With the rollout of WordPress 4.2, there are a number of features that we are all still adjusting to.
Since the latest WordPress update, version 4.2, was made available in late April, it has been downloaded almost 18 million times. With that update, and the following 4.2.2 security fixes, those of us who manage multiple sites, some of which must be updated manually, have been too busy until now to take notice of all of the changes. One of these changes is the removal of the link title attribute field in the insert link modal.
While some of the changes, such as the new plugin interface and terrific changes to Press This, were obvious and welcome, there was one change that I could not, will not, get used to. The new insert/edit link modal. Along with the latest update, we are no longer given the option of providing a link title to links inserted into pages or posts. Instead, we can only edit the link itself.
I was initially confused. Why would I need to edit a link that I had just typed into my post? In fact, I found this a great disservice to my readers. This has nothing to do with SEO. Because of the large number of links I include in my posts, I have an internal system for deciding which will open on the same page, and which will open on a new tab.
As a courtesy, and out of respect, I prefer to let my readers know ahead of time when they will be opening a new tab when clicking a link. I do this with the tooltip displayed by link title.
I am not going to waste your time explaining why the Title field was removed, other than to say it seems more like social engineering than practicality or functionality. For a complete rundown on the politics of the change, I encourage you to check out Jeff Chandler at WPTavern, who originally covered this.
For those of you who like the tooltip aspect of link titles, and wish it had not been removed, you are in luck, After only a few weeks of having to manually add link titles to my links, breaking my concentration and workflow, there is a solution.
Restore Link Title Field plugin is available, and it does just what it says. It gives you back the insert/edit link box you are used to using, nothing more, nothing less.
I understand that WordPress is continuously changing, and that some changes are bound to have supporters and detractors. I am sure as well that no change is made without careful thought as to consequences.
Having said that, there was no valid reason that the link text field could not have been added to the modal as an additional field, without removing the title field. When I read the justification for the change, and it repeatedly mentions “accessibility”, it makes it clear that something other than functionality was at work here during the decision-making process.
I would be curious to hear your thoughts on this, as well as the other WordPress 4.2 changes.