Delving Further Into WordPress Website Accessibility

Delving Further Into WordPress Website Accessibility • WPShout

So you’ve read Eric Karkovack’s post on WordPress accessibility, and now you want to make future sites you work on accessible. Great!

The WordPress project is committed to accessibility in Core.

The Accessibility Coding Standards pledge that:

All new or updated code released in WordPress must conform with the WCAG 2.0 guidelines at level AA.

How accessible a WordPress site is depends on three factors:

  1. Theme
  2. Plugins
  3. Content

Designers, developers and site owners all influence how accessible the end product is.

Developers have a particularly important role to play in the accessibility mix. Inaccessible code is usually invisible to the average user. Its failings may not be discovered until someone complains that they can’t see or do something on the website.

What can WordPress developers do to make the sites they build more accessible?

The best approach is to develop with accessibility in mind from the start. Remediating accessibility problems after a site has launched is always more time-consuming and expensive to do (but sometimes you may have no choice).

1. Choose an accessibility-ready theme

Using an accessibility-ready theme is a good foundation for an accessible site. A theme labelled accessibility-ready has passed WordPress.org’s theme review and has a number of additional accessible features built in.

All the WordPress.org default themes are accessibility-ready, including the newly released and acclaimed Twenty Twenty theme.

There’s only a small number of other themes available which have the accessibility-ready theme tag on WordPress.org. A few others are available commercially, such as some of the Genesis Framework child themes.

Alternatively, you could build your own theme. There is an excellent guide from the Make WordPress Accessible team on how to make a theme accessibility-ready.

2. Choose plugins which are coded to produce accessible content

Most of us reach for a plugin for any functionality which isn’t in WordPress Core. Unfortunately, there isn’t an accessibility-ready equivalent for plugins. So finding ones which don’t introduce accessibility problems is often a case of trial and error.

Don’t rely on plugins which remediate accessibility to fix all ills. As Eric pointed out in his post, WP Accessibility plugin can address some accessibility issues but it’s not a panacea. The same applies to many other accessibility-related plugins on WordPress.org.

If you develop plugins which create front-end content, why not make accessible ones? That will benefit both your projects and other people’s.

3. Educate clients to add content in an accessible way

You could build a perfectly accessible website and have it pass all your tests with flying colours. Then you hand it over to a client, and a few weeks later, you notice some accessibility fails…

Like a website itself, accessibility is an ongoing endeavor.

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This article was written by Claire Brotherton and originally published on WPShout.

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