What is Accessibility & Why do we need it?
Web accessibility is a huge and complex topic. You might be interested in accessibility because you are wanting to avoid a lawsuit or a fine. Or, let’s be less cynical, maybe you already appreciate that web accessibility is morally the right thing to do and you are looking for ways to make your site better. Whatever the reason, we are glad you are here.
Accessibility in website design means creating websites and applications that everyone can use, regardless of hardware, software, or any sensory or physical impairment. Accessible sites include benefits such as faster page load speeds and better SEO. Plus making an accessible site is just the right thing to do!
To define that even further, according to the World Health Organization, 285 million people have vision impairments.
Web accessibility is an important consideration for all bloggers and site owners, but it’s also something that is overlooked when they’re building their site.
That’s problematic, because beyond making your website more accessible to everyone (including both those with impairments and without), not properly implementing accessibility standards will put you on the wrong side of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and put you in danger of being sued!
The number of Website Accessibility Standards lawsuits has more than doubled in the past five years to more than 10,000 per year, with nearly half of these suits being filed in California, New York, and Florida. Businesses and Bloggers across the country feel under siege, bombarded with multiple lawsuits each year by serial plaintiffs and disability rights advocates.
- Section 508 Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0)
- IBM Web Accessibility Checklist
…. Article in-progress… check back soon!
Is WordPress WCAG Compliant?
WordPress, at its core, is a tool for storing, retrieving, and displaying stored data. Typically, this stored data is content. This means that your WordPress website’s accessibility is largely determined by what data is stored and how that data is displayed.
WordPress has two systems that have a significant impact on accessibility: themes and plugins. WordPress themes control how your website looks, and plugins allow you to add additional functionality to your website. Both are responsible for the underlying code that makes up the front end of your website.
That code can be accessible or have accessibility issues. It can include accessibility features such as skip links or proper ARIA roles, or it can neglect them. The theme can or cannot have adequate color contrast.
So much of making WordPress sites accessible is evaluating, testing, and selecting the right themes and plugins.
Let’s look at themes and plugins individually.