You can imagine my surprise when I sat down to work on a blog post, went to my WordPress dashboard and there were updates. Well, that it needed updates was not the part that surprised me (it always needs updating!), it was that, once done, the new WordPress, Version 5.6.1, seems to be completely focused on Accessibility!
WordPress Version 5.6.1 and Accessibility
Let’s take a look at the areas of access that WordPress is spotlighting and changing:
In This Post You Will Find:
Subtitles or video captions can now be uploaded to your videos from WITHIN your post or page. This is to make it easier to make all of your videos accessible to those of us who need or prefer to have videos with captions.
This option is for those who use Gutenberg Editor, the native editor for WordPress.
New Default Theme: Twenty Twenty-One Focuses on Accessibility
…this default theme puts accessibility at the heart of your website. It conforms to the WordPress accessibility-ready guidelines and addresses several more specialized standards from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 at level AAA. It will help you meet the highest level of international accessibility standards when you create accessible content and choose plugins which are accessible too!
Twenty Twenty One also gives you a range of pastel color palettes, all of which meet AAA standards for contrast.
Accessibility Statement Template
I think it’s kind of amazing that WordPress Version 5.6.1 is including an Accessibility Statement Template, which is designed to (as WordPress says) “start letting folks know about your site’s commitment to accessibility at the click of a button!” The new feature plugin includes template copy for you to update and publish, and it’s written to support different contexts and jurisdictions.
Check the Field Guide for more!
Check out the latest version of the WordPress Field Guide. It highlights developer notes for each change you may want to be aware of. WordPress 5.6 Field Guide.
All in all, I’m really, REALLY impressed, and definitely feel that pump of inclusion.
Those of you who use the WordPress native themes, or who use WordPress Gutenberg Editor are going to be the ones who most benefit from these updates, but it’s still cool that WordPress is as a whole is shifting it’s gaze to Accessibility and making that an area of focus.
Also, for those of you who are not blogging (either you never have or you let your blog go dormant), this would be a pretty great time to jump in, using these free, accessible tools from this version of WordPress. Check out my guide to blogging (with a focus on blogging when you have a disability) here: https://www.meriahnichols.com/website-development/
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.