Accessibility in ClassicPress

Hi there!

My name is Marco. I am a blind developer, author, support person, accessibility advocate and a couple of other attributes mixed bag people like me tend to accumulate over the years.

I came here in search for a solution to an increasing problem blind authors are facing: The way WordPress is moving away from any form of good accessibility especially with the block editor. They now also announced that they’ll stop supporting the classic editor plugin by the end of 2021. Many of my blind author friends are afraid that they’ll no longer be able to publish efficiently and without major frustration from that point on. So I am trying to help them look for a solution.

A friend then pointed out ClassicPress to me. So here I am, investigating, checking things out. I had been a WordPress user for many years, but all that Gutenberg calamity finally drove me away from the platform.

My main question is: WordPress 4.9 had a couple of accessibility issues in the admin area, and only a few themes actually met the WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines. Has there been any room in the ClassicPress project to keep up with fixes to the WordPress “classic” admin area with regards to accessibility fixes, like color contrast adjustments, or the introduction of some of the other fixes like dedicated and properly accessible “Close” buttons for the toast notifications that appear after several actions? I know there were a number of fixes made to WP Core after 4.9. Would there be any interest, if not already done, to migrate this work to ClassicPress if possible?

Thanks for reading!

Marco

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Welcome to ClassicPress! We would absolutely welcome help in migrating any such improvements over to ClassicPress.

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Thank you so much! This is great to know. This is going to be a bigger project, since one would have to sift through the accessibility related changesets in each branch. Fortunately, most of them are labeled with something “accessibility” or “a11y” in them.

It would be helpful to know which exact changeset ClassicPress was forked from, and if that happened from trunk or the 4.9 branch. That way it would be easier to find which changes were included. For example, the last Accessibility changeset when viewing the timeline for the branches/4.9 branch is Changeset 43099. But this itself is a merge from the trunk change 42823. The oldest changeset appering on ClassicPress Backports is 43600, so I would think this is included in the history, but can I be sure? Some enlightening explanation would be cool. :-).

My initial testing, on a playground installation, however, does already look really awesome. Made this old WordPress blogger feel right at home again. <3

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Hi Marco, welcome from me also.

ClassicPress was forked from changeset 43575 which is on the 4.9 branch. This is tagged as LAST_WP_COMMIT in our git history: https://github.com/ClassicPress/ClassicPress/tree/LAST_WP_COMMIT

The changeset 43600 you saw on ClassicPress Backports is probably the next changeset on the 4.9 branch.

You can find a bit more information about the preferred way to backport changes from WP here: https://github.com/ClassicPress/ClassicPress/tree/LAST_WP_COMMIT This process was put in place with the goal of making it easier to track which changes we have already backported from WP, and there is a script that should make the backporting easier for people who are not as familiar with git (at least for changes that still apply cleanly).

We are in need of more contributors for both general development and accessibility so I would be very happy to chat with you about areas of improvement there.

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Hi James!

Thank you so much! I just found that script a moment earlier and went forward from oldest to newest in the 5.0 cycle and found two accessibility fixes I backported. Worked like a snap and I submitted pull requests for these. These improve the markup, and therefore either screen reader accessibility, keyboard navigation, or both, in the admin backend. I am leaving out any changes right now that apply to specific WP themes. ClassicPress rolls its own, so a separate audit of those would be needed. But the backend accessibility fixes the WP accessibility team has developed over the years can benefit ClassicPress just as well. I am still part of that team even though I no longer use WP actively.

I would also like to chat about the accessibility of ClassicPress. Unfrotunately, the Slack instance only seems to like @classicpress.net e-mail addresses, which I obviously don’t have. So I could not yet sign up for that.

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Looks like our Slack invite link expired and we needed to put in a new one - https://www.classicpress.net/join-slack/ should work again now.

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Yep, this worked, so we can continue the discussion there and not bore people with the nitty-gritty details here. :wink:

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