Tips on How to Make WordPress Admin More Accessible to Screen Readers
By Geof Collis
February 19, 2011
I’ve been using WordPress now for almost 3 years, I’ve found it to be a fantastic piece of work and highly recommend it to anyone wanting to create a website, there are many Themes to choose from or if you have the skills you can create your own.
Most people might think WordPress is a Bloggin platform only but it is also a great Content Management System (CMS) as well and there are thousands of Plugins you can choose from to enhance your website and you dont need any real programming knowledge.
Over the years I’ve been asked how it works with Screen Readers, in my case JAWS that I’ve finally got around to compiling some tips that make it more accessible and I’ve listed them below.
Note: I wrote these tips as a JAWS screen reader user only, other Screen Readers may use different commands for the same function.
The very first thing to do after you’ve installed WordPress is to go to your “Profile” page, usually the 3rd link from the top or whatever Username you used to set up WordPress.
Once there you can either look for the check box ” Disable the visual editor when writing and select it or just hit your ‘F’ key and it should take you directly to the check box.
Scroll down near the bottom of the page and click on “Update Profile”
Posts and Pages
Next we make our way to “New Post”, should be 5th link from the top, after “LogOut” .
Once you’re there look for the link “Screen Options” or use your page find function (ctrl plus f) and type “Screen” and hit enter, once there hit enter to open the menu, tab down until you reach “Number of Columns” and select 1 column, continue tabbing until you hear “Screen Options” again hit enter to close the menu.
Next we use our links list dialogue menu function and find “Pages”, once there look for “Add New” or hit your ‘h’ key twice, it should take you directly the link then access it and follow the above directions as we did for Posts.
When you start feeling comfortable with WordPress you might want to begin using “Widgets”, in that case pull up your links list dialogue menu and look for “Appearance” click on it then bring up the menu again and then click on “Widgets”.
When you land on the page use your page find command and look for “Screen options” again select “Enable accessibility mode”.
Creating a Post or Page
Now that you’ve implemented the above settings it’s time to create a Post or Page.
We’ll start with a Post, the quick steps are the same for a Page:
Once the page loads hit your ‘F’ key, it should take you directly to the “Title” field and hit enter, type your Title then hit enter again when you’ve finished and you’ll be taken to the main body where you can either cut and paste your text from a text editor or type away, hitting enter anytime you want a new paragraph, WordPress recognizes it and codes it accordingly.
WordPress also recognizes HTML code such as hyperlinks, semantic markup etc so dont be afraid to use it, there are also keyboard commands if you’re feeling adventurous.
When you are finished hit alt p and the Post/Page will be published or you can Preview it in the “Publish” section first.
These are some of the Plugins I’ve tested and useed for various sites, I found them easy to use and accessible.
All in One SEO Pack
Automatically optimizes your WordPress blog for Search Engines (Search Engine Optimization).
The Exec-PHP plugin executes PHP code in posts, pages and text widgets.
Allows you to add an expiration date (hourly) to posts which you can configure to either delete the post or change it to a draft.
Post Teaser generates excerpts of posts for the main, archive and category pages, also generate a word count, image count, and estimated reading time.
This is highly customizable and is great if you have other Users Posting since you dont need to insert <!- -more- -> to break off the Post, you specify the number of characters.
Simple, concise stats with no additional load on your server by plugging into WordPress.com’s stat system.
An opt in mailing list that sends a list of subscribers an email notification when new posts are published to your blog
Popular Twitter plugin inserts “Tweet This” links so your readers can share
posts with one click. Automatically tweets new posts via OAuth.
This plugin allows you to add and edit a Heading for your Posts, Pages and Custom Post Types, different from the Title (which is used in the navigation links). Very useful if you use WordPress as a CMS and is good for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).