Add Media Panel – Accessibility Issues

I’ve raised this post as I feel that the issue of the Add Media panel accessibility needs some debate amongst the accessibility community.

Last week I raised three WP trac tickets covering my take on the problems from the keyboard access, screen reader and VR aspects. They are: #23560 and #23561.

The main problem as I see it is that it is not possible to select/deselect any of the media without using a mouse.

The functionality primarily acts like a group of checkboxes – selecting one or multiple elements, with feedback that they have been selected. However, that is not how the functionality has actually been implemented – it’s a series of divs contained within an unordered list. There appears to be nothing to receive focus. There are links for each file, but the links appear empty although they are used to show the selected icon. These links are also initially invisible using CSS techniques that hide them from screen readers – hence the no tabbing into the images issue.

Is the use of ARIA going to really be able to help here?

When mouse users select an image they can update the attribute values for that image using the panel to the right – which updates its content automatically. Allowing keyboard users to quickly reach the attributes boxes would obviously be desirable – the alternative being tabbing through all the previously uploaded files.

The media selector panel has been implemented with infinite scrolling, so on mature and/or larger sites with many images/files (I have one) the list of images gets bigger and bigger. From an accessibility perspective I’d favour paging over infinite scrolling, but what’s your take on that?

Is this another area where bending the new functionality to include accessibility might be too much? Is this another place where an accessibility mode is going to be required?

What do you think?

#accessibility, #add-media, #images, #keyboard, #screen-reader