Title Attributes Galore

The patches for Trac ticket 24766 are slated for addition to WordPress 3.7. This is great news for assistive technologyAssistive technology Assistive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. Assistive technology promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assistive_technology users who have been forced to wade through a sea of unnecessary title attribute verbiage. But we need to ensue that the patches cover all unnecessary title attributes and that those deliberately excluded from the patches do not present any 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) issues.

Currently, the excluded methods, functions and scripts are:

  • the_author_posts_link()
  • rss.php
  • wp_fullscreen_html()
  • get_adjacent_post_rel_link()
  • _walk_bookmarks()
  • get_image_tag()
  • the_shortlink()

The only one I am somewhat concerned about is wp_fullscreen_html(). The reason given for exclusion is that the `title` attribute is being used as a tooltip on each of the full screen editor buttons and that these are needed for some of the more cryptic editor icons.

This reasoning pre-supposes that everyone uses a mouse or uses software that renders the title attribute. In reality, many users — including all voice-recognition users and those who have have configured their screen reader software to be non-verbose — will never be able to perceive these tooltips. If textual titles are needed for these icons, why aren’t they in clear text so every one can access them?

That said, the overall accessibility of the distraction-free, full-screen, is also a concern. Some disabled users will find it next to impossible to navigate or even exit this screen — unless they happen to realise that pressing the Esc will bring them back to the standard editing interface. On that basis, should we pushing for clear text icon titles here? Or should we instead be asking for a permanently visible & keyboard-usable “Get me outta here!” link be added to the full-screen editor? At least then, anyone who inadvertently wanders into it can get out again easily.

Your comments and feedback on ticket 24766 would be most appreciated.

#tabbing, #trac-2, #ui