Accessibility Improvements On the Way with the WordPress 6.0 Update
Ensuring the accessibility of your website is not only good for your business, but it also helps the estimated one in five Americans with disabilities who may otherwise have difficulty using it. Additionally, it helps you comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), federal legislation that prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities. With the latest WordPress update, there’s good things coming on the accessibility front for companies using the platform.
At Paradigm, we get a lot of questions related to WordPress and ADA compliance. Our clients want to know about WordPress accessibility and how to make a WordPress site accessible if it isn’t. The good news is that it is going to get easier with the latest WordPress update, WordPress 6.0.
The web platform released its WordPress upgrade in May 2022 featuring many improvements to the user experience, including theme editing, new blocks, and block editor enhancements. Most importantly for website owners having difficulties navigating accessibility for WordPress, this WordPress latest version offers increased accessibility to adhere to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). We’re outlining some of those key updates.
ALT text Alternative text for images, or ALT text, provides descriptions on online images, icons, and other visual features to enable those who are blind, visually impaired, or have other cognitive or physical disabilities to understand them. It uses HTML code to provide the site visitor with information on the visual element if they are using an assistive reading device. With WordPress’s update, the platform will use the post title as the ALT text for featured images if no other ALT text is provided.
Screen readers WordPress’s current version 6.0 offers improvements to help publishers who use screen readers to maneuver through design blocks and develop their site more easily. The update also fixed a flaw in the existing error message that appeared when a required field was left blank in the tag editing section to ensure it can be also read by screen readers.
Navigation blocks The update allows users who utilize screen readers to better understand multi-level navigation menu blocks such as overall site navigation menus.
List view WordPress sites allow users to access a drop-down menu that stays open while the user moves around the site. WordPress’s update improves keyboard controls and overall navigation to make it easier to develop the site.
Media WordPress 6.0 also makes several improvements to the way media is handled on the platform including enhancing keyboard controls and preserving attachment properties when cropping a custom logo, transferring ALT text, title, description, and caption of an image even after it is cropped.
Theme The updates make improvements to its default accessible WordPress themes, including Twenty Nineteen, Twenty Twenty, and Twenty Twenty-One.
The latest WordPress update is great for both businesses who use the platform for their sites and the customers who visit them. After all, the more people use your website, the more successful your business probably will be. However, building a site in WordPress is not enough to ensure ADA compliance. As individuals with disabilities continue to pay closer attention to web accessibility standards, the number of website accessibility lawsuits is on the rise. It is up to each website owner to make sure their site is an ADA compliant WordPress website. Even with these important updates, you don’t want to leave your company’s reputation and financial security in the hands of a simple ADA compliance WordPress plugin – you want to work with experts. Paradigm partners with ADA-certified auditors who have entire test teams comprised of people with disabilities, and they are dedicated to thoroughly evaluating the sites we develop to ensure compliance, support any necessary remediation efforts, and constantly monitor the website accessibility environment for any changes that may affect our sites. If we can help you build or update your ADA compliant WordPress website, please contact us today.