Accessibility Objectives for WordPress – Initial Thoughts

Some of us have been talking recently about pulling together some accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 wordpress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ – 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 coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. development rather than trying to correct issues in response to TracTrac Trac is the place where contributors create issues for bugs or feature requests much like GitHub.https://core.trac.wordpress.org/. 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/pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party 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 releaseRelease A release is the distribution of the final version of an application. A software release may be either public or private and generally constitutes the initial or new generation of a new or upgraded application. A release is preceded by the distribution of alpha and then beta versions of the software.?
  • 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.wordpress.org/accessibility
  • Make it easier for people to find their way around blog archive
  • Reaching out to UIUI UI is an acronym for User Interface - the layout of the page the user interacts with. Think ‘how are they doing that’ and less about what they are doing. 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?

#accessibility