General

Accessibility

Accessibility on the web can mean a lot of things. But in general, it means making websites as inclusive to as many users as possible. This includes visually-impaired people who rely on assistive technology to navigate the web, mobile users, and even search engines.

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We handle accessibility of WordPress.com in two simple ways.

First, we follow web design standards and best practices. This means when we build new features and new themes, we are building on a good foundation for making our system and your site accessible.

Second, we address specific concerns. As web technologies change and browsers strive to keep up, it is near impossible to achieve 100% accessibility. If you run into an accessibility problem feel free to contact us. We examine these problems on a case-by-case basis and fix them if possible and appropriate.


Mobile Accessibility

We provide a level of accessibility to users of mobile devices by offering mobile-optimized themes. And you can access your own blog on the go with the mobile version of WordPress.com or the WordPress app, available for smartphones and tablet devices.


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Improve Accessibility on your Site

When creating your pages and posts, keep these points in mind to ensure your website is accessible:

Write Descriptive Image Captions

When you insert an image into a post or page, consider providing a rich description for the caption that will improve the reading experience for everyone, but especially folks who can’t see the image.

Be creative. Instead of “My son on his swing,” try “My son is playing on his favorite swing. His face is filled with pure joy on a beautiful Spring day. Perfection.” The goal here is to convey the feeling of the image.

Use Alt Text on Images
Image Block Alt Text Setting

The Alt Text helps visually-impaired users of screen readers because it is a textual description of what is in the image. The alt text is also read by search engine crawlers.

You can write Alt Text for an image in the settings of the Image block.

Whether you are linking to your own blog or another site, it helps to be descriptive in the linked text. For example, “Click here” is not as explanatory as “Contact me.”

Display Your Site Title and Tagline

Instead of conveying your site title and tagline solely within a logo or header image, display your site title and tagline as text as well. Go to Design → CustomizeSite Identity,and check the box next to Display Site Title and Tagline.

Display site title and tagline
Use Appropriate Headings

Add headings with the Heading Block to organize pages and posts and make it easier for readers to follow your content, which is especially important for longer pages and posts. Click on the “i” icon in the top toolbar of the editor to view any errors and incorrect heading sizes:

Image showing the information tool that highlights incorrect heading sizes.
The information tool lets highlights incorrect heading sizes

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Choose Fonts and Colors Wisely

Fonts and colors are essential components on your site, adding personality and style and strengthening your visual identity online. Avoid font styles and sizes and color palettes that make your site difficult to read, and pay attention to contrast, or the difference between the darkness of your text and the lightness of your background.

The editor will display an error message in Color settings when it detects poor color contrast in the specific block you’re working on:

Alert that appears for poorly contrasting color combinations
The editor will alert you if you choose poorly contrasting colors

Find more great accessibility tips on the WordPress.com blog.


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Accessible Themes

WordPress.com seeks to ensure that all of our themes are accessible, however some themes have additional features that add complexity to the site and could make it harder for users who use screen readers and users with disabilities to access all content.

You can find themes that have been tested for accessibility here: Accessibility Ready Themes.

If you are unsure which theme to use for an accessible site, we recommend Twenty Twenty as a beautiful, full-featured theme that is fully accessible.


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Accessibility Guidelines

Some organizations operate with specific rules for accessibility, such as the US Government, whose sites follow the Section 508 Accessibility Guidelines.

WordPress.com cannot ensure a site is fully compliant with these guidelines, since they include both the structure of the pages and the content that users add to their pages.

You can test specific themes for compliance with these guidelines using a tool such as the WAVE Web Accessibility tool. For sites that require 100% compliance, we recommend testing your theme of choice using the demo page for the theme, for example Twenty Twenty. We also recommend using Header Text (displaying the Site Title), rather than a Header Image, as some WordPress.com themes will not provide AltText and therefore generate an error in the accessibility tool when a Header Image is set.

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