WordPress Accessibility team Meeting notes for 15 November 2019

Meeting transcript on Slack

Elect New Team Representatives for 2019-2020

@nrqsnchz and @audrasjb were nominated and elected to represent the 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) team for 2019-2020.

Thank you to @joedolson who represented the team during 2018-2019 term and congratulations for his nomination as WordPress CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. Committer ⭐️

Assign new team and contributor badges

As a reminder, Team badge is reserved for people who have a high level of activity and contribution; Contributor badge is given to people who have helped occasionally or are new to the team. Each badge is permanent; there’s no requirement of continued activity.

Badges assignment were publicly discussed during the meeting.

WordPress 5.3 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.

@afercia and @audrasjb are currently addressing concerns raised by some users in the Admin CSS changes dev note’s comments. Team members are welcome to help to answer these comments. The majority is not very constructive comments but as a team, there is a need to properly answer them.

For the moment, the complaints don’t seem to be statistically significant (a dozen of individual commenters).

@afercia seen at least 3 major plugins releasing new versions with minor adjustments for the admin CSSCSS CSS is an acronym for cascading style sheets. This is what controls the design or look and feel of a site. changes so it seems communication worked well.

Twenty Twenty submenus

@poena raised a concern about Twenty Twenty horizontal navigation menuNavigation Menu A theme feature introduced with Version 3.0. WordPress includes an easy to use mechanism for giving various control options to get users to click from one place to another on a site.: “On desktop you hover over the parent menu item to show the (first) submenu. But on tablets you have to click the parent menu item link to show the submenus, and then click the same link again to access that menu item. There is no button to toggle the submenus, it is an icon which is part of the link.”

@afercia noted the issue was addressed in Twenty Seventeen by adding a separate, dedicated button to toggle submenus.

Given WP 5.3 is already released and Twenty Twenty already used in a large amount of websites, it is a pretty big change that would need some communication. It is not necessarily a top priority, as it’s not that the current pattern is inaccessible, it just may not be the best possible option.

WordPress CSS changes and color schemes

The color contrast changes are pretty solid in core, but cause problems with the core-provided alternate color schemes. This is not directly an accessibility issue, as the color schemes were not accessibility features, but it was caused by the accessibility team work, so the team should probably owns it to some degree.

The immediate issues will be fixed in the next minor releases.

However, the meeting attendees agreed that the entire purpose of color schemes should be reconsidered as it doesn’t make much sense to have only cosmetic changes in alternate color schemes. They should rather address specific purpose, like:

  • a dark theme to complement operating systems dark themes
  • a low contrast theme to help users who struggle with strong contrast
  • a theme with a good typeface to help users with dyslexia, preferably with options to adjust letter spacing and line-height

Current color schemes could be deprecated to a 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 as design-only tweaks are plugin territory, and new alternate color schemes could be more focused on specific, relevant and useful features. The idea is not to remove existing alternate color schemes completely, since some users are using them, but rather to deprecate them and to stop maintaining them in WordPress core. @melchoyce also proposed having an auto-install of an eventual plugin with all the existing color scheme to support them if users had them enabled. There is already an existing plugin that could be used for this purpose.