Make WordPress Accessible

Updates from January, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • esmi 9:42 am on January 25, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , ,   

    IRC Meetups 

    Most of the other WordPress groups have weekly meetings via IRC. Do you think this would be viable option for this group too? Does anyone have any difficulties accessing IRC?

    If we did have regular meetups, I’m assuming weekdays would be best — for half an hour or so between 19:00 and 21:00 GMT?


    • GrahamArmfield 9:50 am on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Sorry for my ignorance but what’s IRC?

      • esmi 10:38 am on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Oh – sorry! Internet Relay Chat. You can use dedicated software like mIRC. There are also JavaScript browser interfaces like Freenode’s web chat and an increasing number of apps for mobile devices. I’m about to try using IRC999 for the iPad which, I understand, works well with VoiceOver.

    • GrahamArmfield 9:51 am on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Re your second question – yes, weekdays are best.

    • ceo 11:39 am on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I have no problem with IRC. I’m on it all day for work anyway. 😉

      • ceo 11:40 am on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Ok, not related, but the last two days (and I assume this may be related to being invited?) when I post a comment it gives me an “unknown error; comment not posted” message even though my comment has too been posted.

      • Joseph Karr O'Connor 9:03 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I will participate in IRC sessions, very smart idea.

    • Nelson 12:48 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I haven’t used WordPress’s IRC before, but I think using IRC in that time frame to discuss accessibility testing would be an excellent idea.

    • Sveta 2:31 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Chat is a good idea as long as its FULLY accessible to deaf participats like myself via text.

      • esmi 2:35 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        @Sveta: It’s 100% pure text. I have hearing problems myself and absolutely hate video chat. 🙂

        • Sveta 3:18 pm on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Yes, but some chats include audio and people like myself can miss it if people use audio and don’t type.

    • esmi 2:32 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      That could just be P2 (the theme) acting up. Sometimes it tells me that the network connection has been lost and then quite happily publishes my Post or comment. :-/

      • ceo 4:23 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Assuming this was to me? 🙂
        Okies, well, I won’t freak out then about random posting errors that aren’t errors per se.

    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 4:13 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      esmi – You’re welcome to snag sfd for that. I mean, docs does. 🙂 Or use UI, since I think they’re mostly in -dev now.

    • esmi 4:21 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Re-using UI would be a great idea. Who would I need to clear this with?

    • Joseph Karr O'Connor 9:45 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      For our first IRC topic:

      From rachelbaker a new post:
      Theme Handbook Update Jan 24th on documentation page:

      It calls for contributions on many topics including accessibility. I just saw this and have not had time to read the Google docs associated with the project. If there is a need I will contribute and will ask for input from this group.

    • esmi 9:53 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ve already volunteered to contribute the the Theme Handbook (or pretty much any other handbook that is to have an Accessibility section) . I figured I’d draft something up and then throw it open to this group for comments, suggestions etc.

    • Joseph Karr O'Connor 11:20 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Excellent, if you want my help I’m ready.

    • Joe Dolson 8:55 pm on January 26, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I could give a shot to IRC chat most week days.

    • Rian Rietveld 7:44 am on January 28, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’d like to join in too, for me on week days is also the best.

    • Amanda 6:02 pm on February 1, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I would love to participate in some sort of WP accessibility meetup. Weedays would be best for me too.I’m using both Jaws and NVDA, and Window Eyes on occasion, have been woring with WordPress since 2005 helping people set up accessible websites with it, and have been looing for a way to contribute to WP development.

    • tady 11:39 am on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Yup, I’d be all up for being involved in that. I haven’t been able to give constant feedback to the group due to work, and only dipping in and out of the group page, so I’d be glad to contribute to an IRC group more regularly.

    • Sveta 3:17 pm on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I wonder what WordPress managers say about this? Is it possible to bring this issue to attention of managers?

      • esmi 3:37 pm on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Sorry – I’m not following you. There are no WordPress managers per se. It’s a community project and we should be able to use the existing #wordpress-ui channel. I’m just about to post a suggested schedule.

  • esmi 12:08 pm on January 24, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: animation, sound   

    Don’t “Let It Snow.” How Autoplays Can Disable Visitors to Your Website

    • Cyndy Otty 12:18 pm on January 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for posting this for me, @esmi! I’m not nearly awake enough to function yet.

      Anyway, one thing is, for particular blogs on WP.com the blog owner can opt out of the snow feature. And it does save the selection each year.

      When I am more awake/have the time I want to see if this is still something that would fall out of compliance with WCAG.

    • Nelson 12:46 pm on January 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      esmi, thank you for posting this–thank you VERY much. Cyndy, I’ll be looking forward to anything and everything you find out concerning compliance with WCAG. Thank you both, yet again!

    • esmi 12:54 pm on January 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      @Nelson: Have a look at WCAG guideline 152. It references gifs but would cover any animation displayed on a site.

      • Nelson 1:06 pm on January 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        This is a super, and super-timely resource for me as I set up the site….thank you, yet again, esmi.

    • Nelson 6:19 pm on January 24, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Just to let you know, I sent this article around at work, and comments are coming in about it. The article is awesome because it really personalizes the hardships; it’s not just about “more” technology. It really helps readers to understand what’s going on. This was a great choice!

    • Sharon Wachsler 2:28 am on February 5, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Howdy! I’m very excited to see this thread cuz I wrote that post!
      Actually, I was coming over here to post about this issue and ask what people can do to help. I’m about to cross-post that article (with some updates and beautification) at AbilityMaineBlog.blogspot.com and I wanted to include suggestions about advocacy on the “Let It Snow” issue. So, do you have suggestions for people to help make the feature an opt-in versus an opt-out?
      Thanks very much for your assistance. It’s very gratifying to see that this topic is already under discussion.

      • esmi 11:27 am on February 5, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Since this is a wordpress.com issue, there is a limit to what we can suggest in terms of making this an opt-in feature. That said, we already have one wordpress.com person here, so we know that at least one person is aware of these issues over there but I’ll try pinging someone else over at Automattic to see if we can get a bit more traction on it.

        Sorry I’ve been a little quiet of late. Still trying to get over a nasty bout of flu. 🙁

        • Jen Mylo 1:02 pm on February 5, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I’ll mention this thread to the .com folks.

          • Sharon Wachsler 3:51 pm on February 7, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            @esmi, sorry about the flu. It’s been a horrible cold and flu season this year. Hope you’re feeling better soon.
            Thanks for the clarification. I keep getting confused about which boards are for .com and which for .org. I appreciate your support on the issue.
            @Jen thank you also for your help.
            I guess I’ll just put in my new post that WP folks know about it and it’s being worked on. I do like to offer concrete steps people can take, but it sounds like in this case, there’s not much to offer.

  • esmi 3:12 pm on January 15, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    Aaron Jorbin is suggesting that the new Twenty Thirteen should be designed and built “accessibility first”. He outlines exactly what he means by this in What I want to see in the Twenty Thirteen theme. I think this is an initiative we should all support 100%.

  • Graham Armfield 9:46 am on January 11, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , usability,   

    User Videos – An Accessibility Angle 

    Over the last few months WP dev lessbloat has done a series of videos where he has invited in ‘real-life’ users to try out various features of the WordPress backend – and has videoed the experience.

    I’ve watched many of these videos and read the transcripts of the interactions and they are a really great insight into usability, and assumptions that developers make about how much users understand about what’s expected of them. The most recent one is at: https://make.wordpress.org/ui/2013/01/09/two-more-menus-user-tests-focusing-on-this/

    I’ve often thought that it would be quite revealing if somehow we could produce a series of videos of blind and motor impaired users trying out key bits of the admin area. These would highlight the accessibility issues perhaps more than words on a page could, and could constitute a powerful benchmark on which to base future improvements.

    Does anyone else think this might be useful? And if so, how could we go about making some?

    • Joseph Karr O'Connor 10:31 am on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      User testing is a powerful tool and can be very revealing.

      When the users being tested are local, for this type of usability testing I use Silverback by Clearleft Limited. It captures screen actions and embeds a video of the user in the frame. The user is captured by the built-in camera in the computer. Silverback is for Mac. http://silverbackapp.com

      This is not the only scenario. Remote user testing is also available. Here is an article listing some of the companies that do this: http://www.actualinsights.com/2012/free-remote-user-testing/

      Finally, asking for free participation in such studies is a sensitive issue in the disability community.

      The CSUN conference is coming up soon. I will devise some tests – I will take input from this group about the focus of those tests. I will put out a call for people to meet with me at the conference to do some testing. I will capture the experience with Silverback. I would like to offer something to participants – a Starbucks card for example – is there any budget for this?

      • GrahamArmfield 10:51 am on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for your reply Joe.

        I’ve also seen some very useful accessibility tests of some websites that were done via sharing the screens over Skype and recording the results via Camtasia studio. Perhaps not as sophisticated but valuable nevertheless.

        The issue about budget is a good one. I’m not close enough in to the WP organisation to know about that – Esmi may have to comment on that. It would be interesting to find out if lessbloat gets a budget for his vids and gives his paricipants anything.

        Your idea about CSUN is a good one. For my money the focus should definitely be on things that are obviously not accessible – like Custom Menu Builder, etc. But it would be good to test the whole process of adding a new post with some media and some links and headings within the page. After all, that’s the key functionality that needs to work for everyone. Itwould also be nice to test things where the situation has improved recently after the tickets that got included within 3.5.

        Another issue is how widely these videos are publicised if they ever get made. My natural gut feel is that full public airing is good – for knowledge, and as a spur to improve. But I know that perhaps not everyone might agree with that.

        • Joseph Karr O'Connor 2:36 am on January 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I’ll post the videos on YouTube and promote them to the accessibility and WordPress communities. I can’t do this alone. I will commit to getting people to engage in some focused testing. I cannot afford the time to CC the videos and provide audio description, which the videos will need. We’ll need someone to do that.

          • GrahamArmfield 8:06 am on January 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I’m willing to help with this Joseph.

            Creating captions is not necessarily difficult but can be time consuming. But I’ve done some recent experiments and the facility within YouTube to create a captions file from a transcript actually works really well most times. Now it’s a lot easier to crowdsource the production of a transcript for a video than a caption file directly.

            With transcripts, you or I can upload into YouTube to use as the raw material for a caption. It’s then possible to hack the YouTube caption file where the auto-syncing hasn’t worked so well.

            So a possible workflow for each video would be:

            1. Shoot and edit video, and upload to YouTube.
            2. When someone has created a transcript we upload that to YouTube and go with the transcript-fed captions.
            3. Where necessary, people identify segments where the captions aren’t synching right and one of us tweaks as required.

            By the way, you’ll not be surprised to hear that the auto-captioning facility within YouTube is laughably bad.

            Do you need to create a WordPress Accessibility YouTube account? Is that the best idea? What does everyone else think?

            • Joseph Karr O'Connor 7:43 am on January 14, 2013 Permalink

              I believe we should start a WordPress Accessibility channel on YouTube only if we expect to regularly post to it. Otherwise, if I do a few user testing videos I can just post to my own channel.

            • Joseph Karr O'Connor 7:46 am on January 14, 2013 Permalink

              Thanks Graham, I’ve captioned lots of videos and know how time consuming it can be.

      • esmi 11:54 am on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        As far as I am aware there are no budgets available to anyone via wordpress.org. Where people do have access to user testing & video facilities, I would imagine that they are being provided as a form of sponsorship via their employers.

    • esmi 11:50 am on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think this would be an excellent idea and is very much in line with my hopes of building up a pan-disability panel of users within this group.

    • Nelson 12:45 pm on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Joseph, that website you provided on actualinsights.com is great. I see that they have an app for iPads and iPhones–which to me, is huge. I had been looking a LONG time for something like this…..THANK YOU.


    • Sveta 9:20 pm on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It is also important that videos are captioned and transcribed for those who cannot hear. None of WordPress.tv videos are captioned at all – to say nothing about many other online videos on other websites.

      • Cyndy Otty 5:05 pm on January 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I don’t believe WordPress.tv has the ability as yet to transcribe videos. Though, even a separate text document/page/whatever would be beneficial in lieu of an actual transcription until something changes. Even something as simple as a detailed description of the video could be helpful.

        • Joseph Karr O'Connor 2:33 am on January 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          WCAG and Section 508 both require that video be captioned. Transcripts may be posted as a stop-gap measure until the video is captioned. Detailed description does not meet the criteria for success. Captioning services can deliver finished captioning quickly and economically when organizations don’t have the labor to do the job.

          The larger question for us all is: do we want to include all users, or do we find it acceptable that some are excluded?

          • GrahamArmfield 8:19 am on January 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Good question Joe. My view is that we should aim to include all users, but understanding that that is not always possible – certainly initially.

            You’ll see my comments elsewhere about the provision of captions and how that could work. Cyndy’s point about wordpress.tv and captions is important. Captions isn’t the only accessibility issue with wordpress.tv.

            I think signed versions might be something that might be hard to deliver on a limited budget, and I’m not sure about adding audio descriptions.

        • GrahamArmfield 7:50 am on January 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          wordpress.tv has many problems with accessibility – eg lack of captions, and poor keyboard accessibility. It really needs to change.

          If WordPress wants to host the videos themselves then they need to embed them with a player that is keyboard accessible and supports captions.

          I’ve done a bit of work using the player that is available from Nomensa (http://www.nomensa.com/about/news-items/nomensas-accessible-media-player-20-now-free-download) which is pretty good for accessibility (keyboard control, captions) but with some limitations.

          I’ve created a crude WP plugin that incorporates it which I’ve used on a couple of sites. It’s not on general release as it’s nowhere near finished. But it works with videos hosted on YouTube.

          The biggest limitation of the Nomensa player at the moment is that for YouTube vids the player always uses flash which means that it’s not natively available on iPads and iPhones. However, if you’re hosting the vids yourself it can allegedly pull in the JWPlayer which allows delivery using the HTML5 video object on browsers that support it – should include iOS devices.

          Maybe consideration of the accessibility of wordpress.tv needs another thread – it’s a big subject.

    • esmi 1:51 pm on January 14, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Maybe consideration of the accessibility of wordpress.tv needs another thread

      Agreed – as that might be edging to wards the edge of our remit. One area that is definitely within our remit is to review all videos used in support documentation – such as those being incorporated into the new User Handbook.

    • esmi 1:53 pm on January 14, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      do you know lessbloat?

      Not spoken to him myself but I will try contacting him for details.

      • esmi 4:19 pm on January 23, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Update: Had a quick chat with lessbloat. He’s using usertesting.com and, as he works for Automattic, they are kindly picking up the tab for the tests. Had a quick look at the pricing structure for usertesting.com and it would work out pretty expensive if you wanted to carry out more than a couple of testing sessions.

  • esmi 11:35 pm on January 10, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: support   

    Accessibillty Questions on the Support Forums 

    I’ve been trying to think of how we can provide better support for theme devs, plugin authors and site owners on the WordPress forums. I seem to recall someone asking about a dedicated Accessibility forum but, sadly, I don’t think there’s enough in terms of traffic to warrant such a forum yet.

    However, what we could do is to use a dedicated tag — ie accessibility — to make finding these kinds of support posts a lot easier. with the RSS feed for the tag pulled into here as well. I could also ask the support forum mods to add the tag to any topic that they felt needed special attention.


    • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 12:39 am on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think that’s a great idea 🙂 As forum mods, we should (could) be betetr about tagging things too.

    • Joe Dolson 5:14 am on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      That seems like a great idea to me, too. All my time in the support forums tends to need to be dedicated to plug-in support, so it’s hard for me to do much more than that, but if it was there I’d definitely check in on it periodically.

    • Graham Armfield 9:03 am on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great idea Esmi.

    • esmi 10:09 am on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ve added the feed to all accessibility tagged forum posts to the bottom of the sidebar here. Off to ask the forum mod team if they can add the tag where they feel it’s appropriate,.

    • Nelson 12:37 pm on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Absolutely, a great idea!

    • Andrea Rennick 2:58 pm on January 13, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Yes, we should – it will help quantify the need as well. 🙂

  • esmi 1:16 pm on January 10, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , tools   

    Just published a new page of Useful Tools. If you know of any plugins or development tools that can help to raise the accessibility of a site, theme or plugin, please let us know.

    • GrahamArmfield 1:57 pm on January 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I would encourage any developer who is interested in building and/or testing for accessibility to download a copy of the NVDA screen reader. It’s a fully functional screen reader, almost as good as JAWS, and is now the screen reader of choice for many blind and dyslexic users. What’s more, it’s free.

      It works best on Firefox and IE – Chrome doesn’t support all the necessary accessibility API stuff (thanks Google). It’s possible to download a version that you can place onto a memory stick so that it’s portable – something I don’t think you can do with JAWS.

      Not surprisingly there are lots of keyboard shortcuts to learn, but there are some tutorial videos available I believe, and lists of the most useful keystrokes on the web.

      It’s available at: http://www.nvda-project.org/

      • esmi 2:08 pm on January 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I’ve just (literally) finished writing a piece for book on web accessibility and I’ve actually said the complete reverse. For what it’s worth, here are my views on this subject:

        Don’t try using assistive technology yourself. Using a demo screen reader for a few hours will NOT give you a good overview of how visually impaired users navigate sites. Many of these users will have been using their particular software daily for years. Implementing changes based on your few hours of experience is likely to do more damage than good. Instead, make the best of the many accessiblity resources that are available on the Web.

        • Cyndy Otty 7:31 pm on January 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I’m going to side with esmi on this one. At the end of the day, you’re always going to have the ability to actually see what’s on the screen. Also, as I said in a comment below, testing one piece of software is not indicative of all adaptive set ups. Screen readers are often used in conjunction with other equipment, too, like Braille displays.

          Certainly I don’t hold a monopoly on the screen reader using population, but NVDA being a popular choice is news to me. VoiceOver is probably the second most used that I’m aware of and I’d venture to say that it’s mostly because it’s much easier and cost effective to buy a system that has accessibility options built in over spending thousands of dollars to accomplish the same thing.

    • Nelson 8:41 pm on January 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      esmi, Cyndy, your reactions are so surprising to me. These insights are pure gold. Like Graham, I had viewed the use of technology such as NVDA invaluable; I would have never in a million years predicted such a response as “Dont try using assistive technology yourself”. (Although after further reading I think I see what you are getting at).

      I honestly do not know how else to become familiar with a technology except to use it myself. I guess I’m a little intimidated, no, intimidated a LOT by the fact I simply don’t know how to incorporate changes to address assistive technology without being familiar with the technology first hand.

      These conversations are giving me a LOT to chew on, and cause me to very seriously reconsider our current approach to learn and adapt accessible technologies. Graham, esmi, and Cyndy, thank you.

      • esmi 11:14 pm on January 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        My opinions on this come out of discussions with Jim Thatcher – a guru in the field of web accessibility who also built some of the very first screen readers. He reckoned it would take a solid couple of hours every day for at least a month before a web developer was close to using JAWS in the same way as the average non-sighted user would. Anything less than that and any assumptions made could be seriously invalid. There’s a lot of info out there on how assistive technology is used by real people every day. You might find that a lot more useful than trying to use the technology yourself.

    • Graham Armfield 9:27 am on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Esmi, I can see where your opinions are coming from, and yes there is a danger that a short use of a screen reader (say) will not give you an accurate view of the way that expert users use that particular tool. Surely there are as many different approaches to using screen readers as there are screen reader users – isn’t there a parallel with an operating system here?

      Yes there are many resources on the web – including videos of visually impaired people using screen readers etc, and I do encourage people I talk to about accessibility to use those too. But when I present on web accessibility to developers and others the bits where I demo screen readers and speech recognition stimulate a lot of interest. To be able to show people the direct affect of adding appropriate alt attributes to images, and properly marked up labels to input fields is gold.

      My comments on the rising popularity of NVDA come from views gleaned from various blogs and from the WebAim Screen Reader survey – http://webaim.org/projects/screenreadersurvey4

      I’m just starting to learn VoiceOver myself now – having just got my first iOS device.

      • Nelson 2:02 pm on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Much to digest here. What limited experience I’ve had supports esmi and Cyndy’s claim about the use of an assistive technology by a user who actually doesn’t NEED the technology. I had built up a website, adjusting all HTML and CSS based on what I found on the web so that screen readers could use it–and when I found out the blind user did not use ANY of the special features I had built into the website (e.g., skip-to-navigation links), but instead used standard HTML markup, I was stunned. He pulled out his laptop, and a Windows-based technology ran through the page so quickly my head spun. I literally could not keep up with him.

        BUT I find personally that the biggest problem in supporting accessibility iniitiatives is–getting support! There is no substitute, none, for bringing the point home to sighted, able-bodied administrators and staff what it is like to be blind, immobile, or whatever, and still be asked to function. To date, the only way to bring this home is to give demonstrations of what it’s like to try and function with a disability. Only then does the grumbling stop about adding “alt tags” and such.

        And what I said earlier still holds true, at least for me personally–in order to write a website in an accessible manner, I can’t just “read” about it on the web–I personally have to go through some sort of experience to make me understand, in my guts, what’s happening when a blind person approaches a web page, or a person with a mobility issue tries to access a drop-down menu, etc.

        The crux of the matter is, how a sighted person like me realisticly gains insights into working a web page without being blind. Again, incredibly valuable insights provided here, and I thank you all.

      • Cyndy Otty 2:08 pm on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Sorry if I came across contrary about the NVDA popularity. I don’t dispute your point, though, I’ve never actually heard of that survey and I am kind of curious how accurate a sampling that it has. I mean in context, the US alone there are an estimated 21.5 million persons with vision loss.

    • Nelson 3:14 pm on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Cyndy, I personally didn’t feel that the comment was contrary at all. And, the implied point about sample size is a valid concern. Almost by default, sample sizes for any accessibility testing are going to be small, because of the difficulty of rounding up enough participants for a study. That very fact alone, that accessibility testing is based upon studies with small sample sizes, mandates a critical eye towards the studies, and their implications of applying the results to our applications. I didn’t feel your words were contrary. I felt they were wise. And invaluable to people like me who only know how to approach accessibility initiatives through the mechanical lens of technology. Thanks again!

      • Cyndy Otty 5:10 pm on January 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks, Nelson. 🙂

        My own personal experience and having worked in the rehab field, I do know there tends to be a large difference in what equipment and software is used based on age (e.g., college student vs. professional) and each state (and even each district within a state) has their own specific standards.as to what they will or won’t provide. Which is to say, what is a preferred set up is not necessarily what is most often being used.

        • Nelson 8:25 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Hi Cyndy, in light of the above conversation, I tried to do some more reading/research. I came across an article that may be of interest; did you happen to see this survey? If I may ask, what are your (what I know will be awesome) thoughts on it?


  • esmi 1:25 pm on January 9, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    We now have a form that allows assistive technology users to send us their feedback via email. My guess is that not everyone is comfortable contributing to a public discussion here. Longer term, I’m also hoping that we can build up a pan-disability panel of users who would be willing to help with testing.

    • Cyndy Otty 1:53 pm on January 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ll spread the link around, esmi! And, I’m certainly more than happy to help out in any way that I can.

  • esmi 12:24 pm on January 9, 2013 Permalink

    Stumbled across the Accessibility Widget plugin last night which looks very interesting. I intend to test it out as soon as I have some free time but has anyone else used it on a live site? I was thinking that we could have a page here listing similar useful plugins and tools.

  • Graham Armfield 12:07 pm on January 9, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    3.5 Media Manager Accessibility 

    Has anyone had a chance to test the accessibility of the new Media Manager that came in with 3.5? I’ve not had time yet, but I am worried that it’s not fully keyboard accessible.

    • esmi 12:20 pm on January 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ve run a quick test and it’s not too bad. The big issue in my tests was that I kept losing sight of the current focus, so better focus highlighting is definitely needed.

      The big grey area for me was at the point when I brought up the browse window to select the file I wanted to upload. I wasn’t sure how to select the file I wanted using keyboard alone. That’s really more of a problem with my experience than the interface but it did raise an interesting thought – where does WP’s remit stop when using standard operations like browsing your own machine? I don’t want to de-rail any discussion of the new Media Manager but I think we do have to keep in mind that there are points when an applications responsibility ends and the user has to take responsibility for learning how to use their own software. In my experience, it’s a point that can sometimes be overlooked in the (admirable) enthusiasm to make web applications as accessible as possible.

      • GrahamArmfield 12:34 pm on January 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I think you are right Esmi, there is definitely a boundary between WP screens and functions and operating system screens and functions. And WordPress cannot be responsible for the operating system bit – we have to trust that people can learn to use the appropriate functionality of their machines. I know that doesn’t always happen but it’s outside of our scope.

        I just had another quick look at the Media Manager panel. I think tabbing goes ok as far as the search box, but after that I believe it actually goes back to links on the underlying post/page edit screen. But I’m not certain about that.

        • esmi 12:59 pm on January 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I believe it actually goes back to links on the underlying post/page edit screen

          I had a similar issue and thought I’d make a mistake. I’ll take another crack at it as soon as I can.

  • esmi 3:56 pm on January 8, 2013 Permalink


    Graham Armfield has asked for the Menu UI to receive some accessibility attention.
    Associated Trac link.

    • Graham Armfield 9:43 am on January 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for posting about that Esmi, I believe it is vital that everyone who maintains a site in WordPress should be able to fully create their own menus.

      Of course at the moment the order of menu items and the hierarchy can’t be changed without the ability to drag and drop – an alien concept for some people and for some assistive technology like screen readers.

      Sighted keyboard users can manipulate menus if they know about mouse keys, and speech recognition users can do drag and drop commands although it’s hard to get things precise enough some times.

      But, how to make the menu builder accessible to everyone?

      Is the best way to add an accessible option – similar to the one that exists for managing Widgets (which has similar-ish functionality)?

      Or is there another way that would work better for everyone?

      And (perhaps similar to other areas within WP) are there sufficient instructions clearly available so that everyone understands what they are changing and how to go about it?

      • esmi 11:48 am on January 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Adding an accessibility option similar to the widgets one has to be the absolute minimum fallback, in my opinion. I’ve already seen calls elsewhere on the support forums for it to be added to menus. It would also lend itself nicely to some sort of consistency across the WordPress UI.

        Are there any other web applications with accessible drag and drop functionality that we could use as a best practice model?

        • Cyndy Otty 1:56 pm on January 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          From the standpoint of a blind person “accessible drag-and-drop” is kind of an oxymoron . . . it’s inherently a mouse-user feature and those are notoriously difficult, if not impossible to translate to use for a screen-reader user.

          • esmi 2:17 pm on January 9, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Do you find the accessibility option in the Widgets section useful? Would a similar option for Menus help?

            • Cyndy Otty 2:20 pm on January 9, 2013 Permalink

              I do actually. I think I’ve voiced a similar suggestion for that in the Menu screen before. (Seems like something I’d natter on about.)

      • GrahamArmfield 9:48 am on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Just to let everyone know there is a whole load of debate about the UI for Menus going on over at: https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/23119 but so far there is no mention of accessibility in there.

      • GrahamArmfield 12:12 pm on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Just to let people know there is still much debate going on about the new UI for custom menu builder. You can follow it here: https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/23119 and there is a big thread on https://make.wordpress.org/ui/ too.

        So far I’ve seen no real mention of addressing the accessibility issues – either with the existing functionality, or with any of the proposed functionality. I’m of course specifically talking about the drag and drop nature of setting the menu order and hierarchy.

        • esmi 12:54 pm on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I’m just wondering if we should create a new Trac ticket regarding the menu system’s accessibility issues. It seems to me that it might be possible to re-use the accessibility option currently available for the Widgets on the Menus too. Thoughts?

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