This week in WordPress Accessibility, May 9th, 2018

Gutenberg Bug scrub

We discussed issues marked for the Gutenberg merge proposal milestone accessibility.

Publishing Flow accessibility:
The conclusion of the discussion with this ticket is: we need to work with the current design and get that working for keyboard. We should probably start trying to fix keyboard interaction, tab order, focus management, etc. Needs a developer.

Link boundaries don’t work with Safari 11.0.1 when using VoiceOver:
Andrea tested the issue again and closed it: current Safari stable is 11.1 (which was Safari Technology Preview at the time this issue was created) so now boundaries work when using VoiceOver.

Consider a mechanism to customize shortcuts, e.g. Ctrl + backtick:
There is a good discussion with the issues but no PR or actual progress so far.
Still marked for merge proposal, because without this some features are not available for all users. Needs a developer.

Components and features should be logically placed within the main regions:
From a coding perspective, it’s mainly about the publishing flow.
Once that is fixed, it should be made clear in the Gutenberg developers documentation that any UI must live inside the landmark regions, with the exception of modals and the like, since they’re typically injected before the closing <body>.

Reminder: audit all the aria-labels:
@grahamarmfield is making a list of all current aria-labels.
It will be quite a job to create clear labels for all items.

Switches should always show On/Off label:
This is a design decision that conflicts with accessibility. It’s hard to create consensus over this.
Our question: what is the value of these switches compared to native checkboxes, besides being pretty. Native checkboxes are universal, simple, clear and very accessible.

Team meeting


Going steady. We just need people to read the pages in the section Best Practices. For readability, completeness and accuracy. Volunteers are very welcome


About the Gutenberg Assistive Technology manual: Rian talked with the docs team and the best place for a Gutenberg AT manual will be the new HelpHub. We now have access to write content there. Maybe (in the far far future ) we can convert it into an overall AT manual for the Admin.

The Gutenberg “Inserter” is probably going to change, there’s one more iteration and a pending PR that changes it significantly. In a first look it’s an improvement, accessibility wise.

Andrea explored the re-ordering of elements surrounding the blocks and this proposal by @melchoyce could help a11y: Display block tools underneath the block, instead of to the sides.

WordCamp Europe

We plan to organise a “Pair/Peer programming with a Subject Matter Expert and Dev” for the WCEU contributor day.

The a11y team has not enough expertise to write a pull request for some of the milestone issues and the Gutenberg developers have enough expertise on web accessibility. So pairing them up at the contributor day seems like the best solution to get work done quickly. We will write a dedicated blog post about it and make some noise to recruit developers.


  • Write ATAG statement: Joe Dolson
  • Write about what WCAG 2.1 means for the WordPress project: Rian (planned for end of May)
  • Organise Gutenberg Pair/Peer programming for WCEU contributor day: Rian (this and next week)

And further…

May 17th is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (#DAAG) with many events you can attend.

For those of you who have not subscribed yet: A11y Weekly is a excellent newsletter by @davidakennedy with news and resources on Web Accessibility.


This week in WordPress Accessibility, May 4th, 2018

Bug scrub

We discussed issues marked for the Gutenberg merge proposal milestone:

Simplify and streamline keyboard navigation through blocks:
First: what if the block toolbar had only one tab stop and navigating through its controls would be possible with the arrow keys? Would users be able to get it?
Interaction modal: ARIA toolbar example
Conclusion: we are going to try this and let it test by some advanced keyboard / screen reader / VIM users

Second: the tab order
A good tab order would be for example: insert block, then editable area and then the rest. But should the visual order meet match DOM order? @afercia will try to investigate on the first two things in the next days

Constrain tabbing within popovers and similar components:
Alexander Botteram is working on a modal component that introduces a re-usable “constrain tabbing” feature.

Publishing Flow accessibility:
Nic Bertino did research on this and created a design proposal, that needs following up by the design and develop team.

Weekly meeting


We added new pages added about Test for web accessibility to the handbook’s Best Practices chapter. If there are people who want to review what is published, please do.

Sami Keijonen tweeted posts from the handbook in a series on Twitter. Nobody uses Facebook in the team, so we won’t start a Facebook campagne.


Summarised: Minor fixes went in, the bigger issues are still to solve.

We need to write a manual for AT users. We need people who are familiar with Gutenberg to be involved in writing the manual for AT users of Gutenberg. We can start outlining the processes and AT combinations to be documented. Rian will investigate what the best place is to publish this manual. Rian and Sami want to help writing.

We will dedicate our weekly bugscrub now on Gutenberg for now

We need to contact someone from Dragon about issue raised by Eric Wright: Can’t add a post title using speech recognition software.

Open Floor

Nicolas Steenhout has a podcast: A11y Rules. He’d love to speak to people that are NEW to accessibility, either working full time in it, or developers that are exploring #a11y.

So, if you think that’s you, please contact him, always nice to hear new voices


  • Write ATAG statement: Joe Dolson
  • Write about what WCAG 2.1 means for the WordPress project: Rian
  • Find the best place for the Gutenberg AT handbook: Rian




Accessibility team meeting, April 23, 2018

Transcript in Slack

Meeting notes

Time for next meetings

We picked a new time for the weekly a11y bugscrub and team meeting:

During the daylight saving time (as in now):

  • Accessibility bug scrub: Wednesday 14:00 UTC
  • Accessibility Team meeting: Wednesday 15:00 UTC

Starting next week, May 2, so the meeting on Monday 30th will be cancelled.


After the handbook is sort of finished we want to maintain it via GitHub. That way more people can contribute or file issues. @nicbertino will help migrating the content we have now to GitHub and we are looking for an easy way to push the GitHub pages back in the handbook pages on

Kudos to WPTavern for publishing a post about the handbook and the need for help.
At the moment we don’t need writers, but we desperately need reviewers with knowledge of accessibility and native English speakers to go through the pages on Best Practice we have published or are in draft on Google Docs.

@samikeijonen will post a series of tweets on @WPAccessibility to promote finished content in the Best Practice section. Which already gave discussion on Twitter, so that works well 🙂


AT WordCamp London @karmatosed joined the a11y table and we discussed the issues on GitHub that have priority.
They are 13 issues labeled Accessibility and Milestoned Merge proposal: Accessibility. Some are also labeled High Priority.
@abrightclearweb researched the blocks – keyboard interaction (Tab, Shift+Tab) and added that info to the issue Simplify and streamline keyboard navigation through blocks.

These issues need to be worked on. The team is worried those issues can not be addressed before the merge proposal.


Change of the day and time of the Accessibility Team Meetings

We picked a new time for the weekly accessibility bugscrub and team meeting, so more people can be present and less people will be very hungry:

During the daylight saving time (as in now):

  • Accessibility Bug Scrub: Wednesday 14:00 UTC
  • Accessibility Team meeting: Wednesday 15:00 UTC

We’ll adjust the time after the daylight saving period, so the meetings stay on the same local time.

Starting next week, May 2nd, so the meetings on Monday 30th will be cancelled.


New time/date for the wpa11y meeting in Slack?

We want to set a new time and maybe new date for the wpa11y meeting in Slack.
Please add your suggestions in the comments below.

Accessibility team meeting, April 9, 2018


  1. Accessibility statement
  2. Handbook
  3. Gutenberg, priorities for WordCamp London
  4. Contributor drives
  5. Open floor

Meeting notes

Accessibility statement

The WordPress project now has an accessibility statement. We still need to add an ATAG (Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines) statement to add to that page. @joedolson will write that, sometime in the near future.

Accessibility Handbook

At the moment @rianrietveld and @samikeijonen are writing pages about how to test for accessibility to add to the handbook best practices chapter, for developers, designers and content managers. This at the request of the Gutenberg team. The pages are in draft now, to be published this or next week.

Gutenberg, priorities for WordCamp London

@karmatosed suggested the following workflow for this:

  • sit down together at a11y table on the contributor day prioritising all a11y issues in a spreadsheet
  • create a solid few weeks plan for accessibility, get everything in milestones, get everything so we all know we’re on track
  • get a ‘hot list’ from that and give easy wins to developers present at  the contributor day
  • leave that clearly knowing what needs to be done for a11y and how help can get there
  • focus on a plan of tasks and that all tasks have enough information to be developed by anyone working on project

Contributor drives

Angela Jin asked us to write up content for their info pages about work that can be done for the different teams during a contributor drive (a bite sized contributor day). @rianrietveld also adjusted the page Getting Started at a Contributor Day for this too.
If a contributor wants to select an a11y task:

  1. Tell the #accessibility channel in WordPress Slack that you are hosting a Contributor Drive and request specific projects and direction.
  2. If you need assistance during the Contributor Drive, ask questions in Slack.

To avoid having to maintain a page with a list of tasks in the documentation of the contributor drive.

Open floor

  • @postphotos came with the idea of organising “contributor drives” in regions across the world, focused on a11y. Like the translation days. He will research this further. We agreed this is a fun idea (wpa11y day?)
  • @arush will publish her research on the screen reader accessibility of Gutenberg this week
  • We had a discussion about adding hreflang to links in translatable strings, like e.g. <a href="%s" hreflang="en"> . Adding the hreflang="en" in the translation triggers a warning
  • We discussed setting a new date/time for the meetings. There will be a separate post about this tomorrow.



The WordPress project now has…

The WordPress project now has an official accessibility statement:

Accessibility team meeting, March 26, 2018

Gutenberg testing

@joedolson was at then CSUN conference last week and asked Léonie Watson and Sina Bahram to have a go at the Gutenberg test. Both are internationally recognized experts in web accessibility, WordPress users and highly experienced both at testing applications and coding.

Test results

Leonie Watson found the system extremely difficult to use. She currently runs her own WordPress site, and has for many years, so her starting assumption was to expect her past knowledge to be useful, and to attempt to use it as a standard page.

Sina Bahram immediately assumed that Gutenberg was an application, and should be operated as one, but found it frustrating that this turned out to only sometimes be true. Strongly suggested using the application role so that interactions would be more predictable. Video of Sina’s session (20 min)

One comment that both users made specifically was that they “didn’t trust” the focus management, and both elected to try alternate methods of navigation (link nav, heading nav, find in page) specifically because they didn’t trust that tabbing would take them where they expected. The most problematic issue there was the block menus having different forward and backwards action.

Both users also attempted to search for help at some point, feeling that there should be some kind of instruction to inform them how the interface worked, but did not find any.

Unpredictability is one of the biggest enemies Joe saw in these tests. Users got frustrated not knowing where their next interaction would go.


During the meeting we discussed use of role="application" and role="textbox" and we will do an A/B test on the test server to see if that makes the interface better usable for the combination Firefox & NVDA.

We will publish a post this week summarizing all test results and the work that needs to be done on Gutenberg before merge.

Underlining of links in the content

In new committed code, there is no underlining for links in text blocks. But according to WCAG: links must stand out in the text, not by colour alone. To prevent this from happening this should be added to the Accessibility Coding Standards for WordPress Core. This was also added earlier to the Theme Guidelines.

@afercia added the required underlining text to the Accessibility Coding Standards for WordPress Core.


This week in WordPress Accessibility, February 26, 2018

Transcript of a meeting in Slack.

About placeholders

In ticket 40460 there is discussion should placeholders be added to wp_login_form(). @afercia have written good summary in the comments why in this case placeholders would not be a good idea.

Therefore we decided to close the ticket. But discussion can continue in the ticket and valid use cases are welcome.

Handbook status update

First of March was our first deadline. We are not going to make it but we are progressing OK. We have marketing plan what to do after basic articles have been written.

List of must-have accessibility fixes in Gutenberg for version 1

  • Keyboard navigation through blocks needs to be greatly simplified and streamlined. See the experiment with navigation mode / edit mode.
  • For some components, there’s the need to constrain tabbing within the component (i.e. they should behave like “modals”).
  • The publishing flow needs to be simplified, currently its accessibility is terrible.
  • Everything needs to live inside the landmark regions.
  • Text mode: a simple textarea is the only guarantee to enable users to publish content, regardless of the device / technology they use.
  • Documentation for keyboard shortcuts and keyboard-only users.

We need to start testing more and open actionable issues.

Open floor

We ALL love snow and gold weather! ☃️❄️🌬


This week in WordPress Accessibility, February 12, 2018

Transcript of a meeting in Slack.


@rianrietveld and @samikeijonen worked on Accessibility Handbook in WordCamp Jyväskylä. They decided to take over writing the articles so that handbook is done quicker and more uniform. Naturally lot’s of help is needed:

  • gathering resources
  • gathering topics
  • review texts

aria-label wording in navigation landmark

We should avoid word navigation in aria-label when using navigation landmark. For example <nav aria-label="Primary navigation"> will be announced as Primary navigation navigation because screen readers add the word navigation by themselves.

One option is remove word navigation: <nav aria-label="Primary">. Or use other wording like <nav aria-label="Primary Menu">.

Gutenberg status

@afercia had couple issues he would consider the minimum required for version 1:

  • Implement navigation mode / edit mode for the blocks.
  • A method to constrain tabbing within components that need to be treated as sort of “modals”.

Accessibility support forum status

We should check more frequently accessibility support forum. At the moment there is no assigned people who do that.

Navigation landmark inside header landmark

Given that assistive technologies don’t behave the same way with nested landmarks, we should try to avoid nested landmarks. In reality it’s really common to have <nav> inside <header>. Mostly because of the design.

More investigation and testing should be done to get more details and issues about nested landmarks.