We spend a lot of time improving our websites, optimizing them for speed and creating quality content, but not enough attention is placed on site accessibility. Have you ever wondered how easy it is for people with disabilities to access your site and then navigate around it?
If you’re running a large WordPress site with a complex page structure, it’s all too easy for your visitors to get lost in the maze.
Ask yourself honestly – how easy is it to navigate your site?
If someone arrives at your site for the first time, whether via the homepage or any other page, can they quickly get from A to B to C and find what they need?
Or will they disappear into a swamp of cluttered menus, endless subdirectories and broken links that lead nowhere?
If you’re running a WordPress-powered blog, the Vocalyze widget is a clever little tool for converting text to speech and reaching out to a wider audience.
Vocalyze is a free mobile audio app which reads web pages aloud, in an artificial voice, allowing users to follow their favourite sites while they’re away from the computer or too busy to read. Vocalyze is typically used for news sites, RSS feeds and Twitter, but the app can read content from anywhere on the web. Vocalyze is available for all Apple iOS and Android devices, as well as any web browser.
Do you ever wonder if perhaps the text on your website is too small for some users to read? Visitors may not know how to use keyboard shortcuts in order to make text large enough to read. That’s where the WP Font Resizer Widget comes in handy. Depending on your design and the demographic of your visitors, this plugin could be a lifesaver.
The WordPress platform maintains a commitment to Accessibility so that anyone can have access to pages, including those who are visually impaired, handicapped, users on mobile devices as well as those trying to connect to the Internet with old browsers and dial up connections.
WordPress has a built-in accessibility mode that can be turned on and off for the widgets page. If you’re ever stuck in a situation where you can’t move your widgets through drag-and-drop, you can quickly and easily turn on “Accessibility Mode” through the Screen Options menu:
TwentyTen child themes have been popping up everywhere and many theme designers are offering them for free. Child themes will soon have a designated place in the WordPress theme directory. One strong benefit of using TwentyTen as a parent theme is that you’ll always be able to update the basic framework without breaking your design. Check out a few of the free child themes listed here to see what’s possible when building on TwentyTen.
Web Accessibility is important for anyone with a website to think about. While researching it I came across an excellent guide by Dennis Lembree on Web Hosting Guide about 25 ways to make your website more accessible. Dennis is a web accessibility expert, author of the Web Axe blog and of Accessible Twitter. I’m going to piggyback onto the article and look at how WordPress users can achieve many of the steps outlined.
This week I’m going to take a look at some issues relating to WordPress and accessibility. Are you aware that by using WordPress you are already doing wonders for your site’s accessibility?
Or have you never really thought about it?
If you haven’t you must be one of thousands of people who pay no attention to accessibility standards when designing, customizing or using a WordPress theme. However, since you’re reading this you’re already on your first step to learning more about web accessibility.