Guten Tips!

Gutenberg is the new WordPress editor and it went live at the end of 2018. We’ve now had a few months to explore it and so some of us are sharing what we have learnt. Our previous blog post about the introduction of Gutenberg has some useful links you may wish to check out.

Lightning talks on Gutenberg by members of WordPress Cambridge

Our speakers on 11 February 2019 include:

  • David Thorne on the ‘Basics of Using Gutenberg as a sitebuilder’
  • Jonathan Whiteland is giving a few simple examples of how they’re beginning to successfully use Gutenberg at YTKO now; and show some of the more hair-raising things Gutenberg can cope with; then finish with talking briefly about how they plan to use Gutenberg going forwards
  • Chris O’Dell introducing the coding languages that developers need  (link opens a PowerPoint presentation) to starting learning to thrive in the ‘Gutenberg environment’:  React, JavaScript Frameworks & jsx
  • Elisabeth Klaar with a live demo/overview of Gutenberg from a ‘user’ (rather than developer) point of view

Some useful links

Elisabeth shares an excellent page featuring a compare/contrast between the old editor and the new editor (great if you find you’re stuck trying to do something  in Gutenberg that you used to do easily/fast in the Classic Editor). And another super useful overview of all the blocks with explanations of how they work and tutorials on how to use each different kind.


WordPress as a Marketing Portal

Thanks to Chris O’Dell and Simon Ellington for giving great talks at our January 2019 meetup.

Chris spoke on using WordPress to create a Minimum Viable Product to test the market. His quick approach to get a service/product to market  was inspiring. Chris’s full presentation is available for you to look through.

Simon spoke about how to use plugins in a super clever way to patch together a site offering a complex product. For reasons of client confidentiality he has shared a redacted version of his talk.



Gutenberg – new way to edit WordPress

Gutenberg (or WordPress 5.0) is now live…

December 6, 2018, will update the core of WordPress with the new editor, ‘Gutenberg’.

It’s a little controversial and makes some big changes to how the ‘back end’ of your WordPress site will look once you have updated WordPress. Your hosting company may delay updating the new version of WordPress until later (often predicted to be January 2019) to give the various people and organisation in the WordPress community a chance to debug it. So, you may find it’s the same for a bit and then changes in a few months, depending on the hosting you use.

We’ve rounded up some helpful links so you can get some background, find some tutorials and prepare yourself. We’ll also be running some meetups about this in 2019 – so join WordPress Cambridge Meetup and get notified of all our meetings.

Some links that may help you

Disabling Gutenberg while you learn a bit more…

If you want to wait a bit longer and learn a bit more about it before taking the plunge you can disable Gutenberg and stick with the old-style editor by using a plugin

WordPress Cambridge – learn more at our meetups

WordPress Cambridge has a forthcoming meeting where you can bring your own questions, concerns, and ask other people who are there – or you can be someone who gets up and answers or makes suggestions to others! It’s on December 10 2018 at the Bradfield Centre and you can see details on our site.

WordPress Cambridge members chip in…

Simon Jones from Cambridge-based Studio24 wrote a blog post on Gutenberg and says:

Personally I would strongly not recommend people update to this straight away. Most commercial hosting companies are likely to wait until they update sites (I’ve been told WP Engine don’t plan to roll out 5.0 until Jan). By mid-Jan there will be bug releases and plugins like ACF (which is not currently 100% compatible) should be stable.

He provides the following useful links for background:

Yoast on how Gutenberg isn’t ready quite yet… And a post by esteemed plugin authors, ACF (Advanced Custom Fields) on a similar note.

Though they have also both published some useful blogs recently:
Yoast on the question of whether you should update to Gutenberg (also known as WordPress 5.0) and Yoast on ‘pressing questions’ that remain about Gutenberg. In addition, ACF produced a blog ‘the night before’ Gutenberg giving their most recent views.

And don’t forget to check out Simon Jones’ own blog post.

Jonathan Whiteland of YTKO, and an active member of WordPress Cambridge, is proceeding cautiously too – scaling back the eagerness of his nightly auto-updating scripts and looking out for plugin problems too.

We’ll add more links – get in touch via WordPress Cambridge Meetup if you have something to contribute.


Resources for building accessible websites using WP

The resources below accompany the talk on accessible website design, from both user and developer perspectives, given by Zuzana Kunckova and Elisabeth Klaar at the March 2018 meeting of Cambridge WordPress Meetup.

Reasons for making your site accessible to everyone

Disability affects 1 in 5 of the UK population – that’s 12.9 million people who will find it easier to be your customers or site user if your site is accessible to them. An infographic from A Bright Clear Web gives further facts and figures to motivate you to make your site accessible. Fully referenced at the bottom of the page.

Also worth reading is Zuzana Kunckova’s medium article ‘Is your website accessible? If not you may be losing money!’

You can also learn more about the Social Model of Disability on Wikipedia.

Design principles

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative’s guide to Accessible Design Principles will get you up to speed on the key principles (make your site Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust) of accessible design.

Accessibility tips for beginners/users/non-coders

WPBeginner has a useful introductory article giving ‘non-coder’ tips for improving accessibility

The WP Accessiblity Plug-in developed by Joe Dolson is also an excellent way to configure your site if you are concerned it’s not accessible but you don’t want to change themes.

Adding images, text and video

A Bright Clear Web has an excellent ‘how to’ blog piece on adding alt text to images in the right way.

Foxland’s article on accessible content covers all bases from a user perspective – headings, video, images and more.

The UK Government has produced some fantastic posters about accessibility and website design, indicating the various ways the users with different impairments can benefit from tweaks in use of colour, in particular.

There are particular considerations for sharing information with people who have a learning difficulty, and the technique of Easy Read has been developed to help with this.

Accessibility for developers

The W3C guidelines for accessibility are a key resource

The WordPress Accessibility Handbook

There are also many articles on WebAIM going into detail about many aspects of accessibility, including intros/guidelines for key areas.

WAI-ARIA guidelines:

Tools for assessing accessibility

HTML validator – Chrome/Firefox Developer tools aXe Firefox and Chrome browsers extention WAVE – accessibility checker (also a chrome extension) Readibility checker – Contrast ration checker – Accessibility checklist –

Courses, for if you want to take it further

Udacity course on Accessible website design (general) (general)

WordPress: Accessibility on Lynda (WordPress specific)

People/groups to follow on twitter or on their blogs

The following people tweet or blog regularly about issues concerning accessibility and WordPress:

Joe Dolson   @joedolson

Claire Brotherton  @abrightclearweb

Graham Armfield  @coolfields

Adrian Roselli   @aardrian

Sami Keijonen  @samikeijonen

Rian Rietveld    @rianrietveld

And don’t forget to check out the useful and interesting videos on, in particular those exploring issues to do with accessibility. Typcially, these are videos of talks given at WordCamps around the world and are a useful resource for learning about many aspects of WordPress.