WordPress Accessibility Coding Standard

All new or updated code released in WordPress must conform with the WCAGWCAG WCAG is an acronym for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. These guidelines are helping make sure the internet is accessible to all people no matter how they would need to access the internet (screen-reader, keyboard only, etc) 2.1 guidelines at level AA.

WordPress Accessibility Coding Standard

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WCAG explained

When building a new website, theme, or 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 Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party, ask yourself these four questions:

  1. Is all content available to everyone? (Perceivable)
  2. Can visitors use all functionality? (Operable)
  3. Can visitors comprehend all content? (Understandable)
  4. Can visitors use any device? (Robust)

These are the four principles of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) of what a website should be: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. (WCAG is part of the international World Wide Web Consortium.)

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Is all content available to everyone?

  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content (e.g., images).
  • Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
  • Create content that can be presented in different ways without losing meaning.
  • Make it easy for users to see and hear content (e.g., by using color well, offering multimedia controls, and allowing text resizing).

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Can visitors use all functionality?

  • Make all essential functionality available from a keyboard.
  • Give users enough time to read and use content.
  • Do not use content that causes seizures.
  • Help users navigate and find content.

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Can visitors comprehend all content?

  • Make text readable and understandable.
  • Use easy-to-comprehend text — avoid complex wording.
  • Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
  • Guide users to avoid and correct mistakes.

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Can visitors use any device?

  • Content must be able to be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
  • All user interface components should have programmatically determinable names and roles.

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Levels of Accessibility

There are 3 levels of 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). (

  1. A (basic)
  2. AA (the global accessibility standard)
  3. AAA (for dedicated software)

Most European Union and many other countries use the accessibility standard WCAG 2.0 AA or equivalent for their government websites. Some countries require compliance with these guidelines for commercial websites, so the accessibility team uses these guidelines to improve WordPress coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress.. Overview of government accessibility laws and policies from the Web Accessibility Initiative.

WCAG provides techniques for implementing its principles. Each issue has several solutions (techniques). Choose those that suit your theme or plugin best.

Use common sense when following WCAG techniques. Pick the one(s) that work well with your theme or plugin.

Decide which browser and versions your theme or plugin will support. Some WCAG techniques apply only to older browsers, e.g, Internet Explorer 7 and below. WordPress no longer supports Internet Explorer as of version 5.8.

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