Gutenberg Accessibility Progress Report

Since the 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. of GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/ 4.1.0, 18 pull requests labeled as 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 have been committed to Gutenberg. Not all of these fixes are in the current release (4.2), as work has already begun on Gutenberg 4.3.

Major issues include:

  1. Issue 3836: Gallery blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience.: images and selection and removal not keyboard accessible. Addressed in Pull Request (PR) 3836. Still needs further testing and fixes to image labeling that needs to consider cases where the user-provided images do not have alt attributes.
  2. Issue 9583: Keyboard navigation when inserting a block has unexpected behaviour. Addressed in PR 11088. This is a significant change towards making keyboard navigation behave more predictably.
  3. Issue 8266: Can’t edit an existing link using only the keyboard. Addressed in PR 10983. Fixes an accessibility regression from after Gutenberg 2.9.0 that made this impossible.
  4. Issue 8079: SidebarSidebar A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme. headerHeader The header of your site is typically the first thing people will experience. The masthead or header art located across the top of your page is part of the look and feel of your website. It can influence a visitor’s opinion about your content and you/ your organization’s brand. It may also look different on different screen sizes.: avoid focus loss and other improvements. Addressed in PR 10917 and PR 10927.
  5. Issue 10583: Regression: The inserter search results don’t use an audible message any longer. Fixed in PR 10755.

These changes include important changes impacting the reliability and predictability of Gutenberg 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 (AT) users. More of the blocks are functional for AT, and navigation tools work more predictability.

The remaining 12 pull requests primarily address a variety of minor interaction issues and labeling issues.

There are 89 open accessibility issues on Gutenberg. 

Pull Requests in Progress

There are 23 pull requests in-progress and labeled for Accessibility, as well. PR 11403 is particularly important in moving towards a more accessible publishing flow, partially solving the issues raised in Issue 4187. Another key in-progress PR is PR 11218, which provides alt attributes on images in the editor that don’t have author-provided alt text. This will be key in completing the resolution of issue 3836, above.

PR 10462 is in early stages of development, but would make a significant difference in resolving some of the keyboard challenges in navigating between the sidebar block settings and the block itself, by moving the block controls after the block in the DOM. In the example keyboard navigation provided in the Accessibility Status Report last week, this change would eliminate 13 of the 34 keyboard stops in that process.