 5.9 for example.
The version numbers for minor updates involve a change in the third digit, like 5.5 to 5.5 0.1 or 5.5 0.1 to 5.5 0.2 – again, there’s a third digit that has changed. That is how you can tell the difference between a minor and major update.
As I mentioned earlier, you should hold off on updating your site with a major release. Now you can do the major updates right away if you have that full backup that I told you about. That way if something goes wonky, you can just revert to that backup.
Here’s Why You Should Wait…
Major updates involve the addition of goodies. You can see like new themes or features like new blocks along with things that you cannot see, like overall site speed and security.
Now some of these new features or goodies, might break certain plugins that you have. So waiting a few days to let the WordPress community do their tests is always a good idea.
In other words, let it break somebody else’s site.
Here’s Why You Should
Now minor updates, however, usually involve security patches and bug fixes and that’s why they need to be installed immediately. So remember the difference between minor and major.
Remember, always do full backups before you do either and do those minor updates immediately. Hold off a little bit on the major updates.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to the Cosmetic Changes In WordPress 5.5 Release.
What’s New in WP 5.5.
There is quite a bit of “what’s new” so I’ve broken it down into 3 separate posts. This one covers the cosmetic things that I mentioned earlier that help with screen readers. Then I’ll cover the new stuff directly related to the block editor, like new buttons and new settings.
Lastly, I’ll go over the non-block editor things that are what I (and others) call “under the hood” items that affect security, speed and things like that. Things that many of us users will likely not even notice.
I’m mainly going to cover some of the Cosmetic Changes In WordPress 5.5 Release. Here in the editor window, beginning with the add block button. It’s no longer the plus sign in a circle, and now it looks like a button.
Now you also have some new icons. Most of them are the same tool. It just looks a little bit different. And in the various toolbars, we’ve got more defined borders. And you’ll see some of the various new icons when you check out the new toolbar ‘look.’
Again, most are the same tool; they just look a little bit different.
One of the better toolbar updates, in my opinion, is those handlebars off to the left. The ones that allowed you to move a block up or down.
They are now inside of the inline toolbar, which to me, is a significant improvement.
Small as it is, It’s still a vast improvement because it’s no longer in your way. Or at least in my way.
So I still prefer to have the inline toolbar stuck up to the top toolbar area, which you can do by the way, under More Tools and Options, then clicking on the top toolbar in the view module.
The next item on my list of Cosmetic Changes In WordPress 5.5 Release is your ability to preview your editor window.
Now, you can preview your work in the desktop mode like it is by default and in tablet mode and mobile mode.
Not only does it allow you to see what it looks like in a tablet and mobile view, but it will enable you to continue editing in those views as well.
For example, we go to mobile, and it shows you what it would look like in a mobile device. And like I said, you can continue editing this too.
Now, if you’re a user of some of these other page builders (I’m looking at you, Elementor) that allow you to make changes within a mobile view that is different than that of a tablet or desktop view, the block editor here has not gotten there just yet.
I’m sure they will eventually, but whatever changes you make here in the editor window’s mobile view also occur in the desktop or tablet mode.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry about it. Just know that you can edit in these other modes, as well as being able to view what your content looks like in those modes.
You also have the Preview In New Tab, which like the name says, allows you to see what this looks like in your browser outside the editor window.
That is pretty much the Cosmetic Changes In WordPress 5.5 Release.
I’ll have the other posts covering the Updates in the WordPress 5.5 release within the next few days. So don’t be a stranger – come on back to check them out.
By the way, I did a post not long ago on a one way to use transcripts you may (with most all of my PLR video packages you get the transcripts) receive when you purchase PLR videos. This post is kind of an example of that because I used much of the transcripts from the below video as the content of the above post.
Here is a video version of this post in case you are like me and more of a visual consumer of content: