WordPress is a free and open-source content management system. It’s one of the most popular blogging platforms in use today, powering more than 60 million websites. Unfortunately, its popularity has led to some security vulnerabilities, though it is generally considered safe for personal blogs. Many plugins are available to extend WordPress’ functionality, like accessiBe WordPress, but they can also introduce new vulnerabilities or compromise your website’s performance if not properly configured or installed. This article will cover some considerations when developing for disabled users with WordPress plugins.

Disabled users may be unable to access websites, whether for lack of technology access or due to a disability that requires specific considerations. The W3C has an entire section on Web Accessibility Guidelines for this purpose, but it’s important to note that even if you’re developing for yourself, these guidelines still apply. For example, you might use YouTube without issue because you have high-speed Internet access to stream video. Still, users on mobile connections are less likely to have the same experience.

To that end, let’s look at some of the challenges disabled users can face with WordPress plugins specifically. Developers need to consider these things when developing their plugins.

1. ARIA attributes and roles

The purpose of these is to provide additional information about the state, properties, and/or relationships for HTML elements that an application may define; they also give context to interactions with those elements. They’re vital to building accessible web applications, as screen readers rely on them to speak about an element.

Poorly implemented ARIA attributes can completely break the application, like what happened to YouTube recently. If your plugin uses HTML5 elements that older browsers may not recognize, you should use the proper ARIA roles and attributes to provide context for screen readers.

2. Color Contrast

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines have details on properly contrasting colors for disabled users. For example, if you’re using light text on a dark background, the contrast ratio should be 3:1 or 4.5:1 at most; anything lower may not be readable by those with low vision who rely on screen readers to read the content.

3. Screen Readers and Web Applications

If your plugin is intended for use within a website rather than as a standalone application, you should always consider how those with disabilities might use it. For example:

– If your plugin auto-generates content and presents it to the user without interaction, you should ensure that any generated text is directly associated with its input field or toolbar button.

– If your plugin uses JavaScript, ensure that it’s not a burden to those on slower connections.

– When opening a dialogue window, indicate the open state so blind users know there’s something new on-screen.

4. Keyboard Shortcuts and Accessibility

WordPress has some keyboard shortcuts for navigation, but keyboards vary from one system to another, so consider adding shortcuts when designing your plugin. For example:

– Users will be familiar with Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V for copy and paste, respectively, in Windows. On a Mac, using Cmd+C and Cmd+V is more standard. You can add this functionality in your plugin by detecting which operating system your users are on and applying shortcuts accordingly.