Accessibility Team Update: May 7, 2014

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

I will be talking about WordPress accessibility here in Santa Monica at Yahoo! to celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on May 15. There are many events happening all over the world, perhaps there’s one close to you. If you want to celebrate GAAD but don’t have an event nearby, then here’s a suggestion from Deborah Edwards-Onoro, a front-end WordPress web developer and user experience pro: use only your keyboard for navigation for one hour.

Automated Accessibility Testing

It is necessary for me to point out that the very best enterprise-strength automated accessibility checking environments can only accurately report out about thirty percent of the errors. Nonetheless, automated testing, especially command-line testing, will be a valuable addition to the test environment, and we need to explore this. The Netherlands has a commitment to making sure that government sites are accessible, so they are supporting the development of Quail an open-source, MIT-licensed suite of tests that assess web page structure and content. The library is currently developed against WCAG and Section 508 accessibility standards. Accessibility team member David A. Kennedy wrote a great post, “WordPress needs automated accessibility testing” in which he mentions Quail and another tool, pa11y, and I recommend reading what he has to say on the topic.Thanks to David for creating a discussion on this vital topic. David was interviewed by WP Tavern this week and we look forward to seeing that posted soon.

Tenon

Karl Groves, another accessibility team member, is working on tenon.io, which is in beta now and promises to be a very powerful accessibility checking tool. While Tenon will be proprietary, Karl tells me that: “We are going to have a Free for Open Source program. As long as the project using Tenon is open source, the account is free.”

Collaboration

While there is no doubt that the accessibility team can and must improve collaboration with other WordPress teams, we are also interested in creating ways to expand our reach through innovation and also by collaboration with people doing similar work outside of WordPress. Automated testing is one way to innovate. We saw that the Quail project has created an accessibility module to work within Drupal so we invited Mike Gifford, a Drupal 8 Core Accessibility Maintainer, to our meeting this week to learn about the Drupal accessibility operation. According to Mike “Just to be clear about the automated (accessibility) testing & Drupal. It will be a great addition in the future, it’s found some interesting bugs when we have applied it, but it really has only been marginally useful thus far.” Mike agreed to share info and join forces with us where our interests are similar and we look forward to collaborating with his team and with accessibility teams for other projects.