Information and Tools
Many people have asked us for accessibility information. Information is readily available from several sources. WebAIM has a wealth of information about accessibility, and the mailing list is especially good. At accessiblejoe.com you will find a list of accessibility checking tools and some info about adding content to WordPress sites in an accessible manner.
Rules of the Road
While Section 508 is often referred to as the rules of the accessibility road in the USA, it is sorely outdated. A 508 refresh is underway. The rest of the world uses the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0 (WCAG 2.0). The 508 refresh will bring it into synchronization with WCAG 2.0, so if your orders are to adhere to 508, you’ll be ahead of the curve if you refer to WCAG 2.0. The WordPress accessibility team refers to WCAG 2.0 and we test to level AA. There are some very good resources by the W3C to explain WCAG. But before you look at the guidelines or success criteria there are some principles to keep in mind first.
Understanding the Four Principles of Accessibility: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust (POUR)
The following principals are from the WC3 Understanding WCAG 2.0:
The guidelines and Success Criteria are organized around the following four principles, which lay the foundation necessary for anyone to access and use Web content. Anyone who wants to use the Web must have content that is:
- Perceivable – Content is perceivable through sight, hearing, and touch and is transformable in multiple ways. For example, text (sight) can be transformed into audio by using a screen reader (hearing) and into braille using a refreshable braille display (touch).
- Operable – User interface components, navigation, and content must be navigable or operable using various input methods like screen readers, voice navigation, braille keyboards or even just your left thumb.
- Understandable – Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable by all. Did you declare the language in the doctype statement so screen readers and text-to-speech produce proper pronunciation? Are you explaining jargon and acronyms?
- Robust – Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. Some people even use a sip and puff tube with alternate interfaces..