If you upgrade your WordPress site to the 5.3 version you’ll be greeted by a welcome message with a summary of features. You might be tempted to close that message and just get back to working on your website. For those who didn’t get a chance to read the welcome message, it’s pasted below. There is also a blog post on the main WordPress.org website with additional information about the release.
Introducing our most refined user experience with the improved block editor in WordPress 5.3!
5.3 expands and refines the block editor introduced in WordPress 5.0 with a new block, more intuitive interactions, and improved accessibility. New features in the editor increase design freedoms, provide additional layout options and style variations to allow designers complete control over the look of a site. This release also introduces the Twenty Twenty theme giving the user more design flexibility and integration with the block editor. Creating beautiful web pages and advanced layouts has never been easier.
Block Editor Improvements
This enhancement-focused update introduces over 150 new features and usability improvements, including improved large image support for uploading non-optimized, high-resolution pictures taken from your smartphone or other high-quality cameras. Combined with larger default image sizes, pictures always look their best.
Accessibility improvements include the integration of block editor styles in the admin interface. These improved styles fix many accessibility issues: color contrast on form fields and buttons, consistency between editor and admin interfaces, new snackbar notices, standardizing to the default WordPress color scheme, and the introduction of Motion to make interacting with your blocks feel swift and natural. For people who use a keyboard to navigate the dashboard, the block editor now has a Navigation mode. This lets you jump from block to block without tabbing through every part of the block controls.
Expanded Design Flexibility
WordPress 5.3 adds even more robust tools for creating amazing designs.
- The new Group block lets you easily divide your page into colorful sections
- The Columns block now supports fixed column widths
- The new Predefined layouts make it a cinch to arrange content into advanced designs
- Heading blocks now offer controls for text color
- Additional style options allow you to set your preferred style for any block that supports this feature
Introducing Twenty Twenty
As the block editor celebrates its first birthday, we are proud that Twenty Twenty is designed with flexibility at its core. Show off your services or products with a combination of columns, groups, and media blocks. Set your content to wide or full alignment for dynamic and engaging layouts. Or let your thoughts be the star with a centered content column!
As befits a theme called Twenty Twenty, clarity and readability is also a big focus. The theme includes the typeface Inter, designed by Rasmus Andersson. Inter comes in a Variable Font version, a first for default themes, which keeps load times short by containing all weights and styles of Inter in just two font files.
Improvements for Everyone
Automatic Image Rotation
Your images will be correctly rotated upon upload according to the embedded orientation data. This feature was first proposed nine years ago and made possible through the perserverance of many dedicated contributors.
Site Health Checks
The improvements introduced in 5.3 make it even easier to identify issues. Expanded recommendations highlight areas that may need troubleshooting on your site from the Health Check screen.
Admin Email Verification
You’ll now be periodically asked to confirm that your admin email address is up to date when you log in as an administrator. This reduces the chance of getting locked out of your site if you change your email address.
Date/Time Component Fixes
Developers can now work with dates and timezones in a more reliable way. Date and time functionality has received a number of new API functions for unified timezone retrieval and PHP interoperability, as well as many bug fixes.
PHP 7.4 Compatibility
WordPress 5.3 aims to fully support PHP 7.4. This release contains multiple changes to remove deprecated functionality and ensure compatibility. WordPress continues to encourage all users to run the latest and greatest versions of PHP.