The WordPress Accessibility Team announced this week that all new and updated code in core and bundled themes must adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (or WCAG) version 2 standards at the AA level of accessibility.
Created by the World Wide Web Consortium, WCAG aims to ensure that the Internet remains accessible to users with disabilities. Until now, WordPress was on Level A, the most basic standard. AA is used as the legal standard worldwide.
Accessibility has been a conversation in the community for awhile. WordCamp US 2015 was fully accessible for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. The conference provided captions on all presentations, and had American Sign Language interpreters on request. The captions also benefit those who are coming to English as a second language.
Though this is a huge step toward making WordPress more accessible, there is still more work to be done.
“The accessibility of the Admin (the administration area of WordPress) is getting better and better,” the announcement said. “We are researching, testing and fixing accessibility issues in the Admin together with the core developers and our great test team.”
If you can’t contribute to WordPress, take these simple steps to make your own site more accessible.
When choosing themes, Twenty Sixteen is already easy to make accessible. If you’re looking for something more unique, just search for “accessibility-ready” in the repository. All of these have been tested and meet the Level AA standards.
“We will keep moving forward on the accessibility of WordPress: to give everyone, including people with a disability, an excellent and easy to use tool so they can maintain their own website or application,” the annoucement said.
This is a great step in not only making WordPress more inclusive, but also moving toward that other 75 percent.