Make Your WordPress Site More Accessible

WordPress Accessibility Plugin Logo

by George H. Williams

Introduction

MLA Commons runs on software called WordPress, and everyone who is a member of this site has the ability to create WordPress-based blogs. (For instructions on how to do so, read “Welcome to MLA Commons: Creating a Blog.” You may also want to browse through this complete list of MLA Commons blogs to see how people are using them.)

An important issue to consider when creating a digital resource is how accessible it is to people with disabilities. (For a consideration of the various reasons why, read “Why: The Case for Web Accessibility.”) However, if you’re not especially skilled in what might seem like highly technical web design requirements, the issue of accessibility can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, the WP Accessibility plugin — developed by Joe Dolson — can help non-expert blog owners correct a variety of technical accessibility issues within many WordPress themes. The MLA Commons makes this plugin available to anyone who is creating WordPress-based blog on this site, and the instructions below show you the basics of how to do this.

Overview of the WP Accessibility Plugin

The current version of the plugin makes it easier to enact several accessibility improvements to a WordPress site. For a detailed explanation of the various improvements and how they affect accessibility, read the WP Accessibility Plugin documentation, which goes into more detail than these instructions do and which provides links to even more detailed information.

Step 1 through Step 6: Find and Activate the WP Accessibility Plugin

Follow the same process as you would for any WordPress plugin.

Step 7: Remove Title Attributes

Remove redundant title attributes from page lists, category lists, and archive menus..

Step 8: Add Skip Links

Enable skip links with WebKit support by enqueuing JavaScript support for moving keyboard focus. Add skip links with user-defined targets.

Step 9: Accomplish Several Other Tasks

  • Add language and text direction attributes to your HTML attribute,
  • Remove the target attribute from links,
  • Force a search page error when a search is made with an empty text string,
  • Remove tabindex from elements that are focusable,
  • Strip title attributes from images inserted into content,
  • Add post titles to standard “read more” links,
  • Add a :focus outline to focusable elements,
  • Toggle for high-contrast and large font stylesheets, and
  • Custom admin stylesheet.

Step 10: Test for color contrast

Provide color contrast testing tool to compare colors against WCAG contrast standards. (See step 10 below)

Again, for more detailed explanations of how these improvements affect the accessibility of your WordPress site, read the WP Accessibility Plugin documentation..

Basic, Step-by-Step Instructions

1. From your dashboard, click on the "Plugins" link in the lefthand column.

2. Scroll down the list of plugins until you see "WP Accessibility," then click "Activate"

3. You should see the confirmation message "Plugin activated"

4. Under "Other Network Plugins" click on "Active"

5. Just under "WP Accessibility" click on "Accessibility Settings"

6. You’ll see a variety of different accessibility options

7. Remove Title Attributes

8. Add Skiplinks

9. Miscellaneous Accessibility Settings.

10. Color Contrast Tester

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