Accessibility and WordPress Gutenberg

What is WordPress Project Gutenberg?

Gutenberg is more than an editor. While the editor is the focus right now, the project will ultimately impact the entire publishing experience including customization (the next focus area). Gutenberg looks at the editor as more than a content field, revisiting a layout that has been largely unchanged for almost a decade. This allows us to holistically design a modern editing experience and build a foundation for things to come.

Here is the link to get more information on the Gutenberg plugin.

WordPress logos on blue background.

Accessibility in Gutenberg

There is an accessibility team which provides accessibility expertise across WordPress to improve the accessibility of WordPress core and resources. The WordPress Accessibility Coding Standards states that all new or updated code released in WordPress must conform to the WCAG 2.0 guidelines at level AA. This is a good standard and an industry best practice.

However, this standard does not seem to be followed within Gutenberg. How accessible is Gutenberg in its current state (version 2.4)? The internal WordPress Accessibility team set up a list of minimum requirement, did code reviews and research, gave recommendations and set up user tests. Here is their short answer –

  • Gutenberg still needs extensive work to meet basic standards, like keyboard accessibility and semantics.
  • Especially for screen reader users, Gutenberg as it stands right now is a dramatic step back in usability.
  • There is a need to write a manual/documentation for assistive technology users.

The article Accessibility in Gutenberg – state of play written by Rian Rietveld focuses on the current state of Gutenberg accessibility.


Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web says the power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone, regardless of disability, is an essential aspect.

The Web is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, location, or ability. When the Web meets this goal, it is accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive ability.

The impact of disability is radically changed on the Web because the Web removes barriers to communication and interaction which many people face in the physical world. However, when web sites, applications, technologies, or tools are badly designed, they can create barriers that exclude people from using the Web.

Accessibility is essential for developers and organizations that want to create high quality websites and web tools, and not exclude people from using their products and services.

There are problems the accessibility team encountered as they tried to make the Gutenberg editor experience more accessible. The accessibility team lead of WordPress has resigned. The code base of Gutenberg is difficult to modify because no one in the WordPress accessibility team is a skilled React developer. So it was hard to implement changes. A lot of accessibility work has been done by the Gutenberg team but major issues still exist.

Another problem is that there was no React developer with accessibility experience in the community, and no React accessibility experts from outside the community were willing to work on the issues for free.

Rian Rietveld’s post – I have resigned as the WordPress accessibility team lead. Here is why explains more about some of the problems regarding accessibility.

Brad Frost provided another article about the accessibility in WordPress and why the WordPress accessibility team resigned.

Accessibility in Websites should be a core requirement

Since WordPress powers a significant number of websites (32% according to this WordPress statistics site), WordPress should be a leader with established best practices and web standards. Certainly, one can still use the classic editor (as a plugin) once Gutenberg is released, but that is only a temporary work around. How long will this classic editor survive? For those who need a refresher on accessibility, we offer the following resources/ reminders.

Project Gutenberg is scheduled for release on November 19. As a professional organization, we are very concerned that significant accessibility problems remain just before the official launch. We have been a proponent of web standards (including accessibility) for over 2 decades and find this approach troubling. We understand the need to improve WordPress to remain competitive in the marketplace. However, this should not be achieved with a loss of accessibility in the process. Since this project is a foundation for future enhancements to WordPress, accessibility issues must be addressed (and addressed soon).

What are your thoughts about Project Gutenberg and accessibility? We look forward to your comments.



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January WordPress update

As a web professional, you are likely aware that WordPress is used as the principle technology for over 25% of the top 10 million websites (actually now 29% based on the December WordCamp US State of the Word 2017). To better understand the reach of this technology – in the above mentioned State of the Word presentation, it was mentioned there are now over 47,000 plugins and said plugins have been downloaded over 633 million times.

WordPress update

Version 5 coming (Project Gutenberg)

We have recently learned that the next major update (version 5.0) will be based on Project Gutenberg.  We understand this will be the most extensive update since version 2.0 of WordPress. As a web professional, it is important you understand the implications of this upgrade (and the potential effects with your clients). These include:

  • the default editor is changing from the current TinyMCE editor (and changing significantly). If your clients are editing their own content, you need to either train them on the new editor or make certain you use the classic editor plugin (you might want to try both out to better understand the changes). Note this is beta software at the time of this writing so you do not want to install this on any production WordPress sites.
  • although you can presently test Project Gutenberg, it is presently available as a plugin (meaning you may not be able to fully test your current themes and plugins at the moment).
  • the new focus will be on conceptual editing (similar to what you may have experienced with LinkedIn Pulse or similar approaches).
  • the focus is on “identifying and adding meaning to content using blocks and block contests.” See below for what this means.

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Top 7 Popular WordPress Plugins for Successful Blogging

The following article was written by Helen Miller. Helen Miller is a freelance author who is always inspired to write on web-design and web-development up-to-date subjects. Helen has a great interest in IT sphere and always has fresh ideas to share. She also cooperates with TemplateMonster.com. If you want to be aware of the latest tendencies in web-design follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

If you are reading this article, you might already have your own blog. In case you are only thinking of launching the one, you can browse WordPress blog themes developed by TemplateMonster and choose one that fits your style.

Running a blog is relatively simple, there are millions of the existing resources out there, but making your blog really popular is rather challenging.


We believe that the best way to run a successful blog is:

  • To write high quality posts that people like. Choose a niche you are interested/expert in and help people solve their problems.
  • To engage your audience on social media and respond to their queries.
  • To answer your audience questions in the comments section.
  • To connect with other bloggers, try guest posting.
  • To invest in your blog design like a good theme.
  • To grow your subscriber list by using social media.
  • To submit your blog to search engines, the likes of Google, Yahoo, Bing.

We can continue this list with many more items, but the topic of the blog post suggests that Top 7 Popular WordPress Plugins for Successful Blogging must follow. So, here they are, hope they will help.

P.S. Please check out this link that will be useful if you are serious about your decision to become a famous blogger. 10 Ways to Earn Money and Become Rich on the Internet – this is a free eBook highlighting the following aspects: The Launch of Your Own Online Business, Money Making Practices That Require Your Skills, Participation in Online Projects.

Yoast SEO


WordPress is technically quite a good platform for SEO right out of the box. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve it further. This plugin is written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at Yoast to improve your site’s SEO on all the required aspects. But that’s not all; while this Yoast SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, more on that below, it first and foremost helps you write better content. Yoast SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.

W3 Total Cache


W3 Total Cache improves the SEO and user experience of your site by increasing website performance, reducing download time via the integrated features like content delivery network (CDN).

The only web host agnostic WordPress Performance Optimization (WPO) framework recommended by countless web developers and web hosts. Trusted by numerous companies like: AT&T, stevesouders.com, mattcutts.com, mashable.com, smashingmagazine.com, makeuseof.com, kiss925.com, pearsonified.com, lockergnome.com, johnchow.com, ilovetypography.com, webdesignerdepot.com, css-tricks.com and tens of thousands of others.



Akismet checks your comments and contact form submissions against the global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content. You can review the comment spam it catches on your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.

Major features in Akismet include:

  • Automatically checks all comments and filters out the ones that look like spam.
  • Each comment has a status history, so you can easily see which comments were caught or cleared by Akismet and which were spammed or unspammed by a moderator.
  • URLs are shown in the comment body to reveal hidden or misleading links.
  • Moderators can see the number of approved comments for each user.
  • A discard feature that outright blocks the worst spam, saving you disk space and speeding up your site.

Jetpack by WordPress.com


Jetpack keeps any WordPress site secure, helps to increase traffic, and engage your readers.

Traffic and SEO tools Jetpack includes: Site stats and analytics, Automatic sharing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Reddit, and WhatsApp, Related posts, Search engine optimization tools for Google, Bing, Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress.com

Stop worrying about data loss, downtime, and hacking. Jetpack provides: Brute force attack protection, Downtime and uptime monitoring, Secured logins and two-factor authentication.

Add rich, beautifully-presented media — no graphic design expertise necessary: A high-speed CDN for your images, Carousels, slideshows, and tiled galleries, Simple embeds from YouTube, Google Documents, Spotify and more, Sidebar customization including Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds, Extra sidebar widgets including blog stats, calendar, and author widgets.

Create a connection with your readers and keep them coming back to your site with: Email subscriptions, Comment login with Facebook, Twitter, and Google, Fully-customizable contact forms, Infinite scroll for your posts.

The plugin has an entire team of Happiness Engineers ready to help you. Ask your questions in the support forum, or contact them directly.

Fast Secure Contact Form

Fast Secure Contact Form

Easily create and add forms to WordPress. Fields are easy to add, remove, and re-order. The contact form will let the user send emails to a site’s admin, and also send a meeting request to talk over phone or video.

Features: easy form edit, multiple forms, confirmation emails, no templates to mess with, and an option to redirect visitors to any URL after the message is sent. Includes Google reCAPTCHA and Akismet support to block spammers. Spam is no longer a problem. You can add extra fields of any type: text, textarea, checkbox, checkbox-multiple, radio, select, select-multiple, attachment, date, time, hidden, password, and fieldset.

Google Analytics by Yoast

Google Analytics by Yoast

You shouldn’t hire a developer to add Google Analytics to your website with MonsterInsights, a complete Google Analytics for WordPress plugin that’s EASY and POWERFUL.

MonsterInsights allow you to connect your WordPress website with Google Analytics, so you can see how visitors find and use your website, so you can keep them coming back. Simply put, the plugin will show you the stats that matter.
With almost 15 million downloads, MonsterInsights is the most popular Google Analytics plugin for WordPress.

At MonsterInsights, user experience is #1 priority. That’s why it was made to be extremely easy to connect and view your Google Analytics reports from inside your WordPress dashboard. Its tracking settings and workflows make MonsterInsights the most beginner friendly Google analytics plugin in the market.


Redirection plugin

Redirection is a WordPress plugin to manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have. This is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website, or are changing the directory of your WordPress installation.

New features include: 404 error monitoring – captures a log of 404 errors and allows you to easily map these to 301 redirects, Custom ‘pass-through’ redirections allowing you to pass a URL through to another page, file, or website. Full logs for all redirected URLs, All URLs can be redirected, not just ones that don’t exist, Redirection methods – redirect based upon login status, redirect to random pages, redirect based upon the referrer.

Existing features include: Automatically add a 301 redirection when a post’s URL changes, Manually add 301, 302, and 307 redirections for a WordPress post, or for any other file, Full regular expression support, Apache .htaccess is not required – works entirely inside WordPress, Redirect index.php, index.html, and index.htm access, Redirection statistics telling you how many times a redirection has occurred, when it last happened, who tried to do it, and where they found your URL, Fully localized.

Do you consider this brief compilation of Top 7 Popular WordPress Plugins for Successful Blogging useful? Are you going to install any of them on your blog? Did you already try out any of the above plugins. Please drop us a line at the comments section. Your feedback is highly appreciated.

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Quickie: A scriptless, imageless, no-third party code Twitter share button for WordPress

Pestered by my colleague Jason Weathersby (“you should have a share button on your blog, I don’t want to copy and paste the title and the URL”) I just added a “share on Twitter” button at the end of all my posts here on the blog. I looked at a few plugins and the official buttons and was not impressed as they all meant a lot of external JS and CSS and HTTP requests. That is not needed. So here is a Twitter Share button without any extra resources from the outside.

JS Bin

It is simple enough:

  • The structure of a “share on Twitter” URL is http://twitter.com/share?url={url to share}&text={text to share}&via={twitter name}
  • In WordPress you get the title of the current post in PHP with the_title() and the permalink of the post with the_permalink()
  • Put them together and you are done:
<p class="tweetthis">
  <a href="http://twitter.com/share
           ?url=<?php the_permalink();?>
           &text=<?php the_title();?>
           &via={your twitter name}" target="_blank">
    share on twitter

Add some styling and we’re in the business. Want to add more sharing buttons without JS? Toby Osbourne has a good post on more URL structures of social sites.

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