CampusPress Releases Accessible Content Plugin in Time for Global Accessibility Awareness Day
While it is still Wednesday here in the U.S., some parts of the world are already awakening to the third Thursday in May, which is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of the event is to get more people discussing, learning, and addressing issues related to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the digital world. That is what CampusPress hopes to do with its new plugin. The CampusPress team announced its Accessible Content plugin for WordPress last week. The goal of the plugin is to help end-users address accessibility issues on their sites. Many tools are built for developers and designers, but the team wanted something to put into the hands of users to allow them to take the extra steps necessary in creating an accessible website. The plugin is currently available through GitHub, but the team plans to submit it to the official WordPress plugin repository soon. The developers are gathering user feedback from customers and the community first. “Our Accessible Content plugin was developed specifically to help with training and putting real-time information into the hands of those creating WordPress pages and posts,” said Ronnie Burt, General Manager at CampusPress. “There are a ton of site checker tools out there, and many work quite well. But all of them will spit out false positives and list issues on a page that have nothing to do with the content (navigation issues and the like). So as a bit of a disclaimer, by design, this plugin will not find or help with all potential accessibility issues on a site. But if used over time, it will help train content creators to understand many of the best practices that they should be following and avoid mistakes.” CampusPress is a managed WordPress hosting and service provider for organizations in the educational sector. It is a sister service to Edublogs.org, which originally launched 15 years ago. “In that time, we’ve been quietly catering to the unique needs of schools and universities that use WordPress in various ways,” said Burt. “Historically, that was more on the blogging and learning side, but as WordPress has grown into the CMS of choice, we’ve moved along with it to high-level main websites too.” Development of the Accessible Content plugin will help the CampusPress team’s customers in education, particularly when diving into the world of accessibility guidelines. “Overall, awareness around accessibility has improved considerably in recent years, but for many, the topic is overwhelming,” said Burt. “In our case, school administrators know they need a ‘compliant’ site, but when you go to read the compliance standards, some are subjective and, at best, really complex. The biggest hurdle that we see is that we are still in a place where accessibility expertise is left up to specialists or tools that are usually brought in after the fact or at the end of a project. In an ideal world, we’ll get to where the expertise is shared by all developers, content creators, and anyone else working on the site. This is because accessibility is so much better and easier when it is built-in and thought about from the beginning and continuously.” The team is releasing this plugin not only to its customer base but as a free tool for all WordPress users. How the Plugin Works The plugin is simple enough for most people to use. When previewing a post, it labels and points out issues that need attention. The goal is not to focus on larger accessibility issues that may be coming from the theme. » Read More
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