WordPress 6.4 Accessibility Improvements

Thank you to @sereedmedia and @joedolson for writing this post.

This post seeks to provide an overview of the many 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) improvements and fixes coming to WordPress 6.4. This release addresses numerous issues that affect accessibility and general UIUI User interface consistency, including many long-standing wp-adminadmin (and super admin) bugs, such as a six-year-old issue adjusting the relative proximity of interface buttons “Delete Menu” and “Save Menu.”

If you’re interested in improving WordPress accessibility, please join the #accessibility channel in MakeWP SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. and check out how to get involved. There are numerous contributing opportunities, such as testing, giving feedback, and working on accessibility issues.

Site Editor

The Site Editor includes improvements for consistent labeling and semantics in pattern and template management and the Navigation 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..

  • #53755 – Comments form: Accessibility fixes for back-end
  • #53755 – Add missing aria roles to the ‘Replace template part’ menu item
  • #53754 – Add missing aria roles to the ‘Create template part’ menu item
  • #53739 – Add missing aria roles to the ‘Create pattern’ menu item
  • #52597 – Site Editor: Unify the delete button style in the dropdown menu with red
  • #53469 – Add accessible description of current Navigation block state
  • #53462 – Implement accessible version of Navigation overlay preview toggle control
  • #54418 – Navigation: Add ariaLabel block support
  • #52177 – Navigation block: Don’t close submenu when it has focus
  • #52170 – Navigation block: Do not toggle aria-expanded on hover when the overlay menu is opened
  • #53373 – Search Block: Fix unintended wrapping of button text in “Button only” style
  • #52710 – Return focus more from focus return hook
  • #52678 – My patterns page: Increase color contrast for the toggle group
  • #52641 – Change Delete page menu item to Move to trashTrash Trash in WordPress is like the Recycle Bin on your PC or Trash in your Macintosh computer. Users with the proper permission level (administrators and editors) have the ability to delete a post, page, and/or comments. When you delete the item, it is moved to the trash folder where it will remain for 30 days..
  • #52634 – Password protected field: Remove autofocus and improve placeholder text consistency.
  • #52622 – Change password input to type text so contents are visible.
  • #52603 – Do not autofocus page title field in the ‘Draft a new page’ modal dialog
  • #52592 – Site Editor: Fix 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. 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. actions order and label
  • #52251 – Navigation block: Add notice on reduced accessibility
  • #52271 – Site Editor: update headings hierarchy in the ‘Manage all’ screens
  • #52263 – Fix incorrect aria-describedby attributes for theme patterns
  • #52930 – [Commands]: Add aria-activedescendant attribute to suggestions

Block Editor

The general block editor experience focuses on making labeling clearer and more consistent and improving the semantics of block and editor HTMLHTML HyperText Markup Language. The semantic scripting language primarily used for outputting content in web browsers..

  • #52885 – Edit site: Add missing label to post status password protected input field
  • #53691 – [a11yAccessibility 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)] Fix: aria-haspop, aria-expanded attributes on the link format button.
  • #53692 – [a11y] Fix: aria-haspop and aria-expanded attributes on the inserter button.
  • #54324 – Table block: Fix semantic structure for screen readers on back-end
  • #54498 – Improve Notice component accessibility.
  • #54687 – Paragraph: Make ‘aria-label’ consistent with other blocks
  • #54590 – Allow Modal to place focus on first element within contents via new APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways.
  • #54206 – Allow using a button element for button blocks
  • #54184 – Update nofollow control label
  • #52255 – Making Circular Option Picker a listbox
  • #45801 – Improve the placeholder instructions accessibility.
  • #52932 – ColorPalette, BorderControl: Don’t hyphenate HEX value in aria-label
  • #52653 – Modal: Fix loss of focus when clicking outside
  • #52246 – Improve consistency of the Post editor and Site editor Document actions
  • #52495 – Item: Unify focus style and add default font styles
  • #53693 – [a11y] Fix: aria-haspop and aria-expanded attributes on list view button.
  • #54843 – Footnotes: Add aria-label to return links

User Interface

WordPress 6.4 fixes many long-term spatial layout and usability issues in the WordPress UI. Key changes include adjusting spacing between elements, repositioning certain actions for better flow, and using more intuitive icons, like replacing the ‘x’ character with a clearer icon.

  • #40822 – Addressing proximity in the admin area.
  • #56594 – Change position of “Delete menu” action.
  • #58493 – User Profile Page: Vertical spacing inconsistency between label and field on smaller screens.
  • #59371 – Adjust theme details buttons to improve proximity of controls.
  • #59372 – Adjust theme details buttons in CustomizerCustomizer Tool built into WordPress core that hooks into most modern themes. You can use it to preview and modify many of your site’s appearance settings. to improve proximity of controls.
  • #58785 – Show dashicons-dismiss instead of the character ‘x’ when we talk about the dashicon-dismiss.

Admin UI and Messages

With an emphasis on accessible messaging within the admin area, 6.4 addresses issues like making “Add New” links more descriptive, improving spoken messages for voice output, and adjusting the order and presentation of form elements and notifications.

  • #47125 – Admin: clarify the “Add New” links for better accessibility.
  • #58573 – Site Health: Improve the speak() messages.
  • #30685 – Better Login Error&Message Displaying.
  • #59229 – Add new post/page: admin notice when JSJS JavaScript, a web scripting language typically executed in the browser. Often used for advanced user interfaces and behaviors. is off can’t install 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 by single click.
  • #58738 – Widgets page: Add missing H1 and admin notice when JS is off.
  • #58703 – wp-list-table: <label> is preceding <input> in the checkbox column.

Media-Related Fixes

As part of the lead-in to the planned Media Library updates, 6.4 enhances accessibility in a variety of media elements. Adjustments include adding alternative text support, improving select state issues in the Media Library, adhering to device settings, and ensuring focus states are maintained when editing images.

  • #58582 – XML-RPC API: Add alt field support.
  • #58756 – Media Library Improvements: UI, Non-Closing Options, and Button Select State Issues in Image Editing.
  • #55723 – Thumbnails Gifs for Plugins do not respect “no motion” device settings.
  • #59353 – Loss of focus when closing Image Rotation menu.

All 6.4 accessibility tickets are viewable in the WordPress Trac.