Perhaps one of the most important aspects that the average WordPress user tends to pay the least attention to is accessibility, either because they don’t quite understand how to solve certain problems or because they don’t know how to discover them.
WP Tabern reports that the Equalize Digital Accessibility Checker plugin has added a new frontend highlighting feature, funded by NASA, that makes this task easier.
Equalize Digital is a WordPress accessibility-related products and services company that since 2021 has a free version of its checker plugin that serves to perform accessibility audits on WordPress installations.
Equalize Digital’s accessibility checker displays error notifications and accessibility warnings directly in the post and/or page editor.
This accessibility checker automatically scans the content every time a draft is saved or the publish button is pressed, providing real-time information about the accessibility of the post or page.
You get an overview of how your content compares from more than 40 different accessibility checks created to comply with the American Web Content Accessibility Guidelines(WCAG 2.1), ADA and Section 508.
The new feature has been funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), through the consultancy work of Equalize Digital and is already being used for new NASA pages. The aim is to make the reports easier to understand for non-developers.
I’ve tested the free plugin again and was amazed, so it goes straight onto my list of basic plugins. It’s more than enough for any page with no limit on the number of articles to analyse and it’s very simple to use.
The first thing you’ll see when you install and activate the plugin is this yellow icon to access the warning report.
In addition, under the editor (you can configure the position) you can find the summary with the percentage of tests passed, and the number of errors, warnings, contrast errors, ignored warnings and access to the details.
In the details tab you can find out the type of error and on which element it occurs.
The new highlighting feature adds a “view on page” link to each problem in the reports and when clicked, takes you to the public view of the page where possible errors or areas for improvement have been found and flagged and when clicked again on each warning or error icon highlights the item with a pink frame and displays a panel explaining the problem and how to fix it.
The free version of Accessibility Checker scans entries and pages, including the header, content area, sidebar and footer of those pages. There is no limit to the number of pages or posts it can scan and no limit to the number of times each page or post can be scanned.
If your blog only has single posts and pages, you will be able to scan all content. However, if you have custom post types such as a portfolio, membership pages or WooCommerce products, the free version of the plugin will not scan these posts and you will have to opt for their paid version which starts at $144 per year for a single site.
I haven’t measured the performance impact yet and I don’t know how much database space it can take up depending on the number of entries and/or pages scanned, but the plugin allows you to delete all that data when you uninstall it(something that all plugins should have by law).
So when you have finished troubleshooting or want to continue at another time you can uninstall and delete it by checking this option first.
Even if you don’t have much of an idea I encourage you to try it, just reading the descriptions of these errors and the proposed solutions will help you to learn more about accessibility.