Accessibility team update: August 4, 2019

WordPress 5.3 tickets

As of today, we have 75 accessibility focused tickets planned to ship with WordPress 5.3.

Therefore we have 38 open tickets without any owner. One of our main task next week will be to find owners for each ticket in the milestone.

Gutenberg accessibility tickets

As of today, we have:

The Accessibility Team need more persons able to follow that closely.

Besides the fact that we try to be more numerous to take care of this work, we also evaluate the possibility to find ways to have more sponsored contributors (even a couple hours a week would be a great sponsorship!).

WordPress Accessibility Day organization

By the end of July, the Accessibility Team decided to evaluate the possibility of organizing a dedicated WordPress global accessibility event, like polyglots do with WordPress Translation Day (WPTD).

The idea is to organize a 24-hour virtual event all around the world with some video conferences and focused on contributing to WordPress accessibility.

A couple of weeks ago, a spreadsheet was shared so Accessibility team contributors could sign up to be involved in this organizing team. A dozen of people signed up to the organizing team.

The next step is to discuss the main focuses of the event and to divide the roles between the organizing team.

For information, WP Tavern already published a blog post about this initiative.

Various other tasks

  • Usage of .screen-reader-text class in accessibility documentation: Theme Review Team contributors raised some concerns about the current screen-reader-text class documentation. We are going to take care of rewriting the related docs and will work with Theme Review Team to ensure the new documentation is clear enough for theme authors and WordPress developers.
  • Theme Review Team Accessibility requirements: The team was asked to perform Theme Review Team blog post copy review for new accessibility requirements about keyboard navigation.
  • Block Directory in WordPress Admin: the Accessibility Team raised some initial feedback for these early design. For reference, see first section of Meeting Notes from July 26 Accessibility team meeting.
  • Gutenberg: Support Navigation and Edit Mode: All meeting attendees agree that this is a good improvement. It would be necessary to be extensively tested by as many persons as possible, including users of assistive technologies. For reference, see first section of August 2 team meeting notes. The next Gutenberg Plugin release is planned for August 12th. The Accessibility Team will publish a call for testers with some testing scenarios to test this big improvement.

#accessibility, #accessibility-team-meeting

Accessibility team update, September 17, 2018

Team meeting September 17, 2018


Accessibility team update, September 3 and 10, 2018

Team meetings September 3 and 10, 2018


Accessibility team meeting – July 2, 2018


Meeting time: Monday 15:00 UTC
Transcript in Slack

The Paciello Group sponsors a JAWS license

During WordCamp Europe we discussed the use of different screen readers to test Gutenberg. This week the Paciello Group (aka TPG) decided to help and sponsor a 90 days license of the screen reader JAWS for Andrea Fercia. Now he can use also JAWS to test Gutenberg functionality and issues. Thanks Adrian Roselli, for your help to make this possible.

Gutenberg manual for assistive technology (AT)

We agreed earlier that there needs to be manual for AT users of Gutenberg. The best place for this will be the new Claire Brotherton (@abrightclearweb) volunteered to start and project lead this. Everyone with AT expertise can join in and help. We will start creating content in Google docs first.

Content bug scrub every week

The bug scrub is held every week on Mondays at 14:00 UTC, just before the team meeting. We agreed on still focusing first on the Gutenberg issues and after that, if there is still time on trac tickets.

Open Floor

Andrea had some good news on Gutenberg

  • All the “popovers” in Gutenberg (panels or menus that open like sort of a modal) have now tabbing constrained within the popover. It would be great to test with keyboard and see if everything is OK and works better. Related Issue: Constrain tabbing within popovers and similar components
  • Thanks to Jorge Costa there’s now a pending PR to improve the Publishing flow. Looks very promising to Andrea. It also makes the sidebar render one at a time, so also normal keyboard navigation should be greatly improved.
    Some testing would be great.
  • The Ctrl + backtick there’s now a proposal to use also the F6 key, as that what Slack added for the same functionality. Just a proposal for now, not implemented yet but there is consensus.

And a question: please have a look at Indent list keyboard shortcuts inconsistencies.
Some people would like to have the Tab key used for indentation, for example in the List block.
Instead, we’re trying to use a different shortcut. There are some problems though.
Some research on what other applications do, for example Google docs, LIbreOffice, etc. would be nice. Also any comment on the issue is welcome.


Accessibility team update – May 23th 2018

The work on the Handbook Best Practices is on hold, because we @samikeijonen en @rianrietveld need time to prepare for their workshop a11y testing at WordCamp Europe.

The pair programming plan for the WordCamp Europe contributor day goes well, we have a11y experts and Gutenberg devs that want to participate. Hopefully we can get some more people joining the GutenA11y table then.

@afercia asked for a11y testing of the new block inserter for Gutenberg. See 6636 Try inserter with collapsable panels. It still needs some further simplification, like removing some ARIA stuff. This functionality is installed on our test server ( Rian will ask some people to test, if you need access give her a ping on Slack.

@abrightclearweb is going to lead the accessibility table in Glasgow.


Accessibility team, May 9th 2018

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.


Accessibility team meeting, April 9, 2018


  1. Accessibility statement
  2. Handbook
  3. Gutenberg, priorities for WordCamp London
  4. Contributor drives
  5. Open floor

Meeting notes

Accessibility statement

The WordPress project now has an accessibility statement. We still need to add an ATAG (Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines) statement to add to that page. @joedolson will write that, sometime in the near future.

Accessibility Handbook

At the moment @rianrietveld and @samikeijonen are writing pages about how to test for accessibility to add to the handbook best practices chapter, for developers, designers and content managers. This at the request of the Gutenberg team. The pages are in draft now, to be published this or next week.

Gutenberg, priorities for WordCamp London

@karmatosed suggested the following workflow for this:

  • sit down together at a11y table on the contributor day prioritising all a11y issues in a spreadsheet
  • create a solid few weeks plan for accessibility, get everything in milestones, get everything so we all know we’re on track
  • get a ‘hot list’ from that and give easy wins to developers present at  the contributor day
  • leave that clearly knowing what needs to be done for a11y and how help can get there
  • focus on a plan of tasks and that all tasks have enough information to be developed by anyone working on project

Contributor drives

Angela Jin asked us to write up content for their info pages about work that can be done for the different teams during a contributor drive (a bite sized contributor day). @rianrietveld also adjusted the page Getting Started at a Contributor Day for this too.
If a contributor wants to select an a11y task:

  1. Tell the #accessibility channel in WordPress Slack that you are hosting a Contributor Drive and request specific projects and direction.
  2. If you need assistance during the Contributor Drive, ask questions in Slack.

To avoid having to maintain a page with a list of tasks in the documentation of the contributor drive.

Open floor

  • @postphotos came with the idea of organising “contributor drives” in regions across the world, focused on a11y. Like the translation days. He will research this further. We agreed this is a fun idea (wpa11y day?)
  • @arush will publish her research on the screen reader accessibility of Gutenberg this week
  • We had a discussion about adding hreflang to links in translatable strings, like e.g. <a href="%s" hreflang="en"> . Adding the hreflang="en" in the translation triggers a warning
  • We discussed setting a new date/time for the meetings. There will be a separate post about this tomorrow.



Accessibility team update for March 26, 2018

Gutenberg 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 accessibility, 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 block 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 WCAG: 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 Core. This was also added earlier to the Theme Guidelines.

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


Accessibility team update for March 5, 2018

This week in WordPress Accessibility, March 5, 2017


Accessibility team update: December 18, 2017

Weekly meeting


Progress of the “best practices” in the handbook according to @samikeijonen : “It’s a bullet that’s moving fast in the right direction, I’m confident about it”.

Marketing handbook: we working with the marketing team to set up a plan.
Roadmap first release March 1. After that we can keep extending and modifying the content.


About Prevent frontend style getting in Gutenberg: According to Sami: It’s a bullet that’s moving fast in different directions. Lots of good discussions going on, there’s not a definite solution yet.

WCAG 2.1

Last week @rianrietveld has been to a Dutch WCAG 2.1 meeting. Wilco Fiers was there too, he’s in the team that writes this new guidelines. They discussed the new rules and we will continue to do so on January 12. After that last meeting Rian will do a write up of what the new guidelines mean for WordPress.

WCAG / ATAG statement

  • WCAG: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
  • ATAG: Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (a subset of accessibility rules specifically for content creation)

We want to publish an article/articles addressing WCAG / ATAG and WordPress. To refer to, as we get questions about the policy WordPress follows and the current state of accessibility. We probably also need legal advice for this.
@joedolson will write the statement for ATAG , @rianrietveld for WCAG.

Next meetings

  • Bug scrub: 16:00 UTC, January 8, 2018
  • Team meeting: 17:00 UTC, January 8, 2018

Because of Christmas and New Years day we will skip 2 weeks.