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Wordpress and Web Accessibility Wordcamp UK 2014


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WordPress accessibility is improving, with some real strides over the last year. But is it changing fast enough?

This presentation covers some of the improvements that have been made with WordPress themes, and in the admin area. But I also cover some things that shouldn't have happened, and where we can learn from mistakes.

I also present my view of where WordPress should go next with accessibility.

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Wordpress and Web Accessibility Wordcamp UK 2014

  1. 1. Coolfields Consulting @coolfields WordPress and Web Accessibility 2014: Are we there yet? Graham Armfield Web Accessibility Consultant WordPress Developer @coolfields
  2. 2. What I’m Going to Cover • Recap on previous WCUK presentations • What’s happened in the last year • Themes • Spreading the a11y word • Admin • Hearing the a11y word • Things that shouldn't have happened • Where next for WordPress and accessibility 2
  3. 3. My previous WCUK presentations 3 Slides at
  4. 4. My previous WCUK presentations 4 Slides at Slides at
  5. 5. Coolfields Consulting @coolfields What's happened with themes and accessibility since WCUK 2013?
  6. 6. Themes and accessibility 6 5 results for 'accessibility' and 5 results for 'accessible'
  7. 7. The 'accessibility-ready' tag 7
  8. 8. The 'accessibility-ready' tag 8 'Official' Version (soon to be updated): Guide for reviewers:
  9. 9. The 'accessibility-ready' tag requires: • Alternate text for images • Media must not start or change automatically • Meaningful heading structure • Meaningful link text (eg not just Read More) • Keyboard operability and visible focus • Adequate colour contrast 9
  10. 10. The 'accessibility-ready' tag requires: (contd) • Skip Links • Form elements with appropriate labels and accessible responses • A warning to users before opening new windows or tabs • No use of accesskey attribute • No use of tabindex values other than 0 or -1 10
  11. 11. Why 'accessibility-ready'? A website's accessibility is not just down to the theme. They let site admins add plugins… They let content authors loose on it… 11
  12. 12. An accessible theme author writes… 12
  13. 13. • Dropdown menus in 2012, 2013 and 2014 are keyboard accessible. • Including the responsive menu in 2014 • Theme producers are beginning to get involved Other WP theme a11y highlights form the last year 13
  14. 14. So what about plugins? • There is a plugin review process. • But no mention of accessibility. • Could there be an accessibility review? • Does there need to be? 14
  15. 15. Which plugins affect accessibility? Some examples: • Slider/carousel plugins • Lightbox plugins • Form generator plugins • Etc 15
  16. 16. Coolfields Consulting @coolfields Spreading the accessibility word
  17. 17. WordCamp Europe 2013 17 Bram Abbot
  18. 18. WordCamp London & Sheffield 18 Photo by Mike Pead
  19. 19. WordCamps US, Canada + others 19 Joe Dolson at WC Minneapolis Joseph Karr O'Connor at WC Montreal
  20. 20. WordPress contributor days 20 Picture by Florian Ziegler
  21. 21. Thanks to those who've got involved at Contributor Days, And through fixes to a11y trac tickets. But, we've got a long way to go. Contributions are very welcome 21
  22. 22. Coolfields Consulting @coolfields What's happened with the WP admin and accessibility?
  23. 23. 6 (From 2013) Progress on key issues 23 Issue Fix? Release Theme Customizer All keyboard operable including colour picker. VR use not so easy. 3.5 Custom Menu Builder Improvements for screen reader users and partially for VR users. 3.6?? Links Skip links now present, but only visible when receive focus. Many redundant links removed. 3.5 Log out without a mouse Log out link appears when receives focus, but still not permanently visible. 3.5 Visible focus Much better in most places. 3.5 Labels for input fields in page/post lists (eg search/select all) Much better. 3.5 Screen options Much easier for screen reader users to find and use. 3.5 Accessibility of quick edit panel Not yet. ??? Tab order not logical Much better. 3.5 And there are others… 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 6 6
  24. 24. Not WP 3.5's finest a11y hour No labelling of the media for screen readers if you could get to them 24 Can’t be used without a mouse – no way to tab to the media
  25. 25. Is it fixed yet? 25 In 3.6? No In 3.7? Nein In 3.8? Ne In 3.9? Nahi In 4.0? Oui, probablement
  26. 26. Custom menu builder in 3.4/3.5 Custom menu builder • Keyboard operability not good • Could add items to menu… • But could not manipulate hierarchy • Could tab to items… • But no useful audible feedback for screen readers • Lack of meaningful help or instructions - especially for those with cognitive issues 26
  27. 27. Custom menu builder in 3.6 27 + Screen reader feedback improved somewhat…
  28. 28. • Fixing unhelpful tab order in some screens • Accessibility of quick links in Pages/Posts/etc • Addition of form labels to some admin fields • Improvements to TinyMCE • Colour contrast improvements Other WP admin a11y highlights form the last year 28
  29. 29. Coolfields Consulting @coolfields Hearing the accessibility word
  30. 30. Digital Accessibility Centre visit 30
  31. 31. • Add Media issues (not surprisingly) • Keyboard operability and focus • Text won't resize in IE and not cleanly in FF Selection of issues found 1 31
  32. 32. • Using voice recognition in WP admin is hard work • Colour contrast too subtle in places • Link and button text • Audible feedback when things have happened • Clarity of form field labels – eg in post formats selection One thing mentioned by all – WP admin needs more help or instructions, especially for those who may be relying on AT Selection of issues found 2 32
  33. 33. Coolfields Consulting @coolfields What shouldn't have happened
  34. 34. 3.8 halted by accessibility issue 34
  35. 35. Over on the accessibility blog… 35 can-prioritize/
  36. 36. Is our defence strong enough? 36 Source: Getty / GABRIEL BOUYS
  37. 37. The fallout and discussion on that post brought about some positive ideas – including this proposal: All new functionality would need to go through an accessibility test before being accepted into core But has that happened? What happened next 37
  38. 38. Could it happen again? 38
  39. 39. Media library in 4.0 39
  40. 40. Plugin search and install in 4.0 40
  41. 41. Coolfields Consulting @coolfields WordPress, we have a problem
  42. 42. • A large group in theory, but only 4 or 5 regular active players • None are employed by Automattic or Audrey • We have to juggle WP a11y work with our other commitments • 3 of us are developers (I think) • 3 have experience in accessibility testing The Make WordPress Accessible Team 42
  43. 43. Can the Make WordPress Accessible Team make WordPress accessible? • Being totally responsible for the accessibility of WordPress is not really feasible – especially with such a small team of volunteers • And it will not bring about change fast enough to include some groups of people in the WordPress 'experience' for the foreseeable future – if ever 43
  44. 44. Coolfields Consulting @coolfields So where to next for WordPress and accessibility?
  45. 45. WordPress for the world 45
  46. 46. WordPress has it's critics 46 Simone -
  47. 47. WordPress has it's critics 47
  48. 48. WordPress needs more posts like this 48
  49. 49. The situation has to change Retrospectively applying sticking plaster solutions to new functionality that is inaccessible is not the answer It wastes time, and leads to poor, half-baked solutions that don’t work for everyone and can be hard to maintain Accessibility has to be considered at all stages – design, build, testing So everyone has to be involved We need an accessibility strategy that everyone can buy into 49
  50. 50. What I think should happen WordPress needs to overtly and publicly embrace accessibility. And be more proud and public of its accessibility achievements and successes. Automattic or Audrey need to appoint an accessibility lead with the following responsibilities: • To research and develop an accessibility strategy • To advise core/UI developers and propose accessibility solutions • To check accessibility of new functionality before it's accepted into core 50
  51. 51. How I got into accessibility 51
  52. 52. Remember… Every accessibility step you take makes the web easier for someone. Please take your next step soon. 52
  53. 53. Thanks for listening – any questions? @coolfields 53