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WordPress: Accessibility as a patch is not a good strategy

Last modified: April 22, 2013

SteveAlee made an request in WordPress forum to merge the accessibility improvements of Accessible 1.0 into the WordPress default theme Twenty Ten. Of course this would be my favorite goal to get Twenty Ten fully accessible and not to make a child theme for that purpose.

But I followed the development of Twenty Ten in WordPress Core a lot and got the impression that it is not so easy to get Twenty Ten more and more accessible. There is a kind of effort there to get accessibility forward but it takes a lot of time. Even small improvements as the skip link which is not reachable for keyboard users is somewhere in the developing pipeline – in a future release.That’s why I made Accessible 1.0 – to make Twenty Ten more accessible and can be used as long as the developing process in WordPress trunk is running. And the answers to our merging request are not really promising.

I would dearly love to see accessibility given a much higher profile but that’s not happened so far (and not for lack of trying). The whole subject – whilst generally popular superficially – is one that people do seem to have problems getting to grips with when it gets down to implementation. There are also so many other issues vying for attention that accessibility doesn’t seem to be able to hold anyone’s attention for any length of ti…oooh .. shiny jQuery thingy! ;-)

esmi – theme diva

Eventually there will be a kind of WP-access group which will discuss WordPress accessibility issues and working on accessibility patches. Of course this would be a great improvement to get accessibility running. I am the first to discuss this issues there.

But I think to handle accessibility as a patch is not a good strategy. Accessibility as a patch will always be a loose end.

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