Accessibility – In General
You must have come across the word ‘Accessibility-ready’in many WordPress themes. But what does it mean? Anything and everything that is available for use should be able to be accessed by the maximum individuals possible. That way, the reach widens to a great extent, and the said resource or product has a greater chance of becoming a real success. Explaining this in simpler terms would be, a kid who needs to open a huge door to a candy store, a coder who needs a well-documented API to get on with his work, a physically disabled individual who needs a ramp to get into a building or a bus.
The definition of the whole accessibility idea would be the level or degree to which a service, product, or environment is available for use to as many potential users as possible. This is in general terms as far as day-to-day life is concerned.
‘Accessibility’ Meaning – The Internet
Let’s shift to the online world. The Internet is not meant for a selected few. Now that means, we need to strive to improve the system so that it allows anyone and everyone access to all that is available. The digital world has endless potential by which people can connect with others, gather information, or even run a business. So then, running a website that does not hinder people with different disabilities from using it is becoming more and more of a requirement as time passes by.
As far as designing a website goes, one needs to create pages that every individual can use, regardless of his or her impairment, and no matter what the hardware or software in question is. You have to keep in mind that different types of issues that different people might have as far as accessing your webpage is concerned. There will be someone who cannot see, so the mouse or screen isn’t going to help much. Another person might not be able to hear, while yet another individual might simply be colorblind.
So it can be safely said that in today’s day and age, accessibility is not an option, but a requirement. Just like life in general, we simply cannot afford to let the online world discriminate between groups of people with disabilities or any other concerns they might be having. Not to forget, in some places, it could have legal ramifications too. Accessibility is fast moving towards a discrimination and rights issue in many countries around the world. Remember, more than a billion people in the world have some form of disability of the other.
What is accessibility-ready in WordPress?
Developers are striving to make WordPress as accessible as possible to all users as possible. A theme needs to pass the accessibility audit to be tagged as ‘accessibility-ready’. Themes are reviewed, and the opportunity is given to update them if needed to gain the accessibility-ready tag.
What You Need to Do
First and foremost, start off by running your website on this accessibility checker. Who knows? You might be in for quite a few surprises.
Now here are all the things you need to keep in mind. Your content must be available to all. Users should be able to navigate around your website easily, no matter if they use a mouse or not. The content should be presented in such a manner that it is understandable to all. Your content should be accessible to all, regardless of the software or hardware in use. Everything needs to be readable.
Others aspects like headings, links, colors, headings, buttons, interactive elements, images and icons, media such as audio, video, sliders, besides forms, contrast, browsers, toolbars, resolution responsiveness, autoplay, sound, animation, readable ALT text for images, preventing seizures, HTML, etc., should be properly in place for optimum use. Here is a great handbook that would help you in more detail.
Accessibility-ready WordPress Themes
Here are some of the most accessibility-ready WordPress themes out there. Do keep in mind that out of these, some are free while other are paid ones. There will be much more, but these are pretty much at the top of the ladder as far as all the important points that have been mentioned here earlier are concerned.
These are a few more that you can check out are:
Quintessential – Accessibility-Ready Magazine WordPress Theme with a Video Background
Author: Accessibility-ready, fast, responsive, and optimally designed for reading, free.
Aaron: Accessibility-ready, call to action, multi-purpose, social menu, free.
Kuorinka: Accessibility-ready, translation-ready, child-friendly, schema, free.
Tiny Framework: Accessibility-ready, schema, custom headers and logos, free.
Apex: Accessibility-ready, super responsive, translation-ready, free.
Simone: Accessibility-ready, high resolution, translation-ready, typography, free.
Unlimited: Accessibility-ready, reliable code, fast, super responsive, free.
Now don’t make the mistake of thinking that accessibility has to be a complete thing or it is nothing. Start now and make continuous progress step by step. Getting your website accessibility-ready gradually is better than not doing anything about it at all. And look at it this way. The more accessible your website it, the more people you are going to be able to reach, and so that many more people will become your users. In the end, it is all going to benefit you only. In other words, every small step is going to be in the right direction towards your long-term success in the project.
So waste no more precious time, and go ahead and make your website accessibility-ready. After all, accessibility should not be an option; it should just be the norm.