Accessibility Objectives for WordPress – Initial Thoughts

Some of us have been talking recently about pulling together some accessibility objectives for WordPress. These are things that we feel could, or should, be happening to ensure that the profile of accessibility is enhanced with the WordPress community.

Ultimately, in order to support Matt Mullenweg’s view on the democratisation of the web by web-related software we want as many WordPress websites as possible to be accessible to as many people as possible. We also need to ensure that the WordPress admin screens are not excluding certain user groups from key parts of functionality.

With that in mind, here is our initial list of objectives. Please feel free to comment on these, and to suggest others that you think are also important.

Accessibility ‘mission’ statement

  • To have an Accessibility Statement page – something like the ones at Drupal/Joomla
  • Link to Accessibility Statement page to be prominent on all pages of – link in footer maybe
  • Statement to underline that accessibility is important and committing WordPress to improving the accessibility of themes/plugins/admin area
  • Page to point to various useful resources and guidelines.
  • Encouraging Matt to launch accessibility statement in blog etc

Development/extension of coding and style guidelines

  • To ensure that best accessibility practices are used during all phases of WordPress core development rather than trying to correct issues in response to Trac tickets at a later date.
  • Encourage designers and devs to discuss all aspects of proposed new WP functionality with accessibility team.

Development of formal education and outreach programs

  • So that all WordPress core developers can gain a deeper understanding of the range of issues faced by disabled and elderly users.

Providing resources

  • Training etc on what accessibility actually is,
  • Why accessibility is important (a business case if you will)
  • How-to’s and guidelines for theme/plugin devs and content authors

Theme/plugin reviews

  • Theme accessibility currently optional, but should we move to gauging accessibility of all new themes?
  • Some kind of tag or certification that theme developers can use to show they are committed to WordPress’s accessibility aims?
  • Is reviewing plugins for accessibility possible?

Appointing an accessibility lead (or leads)

  • Someone to oversee development from accessibility standpoint
  • Overall lead within WordPress hierarchy?
  • Accessibility lead within a WordPress release?
  • Accessibility lead within individual work streams?

Growing the accessibility group with active members.

  • Consider more use of social media etc to highlight work – Twitter, Linkedin groups, etc
  • Encourage dialogue within the
  • Make it easier for people to find their way around blog archive
  • Reaching out to UI team, Core team, etc

What do you think?

Please let us know your views on this. What’s important to you? What would you like to see?