[theme-reviewers] Managing the Accessibility-Ready tag

Joe Dolson design at joedolson.com
Mon Jan 20 21:26:26 UTC 2014

I think it would be awesome if being accessibility-ready were to become
sufficient reason to go not-approved -- however, given the availability of
reviewers with the right skill set, I'm not sure that's practical right

I think that phasing the accessibility ready conditions in with an ultimate
goal of making them required might be reasonable. In that case, the goal
throughout would be to help reviewers develop the skill set to make those

It's absolutely true that many aspects of accessibility are subjective --
we've made the intentional goal of making the theme review requirements as
explicit as possible, so that most things are not as open to subjective
judgement as they could be.

Theme check, unfortunately, is pretty impractical for this. I did write a
set of theme check class extensions about a year ago (
but they were never picked up.

The problem there is that Theme Check checks the source code, not the
output -- in order to implement an effective theme check for accessibility,
we need to be processing the DOM, because that's the body of code that
actually interfaces with accessibility APIs.

I've thought about writing something for that -- but haven't had the time
for it.

Although in general terms it's impossible to fully automate an
accessibility check, it may actually be possible (or at least more
complete) when you're working with a predefined data set for the content of
the site. I'll have to think about that.


On Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 3:13 PM, Otto <otto at ottodestruct.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 2:38 PM, Joe Dolson <design at joedolson.com> wrote:
> > Any admin have a reason to think that should stay as is? The work flow
> > doesn't exist, so I don't think it's practical. The review needs to be
> done
> > at a point where the theme author can resubmit with accessibility fixes
> or
> > without the accessibility-ready tag, I think.
> Let's try it from another angle:
> - Should a theme having the accessibility-ready tag, but having some
> accessibility problems, be sufficient reason for not-approved, at this
> moment in time?
> In short, do we actually have enough reviewers capable of performing
> an accessibility review to make this a mandatory requirement? Do we
> have a document to teach people how to perform such a review? Do we
> have written standards? Better yet, can those standards be turned into
> objective tests that we can add to Theme-Check?
> The field of accessibility seems a bit subjective to me. I have read
> the documents and all the stuff at the make blog on the topic, and I
> still feel that I would not be qualified to determine what is
> "accessible" or not.
> We need some form of standards and people willing to review to those
> standards in order to make this sort of thing a "required" step.
> Otherwise we end up with people stuck in the queue forever because
> nobody's around to do the review for them.
> -Otto
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Joseph Dolson
Accessibility consultant & WordPress developer
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