Marketing & New Business Coorindator

What is the Gutenberg WordPress Update?

WordPress is set to revolutionize massive swathes of the internet with the introduction of its new editor called Gutenberg, coming soon in the 5.0 release. While change can be scary, this update has a lot of promise in terms of new design possibilities and time saved.

Named after Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, Gutenberg aims to provide an updated WordPress experience for its users by letting users create sophisticated design blocks for a drag-and drop website building experience.

Simply put, Gutenberg lets you customize design elements for your website that can be easily reused on any number of pages. The functionality is aimed at providing a simple low code/no code solution for getting websites with a custom feel without as many hours in the design phase. All that time spent on updating plugins, using shortcodes, and page editors may become a thing of the past with this update!

SiteOrigin, a popular plugin and theme creator, has put out a short video about how they are working tirelessly to ensure all of its plugins are Gutenberg compatible. This is good news for many of those that are using SiteOrigin! You can view the video here.

For those who aren’t ready to switch over to the Gutenberg editor just yet, there’s a classic WordPress plugin available that can set classic mode as the default. Wins all around!

Have any questions about Gutenberg or want us to help prepare your website for the Gutenberg update? Feel free to reach out!

New Privacy Features in WordPress 4.9.6 for GDPR Compliance

With the EU’s GDPR deadline looming large in everyone’s mind, WordPress has released Version 4.9.6, which includes several new privacy-related features to help WordPress site owners comply with GDPR regulations. Here’s a rundown of the new features:

Comments

Man on Laptop - GDPR

WordPress has always had the ability for users to leave comments (assuming that the site allows for it), and the ability for them to leave their information (name and email address) behind so that the site owners can contact them.

Previously, WordPress stored this value in a cookie in the commenter’s browser automatically, but now they’ve added a checkbox where a user must opt in to this functionality so that cookies are not stored unless the user consents to it.

Privacy Policy

WordPress now includes the ability to designate a page on your site as your Privacy Policy, which it will then include on your login and registration pages. However, it will not include it anywhere on the other pages of your site, so you’ll want to add a link to it somewhere, most likely in the footer of your website.

More importantly, it includes the ability to generate a template Privacy Policy that includes information about how WordPress uses cookies and stores information natively, and includes some empty sections that you can fill in yourself, as a starter template. We’ve created a version of this so you can see what this looks like here.

WordPress has also created a section of their plugin developer handbook that deals with privacy. They’ve added methods for plugin developers to add content to the Privacy Policy page to inform users of how their specific plugins collect and use information.

Data Handling Tools

In addition to the tools WordPress has added to inform users about privacy concerns, they’ve added tools for site owners to manage user data to comply with GDPR regulations. This includes two separate tools: Data Export and Data Erasure.

The Data Export tool allows site owners to export all of the data about a specific user by entering their email address into the admin interface in WordPress. When the site owner or manager does this, it will send the user an email confirming their request. Once they’ve confirmed the request, administrators can go back to this interface to send the user their data. You can also see past requests, and remove them if you’d like to do so. In the WordPress interface, you can find this tool in the left navigation menu as Tools » Export Personal Data.

The Data Erasure tool works in a similar fashion to the Data Export tool, where an administrator inputs an email address and an email is sent to the user. Once it’s confirmed, the administrator can then use the interface to erase all data about the user. You can find this tool in the left navigation as Tools » Erase Personal Data.

It’s very important to note that these tools will only affect core WordPress data unless plugins are updated to use the WordPress tools that export or erase personal data. Typically plugins update quickly, but as the owner of the website and data controller, it is your responsibility to make sure the plugins aren’t retaining data that isn’t being handled by this tool.

Summary

Overall, WordPress has included some very useful tools for both site owners and developers to help with the management of their GDPR burden. However, like anything GDPR-related, it’s going to take some extra effort to make sure you’re utilizing them to fully comply with new regulations.

Kevin VanEvery

Technical Sales Consultant

New WordPress Themes are More Than Beautiful

WordPress calls its 2014 theme a “beautiful magazine theme” and here at Matrix Group, we have to agree. We implement WordPress for many clients, not just for blogs, but also for microsites, campaign sites and publication sites. Here’s our review of the latest and greatest from WordPress.

The best way to look at this is side by side and WordPress keeps demo sites available for their default themes, so let’s take a look.

 

WordPress 2013

 
Twenty Fourteen Home page viewTwenty Fourteen Phone View
The very first thing you’ll notice is pictures!  The 2013 theme looks positively old fashioned, with what has become a very stale image header and then a very plain text over white background content area.  Now look at 2014.  The first thing you see is pictures.  Beautiful, large pictures in high contrast against the black background.  This is what a modern theme looks like.  Audiences react better to images and images really do sell your content.  
 
Where the display really separates itself is when you load it up on your phone.  You can simulate a phone display by shrinking the width of your browser window, or just load up the above link on your phone.  
 
Now, both themes have responsive designs, but you see some immediate differences.  The 2013 theme is just a clean display of the desktop display, but the 2014 theme uses the featured highlight images as big buttons that are easy to see and, more importantly, easy to click.  Using the whole image as the link to the post improves usability for people trying to click small links on small phones.  
 
These changes make the theme more modern, but when you look at it, what really ties this theme together is all the little details.  It’s hard to put your finger on what exactly makes this theme so much nicer and that’s because it’s not one thing, it’s a bunch of little things.
  • Navigation – the new theme puts all the navigation options on the left side, stacking them vertically to allow for as much room as is necessary to add  categories, and links to archives and popular content.  At the same time, it still supports additional utility navigation for pages across the top right of the header.
  • Right rail widgets – widgets have always been a popular part of the WordPress software, allowing a user to put dynamic content anywhere on the page, but the new theme adds a level of polish and emphasis to those elements with helpful iconography and stylized display
  • Footer – the footer adds a lot of utility, expanding out the navigation, tags, and any other widgets you want to add in the available space.
This theme is a huge upgrade over a series of relatively uninspired annual offerings from 2010 – 2013 and I hope people take notice of the updates to the most popular blog software available today.
 
What do you think of the new WP theme?  What theme do you use on your blog?