WordPress 2.6 brings a lot of accessibility improvements!

I just upgraded this blog to WordPress 2.6.

This version brings with it a number of accessibility enhancements.

One thing you might have noticed already is that there is now a default language set. Default English blogs should now always cause screen readers that support language switching to use the English variant of their default speech synthesizer.

Also new: Whereever possible, there are now labels properly associated with the corresponding form controls. This means that now also screen readers that do not do their own HTML processing should pick up the labels fine.

One more addition that the WordPress team has embraced is the inclusion of some WAI-ARIA markup. Whenever you comment on my blog now, and soon hopefully many others, and you use a compatible browser such as Firefox 3, and a compatible screen reader such as NVDA or Orca, you’ll hear that the text fields also textually marked as “required” in their labels, now are announced as “required” fields. The WordPress default theme now uses aria-required to denote such fields as required, giving even more accessibility to WordPress!

I’d like to thank the WordPress community to embrace ARIA! It is really amazing that ARIA is now finding its way into such a widespread mainstream piece of software!

14 thoughts on “WordPress 2.6 brings a lot of accessibility improvements!

  1. Hi Ansgar,

    Yes, the fact that aria-induced pages currently do not validate in XHTML is a known issue, and documented at:
    But if a page validates except for the aria-required attribute, that should still be OK. The WordPress team consciously made the decision to be in the lead here and provide ARIA support even though this will currently not validate on those attributes.


  2. Marco, I am perfectly with you. However there are quite a lot of people out there who do not know about this cutting-edge-technology and thus they will only see one thing for sure: The page is not valid. Which then leads to the conclusion that it can not be accessible, because of priority two which says: “3.2 Create documents that validate to published formal grammars.”


  3. First, getting new features is much more important than validating against a legacy validation target. ARIA adds markup, so ARIA can’t validate against a legacy validation target such as XHTML 1.0 (without retroactively changing what XHTML 1.0 is).

    One could define a new validation target like “XHTML 1.0 plus ARIA” or “HTML 4.01 plus ARIA”. However, XHTML 1.0 and HTML 4.01 themselves are being replaced by HTML5 and the expectation is that ARIA will be included in HTML5 as ARIA matures, so I’ve opted to prototype an “HTML5 plus ARIA” validation target instead in Validator.nu. (Please note that the prototype is based on an older draft of ARIA and takes some liberties with it. The liberties taken or the way HTML5 and ARIA are integrated in the prototype aren’t endorsed by any spec at this time.)

    Also, the normative validation formalism for XHTML 1.0 is DTDs. DTDs are woefully inadequate to capture the kind of interdependencies ARIA places on attributes. While it would be feasible to punch holes in a DTD to let ARIA through, DTDs don’t work for detailed ARIA validation. HTML5 validation requires more advanced technology than DTDs to begin with, which also makes it more natural to prototype ARIA validation in the context of an HTML5 validator.


  4. great post. i came to know about wordpress a lot. i have been using only the services of blogger. this is way too good.. gr8 post. was very informative


  5. As it’s the only thing on my page not validating, I can live with one error if it improves accesibility.

    WordPress should be applauded for trying to push it’s implementation, so good for them I say.


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