I’ve talked a lot about web accessibility lately, especially as it relates to WordPress Themes. The feedback I got from this podcast told me that web developers want to embrace better accessibility, but aren’t sure how.
Enter this 5-part series specifically dealing with accessibility-ready WordPress themes and small, tangible steps developers can take to make their websites a little friendlier for the masses.
Over this series we’ll discuss:
- How to check a website for accessibility
- Where accessibility meets the law
- How to add skip nav to your WordPress site
- When to use accessibility plugins & themes
- Why accessibility is good for your bottom line
A Starting Point
If the idea of web accessibility (or even the term) is new to you, then you’re in the right place. For starters, let’s define the general idea of accessibility:
Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent access to websites by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality. – Wikipedia entry for “Web Accessibility”
Why does accessibility matter (and why should you care)?
If you’re reading this site, chances are high you’re a WordPress user. Here’s a fun fact about the WordPress Foundation, the charitable organization behind WordPress. Their mission is: to democratize publishing through Open Source, GPL software. The mission of WordPress is to equalizing publishing for everyone.
(On a tangent, but still related, spend 5 minutes checking out Paul Clark’s lightening talk on How WordPress Saves Lives and Moves Governments)
If the purpose of WordPress is to make it possible for anyone to publish content, doesn’t it stand to reason that anyone should be able to consume that content? I won’t go into a long monologue about why making content accessible is just a good thing to do, but let’s just say it is.
And, if you’re not moved from the goodness of your heart (seriously, I rarely am), then consider this: Accessibility nets FANTASTIC results for business websites (that’s the topic of the last post in this series).
So, for now, just know that accessibility is a good thing with positive results for everyone.Accessibility is a good thing, with positive results for everyone. #a11y Click To Tweet
How many accessible WordPress themes are there?
As of this writing, there are 3,007 themes in the WordPress theme repository. Thirty of them meet accessibility-ready requirements… less than 1%. Believe it or not, that’s a 100% increase in the number of accessibility-ready WordPress themes in the past 6 months.
As we say in the South, pickin’s are slim.
Even so, it’s encouraging to see such positive growth in a short period – that means developers like you are taking note and changing some habits.
How many accessible Genesis themes are there?
If you want to talk slim pickins, they get even slimmer when you niche down into accessible themes for the Genesis Framework. To my knowledge, there are two: Leiden (free theme based off of Genesis Sample theme) and Utility Pro (paid theme made by yours truly).
Note: If there are themes out there I’ve missed, please leave a comment as I’d love to include them here.
The bottom line? There’s a huge gap in the market for accessibility-ready themes, WordPress in general or Genesis specifically. If you’re a theme developer, there’s an opportunity for you in this arena. Please come over and play, I welcome competition (alternatives) in this space.
Stay With Me
I’d love for you to continue this series with me and learn more. I’ve found accessibility is not so much about willingness as it is about education.Making the web accessible is not so much about willingness as it is about education. Click To Tweet
Check out the next post in this series: How to check a website for accessibility.