Whether you are a new website owner, an established e-commerce store owner, or a blogger, you can always improve the user experience. That’s why fine-tuning your WordPress accessibility is worth it.
WordPress accessibility refers to how easy it is for a number of users to utilize your website. It covers details like the size of your fonts, the color contrasts on the website’s pages, and easy navigation.
However, you need to improve the accessibility of your website. Does your website cater to the requirement of those with impairments or those who speak different languages?
Visitors who are blind or have mobility issues will find it challenging to use a keyboard. You have to find ways to include them in your user base.
If at some point, they find themselves unable to use your site, then you will lose a customer. Improving your site’s accessibility will help you grow your site, but it is also the more ethical thing to do.
Websites with higher user accessibility rank higher on smart search engines like Google. If you don’t follow the best WordPress accessibility practices, you will lose your spot to a competitor.
That’s why WordPress takes accessibility exceptionally seriously. However, ensuring that your WordPress site is 100% accessible becomes difficult.
That’s why everyone needs a few pointers that they can follow to advance the level of WordPress accessibility.
What is WordPress accessibility?
As mentioned before, WordPress accessibility is about ensuring that everyone can use your website. You have to focus on improving the user experience and that everyone can enjoy the content of your website. WordPress accessibility concerns itself with these three categories.
1. Multi-device: Can users access the website through different devices like a mobile phone, tablet, desktop, and laptop? You have to ensure that anyone using a digital device will have a good experience on your website. Otherwise you miss out on potential customers just because they are unable to use your site.
2. Auditory/ visual motor/ cognitive impairments: You must ensure that people with such impairments can easily visit your site and use it. They should be able to access each piece of content and navigate the site.
3. Economical: Not everyone can afford top-edge hardware and software. Does your website support people who use old equipment or not?
You must follow the guidelines of accessible web design to ensure that your website is non-discriminatory. If you need help, then you have two options:
- Use an accessibility plugin: If you need time to create a long-term accessibility strategy but still have to ensure that your site is accessible temporarily, then you have to use a plugin.
- Hire a professional: Hire a professional to get guidelines and an actionable strategy to ensure that you comply with the rules.
How to improve WordPress accessibility
Now that you know the basics, you should know the steps you need to take to improve the overall accessibility of your website.
1. Picking the suitable CMS
Choosing the right content management system or website builder is necessary to launch a new site. Not every CMS or site builder provides the tools you need to improve the site’s accessibility.
In this context, WordPress is rather impressive. You can change your site’s HTML and CSS markup by accessing the source code. This gives you great power to improve your website’s accessibility.
Shortcodes can also be tweaked by using the Gutenberg editor of WordPress. Your job is also made easy by the accessibility-ready themes and download plugins which improve the accessibility of the WordPress site.
With the right combination of themes and plugins, your site’s accessibility can be improved without any great effort.
WordPress is the most used CMS worldwide, which is why it has a mature and ever-growing community. You can learn about the best practices to improve the accessibility of your site.
2. WordPress accessibility audits
If you are not creating a new WordPress website and already have one, then you need to know how well it fairs regarding accessibility. You must conduct an accessibility audit to understand what you are doing right and what can be improved.
By focusing on the problems, you save a lot of time and other resources.
Run a manual audit by following these steps:
- Review the web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) and make a checklist of all the areas that need to be covered.
- Review each item to ensure that everything is in its rightful place.
- If you discover a problem during the audit, note down on what needs to be done to make improvements.
Alternatively, you can use the following accessibility tools to assist with your audits:
- Run the site through a W3C markup validation tool. This checks the validity of your site’s documents and verifies whether they adhere to the guidelines of language used.
- You can use an accessibility viewer to conduct a screen reader compatibility test. This accessibility testing tool determines whether a screen reading tool can successfully scan and read your content so the visually impaired can access your website.
- Keep an eye on your website’s color contrast. The contrast between the site’s colour and text shouldn’t be too low. Otherwise, visitors will be unable to read the site’s content.
This will make your website less user-friendly for people who have any visual impairments like color blindness. You can test the website’s color contrast through different tools and see if any changes are necessary.
- You have to check if the keyboard navigation works or not. Click on the address bar and try only using the keyboard to navigate the site.
You should be able to access different parts of the site’s menu using the tab button. Many people prefer using the web with the help of a keyboard. You should try to ensure that full navigation of the website is possible with the keyboard.
3. Use an accessible WordPress themes
Making your website more accessible is easier if you start with a theme which already includes all the necessary features.
Select accessibility-ready WordPress themes for you to choose, but if you want to take advanced steps, you can always buy a theme too.
Once you have installed a theme, you should try to ensure if their functionalities are working or not. Once the theme is installed, your headaches are over and you will easily gain customers.
Improving WordPress accessibility one element at a time
After finishing your audit, you will realise areas that can improve. To make the improvements, you will have to optimize specific elements for accessibility.
1. Adopt a clear layout
A clear web page layout helps users find out what they are looking for. Straightforward website structure should include:
- Make it obvious which headlines and paragraphs belong together.
- Organize the website content into different categories which can be accessed through the menu.
- Critical information should be accessible from one click on your header navigation menu.
2. Readable content
The content on your website is highly crucial, and that’s why not one bit can be missed out. Each piece of content is influenced by color, contrast, front, front-size, spelling, and sentence structure.
You can boost the readability of the website’s content by following these steps:
- Kindly ensure that the color contrast between your text and background is high.
- Select a font which is easy to read. Fonts which give the feeling of handwritten text are often difficult to read. Basic fonts do well when it comes to readability.
- Similarly, people struggle to read text if the font size is not big. So ensure that a paragraph does not have text with font size less than 16px.
- Keep the content of your website simple which makes it readable. If users are able to read content they will know which steps they have to take. Keep things straightforward and appeal to a larger audience instead of using technical language which makes content difficult to comprehend.
- Check the grammar of the content you post on your site.
- Write the acronym for first-time visitors who may not know the term yet. The objective is to keep things understandable if people do not understand the meaning of something, they will leave your site.
3. Make sure that your website’s navigation menus are accessible and responsive
Keep the navigation of your website extremely simple. Users should be able to land on all critical pages with just a click or two.
Dropdown menus can complicate things a bit because users cannot be sure they will find the information they need. A simple header menu is enough to guide all your users to the necessary pages.
Then you have to check how your navigation is working for different devices. It needs to be equally efficient, no matter the device your user uses.
4. Optimize images and icons with alt text, captions, and text alternatives
For anyone using a screen reader, image alt tag descriptors are critical to converting visual content into audio. This allows visually impaired users to enjoy the content of your website without any hassles.
You can also use image captions and text alternatives to provide a detailed description. Avoid describing important information with images, but if it is unavoidable, you should ensure that text is also available.
5. Clearly label your contact forms
Labeling each contact form ensures that users fill in the right information. You should also keep your text left aligned and only use standard terminology.
6. Make your anchor texts descriptive
Visitors easily identify where a link will lead them if the anchor text is descriptive. For example, if you want to use anchor text for your services, then use something like, find out more about our services here than here.
7. Use appropriate colors
Color contrast is an important element to consider. However, don’t forget one of the most defining elements of your website, the overall color of your site.
Bright and conflicting colors are not easy on the eyes. You need colors that are easy on the eyes, so the visitors can browse for a longer time and take the required action.
You should stick with a consistent color scheme which has neutral colors and a lot of white spaces. While you do not want your website to look boring, you don’t want something too flashy too.
If you are having trouble coming up with the perfect design combination, you can purchase a theme which will come with a pre set color scheme.
Add an accessibility statement to your site
You need to legally protect your site from any accessibility-related lawsuits and let users know how accessible it is. This will solve any confusion your users may have.
Disclose the parts of the site which are not accessible to anyone with an impairment. Also, highlight any alternative webpage you have put in place.
In the end, provide your contact details to make it easier for people to report any accessibility-related issues.