WordPress Accessibility refers to the practice of making your website usable by everyone. The internet was built for everyone, supposed to work for everyone, regardless of the hardware, software, browser, or language the user is accessing it from. However, in most cases accessibility is thrown away for a beautiful design.
Besides individuals with disabilities that affect access, W3 says that website accessibility is also beneficial for:
- Those using devices with small screens, different input modes, etc.
- The elderly.
- People with “temporary disabilities” including a broken limb, lost glasses, or a medical condition.
- Users with “situational limitations”, such as those accessing the Internet on devices in bright sunlight or in an environment where they cannot listen to audio, such as public transportation.
- Individuals with a slow Internet connection.
Accessibility should be everyone’s concern, as we’re all affected by it in some way.
We are going to start with some WordPress accessible best practices broken down by which type. It should serve as a solid foundation for WordPress accessibility education.
Every single image on your website needs to be accessible. Given that not all users can see images, some may use assistive technology to understand visual elements, and your site should therefore be ready to work with that technology.
Alternative (or “alt”) text is a written description that you attach to an image. Screen readers will read that description aloud to any guest who may not see the image. Alt text should be used for any images that provide helpful information on the page. The exception to this rule is images that are considered purely “decorative”. Background images, dividers, icons, or images that show text presented on the page itself won’t require an alt text.
Optimal alt text format
When writing alt text, remember not to describe the image as it is. Instead, communicate what the image means within the context on the page. The best format for alt text is sufficiently descriptive but doesn’t contain any spammy attempts at keyword stuffing. If you can close your eyes, have someone read the alt text to you, and imagine a reasonably accurate version of the image, you’re on the right track.
WordPress Accessibility Development
When building your site, make sure that all interactive elements can be identified easily. All navigation menus — from header to footer — should be usable with keyboard controls. The appearance of links and buttons on hover, focus, and click should change. Navigation across the pages of your site should be consistent and clear. How you name, style, and position navigation links are incredibly important.
If you have any content on your site that plays automatically, like a GIF, slider, carousel, video, or music, there should be visible controls that allow the user to stop the animation or sound. It’s best to provide options to stop, pause, or hide the element altogether.
If you’re a developer who wants to take a deep dive into developing for web accessibility, check out these tips directly from W3C.
The internet has probably become one of the most important tools in our daily life. Every individual needs to have the freedom to access it, whether browsing for entertainment or essential information. Your website has a responsibility to meet the standards set out for equity on the web.
Understanding the need for those guidelines is the first step toward making significant and lasting change. Building an accessible site means more people benefit from what your website has to offer in the long run.
WordPress accessibility is about real human cases, real humans must be the ones to make the final say about whether a site is accessible or not.
Accessibility is a big subject and the topics above barely cover what is required to make a WordPress fully accessible. Creating an accessible website is like constructing a safe building. There are guidelines, but individual attention, upkeep, and thoughtful renovations are essential to ensure you reach the goal.
In the end we leaders in the WordPress development field have to ask ourselves?
If serving is beneath us then leadership is beyond us.
Adam M. Victor is one of the co-founders of A VICTOR’s WORLD, feel free to reach out to him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.