Is your WordPress site accessible to people with disabilities?
If you don’t know the answer, or if you’re looking for a tool to meet your requirements, keep reading our Accessibility Checker magazine.
Accessibility Checker is a free plugin that helps content managers and developers test the accessibility and WCAG compliance of WordPress sites.
Specifically, it’s a WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool) alternative to WordPress that offers both WordPress-specific rules and dashboard integration, so you can easily evaluate the accessibility of specific content without leaving your WordPress dashboard.
More importantly, the plugin can also give you suggestions on how to fix the problems it finds, providing an action tool to not only understand but improve the accessibility of your website.
In our practical test of the Accessibility Checker plugin, we’ll tell you more about what this plugin does and show you how it works on our own test site.
Availability Check Overview: List of functions
Accessibility Checker comes from Equalize Digital, a team that specializes in creating accessible WordPress websites and is a member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals.
The plugin automatically checks all content on your website for over 40 different checks to meet the success criteria of WCAG 2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).
It shows potential problems at the page level and gives you suggestions for solving them.
It also includes a readability analysis (including a Flush Kincaid classification level analysis) and can automatically insert a simplified summary to comply with WCAG Pass criterion 3.1.5.
Other features include:
- Ability to ignore irrelevant alerts to simplify your suggestions. You can also add notes when you ignore an issue.
- Support for additional custom message types, WooCommerce and advanced custom fields (in Pro version).
- Ability to manage who can ignore warnings and log issues that are ignored (Pro)
Note – The accessibility check does not automatically make your website more accessible (because that’s almost impossible, although some tools claim it does). Instead, it gives you the knowledge to find problems and make your site more accessible – you still have to implement the suggestions manually.
Pointer with access control
Let’s start with the accessibility check and I’ll show you how it works on my own test site.
For reference, I use Accessibility Checker Pro, although many of the features you’ll see (including scanning features) are also available in the free version.
When you activate the accessibility check for the first time, it starts an analysis of all the content on your website. You can re-run this scan at any time in the future and you also have the option to set an automatic scanning schedule (weekly or monthly):
Once the scan is complete, you can see a basic overview of the availability of each content area in the list of publications/pages:
When you open the content editor, you can see all the details in the new Accessibility Checker meta window below the content editor, which is divided into three tabs.
The first tab gives you a basic overview – you can quickly see errors and warnings and evaluate the readability of the content:
If you go to the Details tab, you will see a detailed breakdown of all tasks, divided into categories :
When you expand a category, you will see some problem areas:
Sometimes you don’t know why something is wrong (or how to fix it), and that’s where detailed documentation comes in. Clicking on the information icon next to an item (highlighted above) will open a detailed documentation page for that item.
Honestly, even if these documentation pages aren’t technically part of the plugin, I think they’re a big part of what makes Accessibility Checker valuable. They explain not only what the problem means, but also what you need to do to fix it:
You also have the option to ignore errors/warnings, which will hide them in your to-do list (which will clear your to-do list). If you ignore an item, you can also add a comment to help you remember why you hid it:
You can also stop ignoring a particular problem at any point in the future:
Mention of readability and adaptation of the simplified summary report
Finally, the Readability tab saves the readability settings for each content.
First of all, you can consult the analysis of the quality level of the content of Flesch Kincaid. From grade nine onwards, you need to add a simplified CV to comply with WCAG, which the tool will help you do:
By default, the summary is inserted after the main content, but you can also configure it in the plugin settings to be inserted above the content or manually.
And that’s it for the meta box in the editor. Let’s take a look at the other areas of the plugin.
Using the Open Points tab
In the free version you can only view the questions per content. However, if you have the Pro version, you also get a centralized interface for managing situation queries by going to Access Auditors → Open Issues.
You also have filtering options by message type, usage type, and so on.
Use of Ignorance Protocol
In the Premium version you can also view a central log of all ignored issues. The free version already lets you ignore problems and leave comments – you just need the Pro version to see the log (and determine which user roles can ignore problems):
Exploring the setting range
Finally, there is a control panel that allows you to control certain aspects of the behavior. You can:
- Select the types of messages to be scanned
- Managing the role of users who may not be aware of accessibility issues
- Adaptation of the simplified consolidated requirements
- Adding a statement of availability in the footer
And that’s it in terms of plugin possibilities!
Availability Check Price
Accessibility Checker is available as a free version on WordPress.org and as a premium version.
The free version includes most of the scanning features I showed you in the section above. However, you must purchase the Pro version if you want access to the following features:
- Supports scanning of custom message types
- WooCommerce support and advanced custom fields
- A centralized list of open questions to quickly view all open questions on your website.
- View the log of all ignored items.
- Restriction that users can ignore accessibility features
- A draft accessibility statement that you can place on your website.
- Rename the simplified summary to its own name.
Paid plans start at $149 for use of a single site. For a limited time, you can get a 50% discount on any plan as part of the early registration discount (but this discount may have expired by the time you read this review):
Note that these are fixed prices for testing an unlimited number of pages. There is no page cost to get used to some API-based accessibility testing tools.
Accessibility Final Test Ideas
Creating accessible websites is important for everyone, but it is especially important for the websites of serious businesses. This is important not only for legal reasons, but also because you want to make sure that all visitors to your site have a good experience.
The accessibility check gives you the knowledge you need to understand where your website stands on accessibility.
If you’re not already focused on accessibility, it can give you the tools and suggestions you need to improve the accessibility of your website. And even if you already think you’re compliant, the plugin can still be useful for making sure you’re compliant with any new content you produce.
Aside from the features, I was generally impressed with the plugin. It is well designed and I found the interface very intuitive and the suggestions useful. Extensive documentation is also available if you need help.
The free version alone should be very useful, and it’s a great option to see how useful the plugin is. Then, if you want more control over your website and log issues, consider upgrading to the Premium version.
The Ignorance Protocol allows you to avoid false alarms, so you can focus only on the things that really matter. In addition, the premium version is a must for personalized content sites or e-commerce stores because you need it for personalized message type analysis, WooCommerce and advanced custom fields.
Click on the buttons below to get started:
Get a free version Get Accessibility Check Pro
Do you have questions about the accessibility check? Ask us in the comments!
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