What is Site Accessibility?
To quote the WordPress Codex, site accessibility refers to the creation of “web pages that everyone can use, regardless of hardware, software, or any sensory or physical impairment.” Impairments include anything that may change the way a viewer experiences a website. They range from deafness to arthritis to having a slow internet connection. See here for a short list of example impairments to consider.
Creating an accessible site means providing these users with options to engage with your content. As an example, someone who is colorblind may not be able to distinguish a colored link from the rest of the text on a page. Providing something else to highlight the link, such as an underline, is a step toward accessibility.
What Are the Benefits?
Increasing site accessibility, in addition to helping those with impairments, actually helps your business. An accessible site is open to a wider group of potential users and can even have higher SEO. This may seem like a strange notion, but (to quote WordPress.org again) search engines have “neither sight nor hearing [so] improving accessibility improves your site’s Google visibility, thus improving your search engine optimization.”
What is Accessibility-Ready with WordPress?
The Make WordPress Accessible team molds WordPress by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA standard. They focus on making WordPress accessible both from the front end (viewing and using WordPress websites) and the back end (creating websites and using the wp-admin dashboard). Detailed information can be found in the WordPress Accessibility handbook.
One aspect of being accessible with WordPress is using an “Accessibility Ready” theme. WordPress themes are not required to be “Accessibility Ready,” but can receive this title by following a set of guidelines (some required, some only recommended) and undergoing a review process. When looking for a theme through WordPress.org, “Accessibility Ready” is actually a filter through which you can search. See here for the full list of “Accessibility Ready” themes.
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