Accessibility team update for March 26, 2018

GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. 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 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). (, 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 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. 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 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) 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 CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress.. This was also added earlier to the Theme Guidelines.

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