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.