How to make your WordPress site web accessibility ready?
WordPress Web Accessibility
A decade ago, not many people thought about web accessibility. Despite the importance of the Internet that day, only people without special disabilities could access it. Fortunately, online barriers have received repeated attention in recent times. Many people are starting to see web inaccessibility as a real problem, which is a massive step in the right direction. In today’s article, we’re going to take a deeper dive into the WordPress platform and its key plugins for total web accessibility.
As one of the major names in website building and management, the WordPress platform leads by example, creating an environment where website owners can make their websites fully accessible. To further demonstrate its commitment to the widest possible integration, the WordPress platform has made important additions and changes, which we’ll detail below.
According to the W3C, one in five US citizens has a disability. If that doesn’t sound like much, imagine this number has multiplied globally and you will see that we have a significant problem. This article focuses on WordPress and its accessibility support features to help web owners improve accessibility.
What is web access?
Internet accessibility focuses primarily on designing and developing websites that people with disabilities can access. This means that websites that comply with the W3C WCAG guidelines can provide more accessible content.
The main focus of web accessibility is creating or adapting web content accessibility for people with disabilities, with an emphasis on the overall user experience of the web that covers all users, including those with disabilities.
When creating an accessible website, these are key areas of focus that we need to consider when designing a responsive, reader-friendly screen. The website must also have appropriate alternative text for images, ensure optimal color contrast, add and add subtitles to videos, and ensure that the website can be navigated using the keyboard.
An accessible website offers many benefits, some of which are:
- The website complies with the country’s Equality Act.
- Web accessibility allows you to grow your customer base because more people can access your web content.
- You can save a lot of money by avoiding lawsuits.
WordPress Platform (What It Is and How It Works)
WordPress is a content management platform with the ability and tools to create the shape and style of any website. A content management system refers to a system that allows you to control, create, and share various types of content. It’s free, open-source software that gives you complete control over your website’s design and customization. The WordPress community is a large group of people around the world who create thousands of WordPress themes, products, plugins, and services for all industries. Although it originally started as a platform for blogs, today more than 30% of all websites are built on this platform.
WordPress offers a great advantage for people who want to create accessible websites by creating various themes and plugins to improve accessibility. Therefore, anyone who wants to build websites with accessibility in mind can choose a piece with accessibility features. For example, a new theme like Twenty Seventeen has already been created with accessibility features.
Everything you want to do in WordPress is entirely up to you. You set the rules, pace, mode of operation, pros and cons, and run your site the way you would run your business.
With users accounting for around a third of the world’s internet users, you cannot get stuck using the platform due to the extensive support channels. These support channels can range from forums to Slack channels to WhatsApp and Facebook groups. You are surrounded by people who can help you out of obstacles within minutes.
Similarities and differences between WordPress and Wix
Just like WordPress, Wix is an AI platform and website builder rolled into one. It offers a drag and drop site builder for creating small websites, as well as a web hosting service and domain name. Unlike WordPress, Wix was built for small businesses like restaurants, online stores, music artists, photographers, etc. The platform is optimized for mobile devices and devices.
Wix offers different packages depending on your budget. There are also free services with few features and ads.
Unlike Wix, WordPress is free software. You don’t pay any company or organization to use it, but you can use some paid themes and plugins. You can get most of the services you can get on Wix and other platforms by starting on WordPress for free, but you only pay for your provider’s hosting.
Some WordPress statistics
WordPress (WP) started in 2003 as one of many tools to create a blog. The nature and structure of the app allowed everyone to contribute to its development. This prompted WP to quickly grow beyond its initial goal of near-unlimited plugins and specialized hosting providers. While the main users of WordPress are still bloggers, big brands like Sony, Walt Disney, MTV, the BBC and New Yorker are paying attention to it.
WordPress Statistics from 2019 is quite remarkable:
- 14.7% of the world’s top 100 websites are based on WP
- More than 500 new websites are created every day with the free WP version on wordpress.org
- 17 unique blog posts appear every second
- According to the Word Campsite, there are currently over 75 million websites using WordPress
These stats are not exhaustive, but we recognize that WordPress is a top choice for big brands due to its dynamic nature and numerous plugins.
The most common problems related to accessibility on the Internet
Have you ever imagined what it feels like when one or more of your senses are impaired? Do you sometimes wonder if disabled people have access to the Internet? Maybe these thoughts have never crossed your mind, but more and more people are starting to ask these questions. The following are some of the problems that disabled people face when using the web since the web is primarily designed for people without physical disabilities:
- Visually: This has to do with impairments related to the eyes. It includes blindness, various common forms of low vision and low vision, and various forms of color blindness.
- motor skills / mobility: This refers to the inability to use the hands, including loss of muscle control, muscle slowness, tremors, and amputation due to conditions such as Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, or stroke.
- hearing: This includes deafness or hearing impairment, including people who have difficulty hearing.
- seizures: Examples include photoepileptic seizures, often caused by flash effects or visual flashes.
- Cognitive / Intellectual: Developmental disabilities, learning disabilities and intellectual/cognitive disabilities affecting memory, attention, developmental maturity, problem solving and logical thinking, etc.
Most effective solutions
WordPress has numerous themes and plugins that enable web accessibility. Hence, it is considered as the best platform to create a website that anyone can access regardless of their disability.
When we talk about assistive technologies that help people with disabilities enjoy a robust web experience, WP has developed plugins that make the web and its content easier to access. Here is a selection of the most effective web accessibility solutions that are commonly used:
- Upgradable braille display: This plugin allows you to render text as Braille characters that visually impaired users can easily read.
- screen reader software: This plugin uses synthesized speech to display characters on the computer screen to read.
- Screen Magnification Software: These plugins allow you to enlarge the display on the monitor.
- speech recognition software: This helps convert speech to text.
- Keyboard Overlays: This helps to make the input clearer and more accurate.
- thanks to the free assistive technology Essential Accessibility enables people with disabilities to type, move the mouse, or read the screen.
Other WordPress Web Accessibility Plugins
Other examples of WordPress plugins and themes that improve web accessibility are.
- Accessible fonts: Accessibility widget allows you to create a font size toggle widget for website sidebars. In this way, readers on your website can easily change the text size according to their needs. This allows the readers on the site to easily adjust the text size to suit their needs.
- Text-to-speech: Audio options are crucial for web users with visual impairments. One plugin that helps is Speaker-Page to Speech. This plugin can create audio versions of posts and pages. The plugin offers human quality voices to choose from and supports more than 30 different languages.
The most used plugins to improve the accessibility of a WordPress website.
– UserWay review and for the Accessibility Widget plugin (here)
– AccessiBe Review and for the Accessibility Plugin (here)
– Adally check and for the Accessibility Widget Plugin (here)
– Accessibility Suite Plugin and Accessibility Toolbar Plugin by Online ADA
– Accessibility Enabler Plugin by HikeOrders
– Make Sense Accessibility Plugin
– One click accessibility
Research has shown that around 15% of the world’s population is disabled. Thoughts about accessibility should not only be the responsibility of a webmaster. Everyone, from website owners, to project managers, graphic designers, editors, content writers, and everyone else involved with the website, should keep web accessibility thoughts in mind when performing or implementing their roles.
Therefore, internet accessibility is essential for people with disabilities. It’s far more important than just driving traffic to your website. It must be ensured that anyone who lands on your web pages can easily understand and navigate the pages fully to get all the important information and entertainment that the site offers.