For WordPress Accessibility Day 2023, organizers have pre-recorded an “Ask Me Anything” session. One of the questions from that session is asking if we have a list of favorite plugins that can be used on WordPress websites that don’t add accessibility problems.
Why Creating a List of Recommended Plugins is Complicated
This is a complicated question in many ways because there are plugins that may have very accessible front-end output (or zero impact on the front-end output) but very in-accessible back ends. So the first thing you would need to know before assessing plugins for accessibility is whether you need it to be accessible on the front end or the front end and the back end.
The next thing that complicates this is that many WordPress plugins are accessible with specific configurations or settings enabled but not with other configurations. An example is the GTranslate plugin which can add controls for users to translate a website’s content to another language. This plugin works fine if you set the translation controls as a dropdown in the navigation menu, but it doesn’t work well if you use any other options (modal, etc.).
Furthermore, as things are constantly changing in WordPress, creating and maintaining a list of recommended plugins can be further complicated by plugin updates. What was accessible today may not be tomorrow and vice versa.
Beyond all of the above, there is also the sheer number of WordPress plugins available, which makes it hard for the accessibility team or others to review all the plugins out there. There may be some fabulous plugins that we have never heard of.
All of this is to say that the only true way to know if a plugin is accessible is to test it with an automated checker, keyboard navigation, and screen readers.
Plugins Active on the 2023 WordPress Accessibility Day Website
Because we don’t want to leave you with that roundabout answer and no concrete starting point, I’ll provide you with a peek behind the curtain of the WordPress Accessibility Day 2023 website. As of writing this post, these are the plugins currently active on that website:
- Accessibility Checker
- Accessibility Checker Pro
- Accessibility New Window Warnings
- Admin Columns Pro
- Block Visibility
- Classic Widgets
- Conference Schedule
- Content Control
- Display Posts
- Enable Contributor Uploads
- Entry Automation for Gravity Forms
- GP Limit Choices
- GP Populate Anything
- GP Preview Submission
- Gravity Forms
- Gravity Forms + Custom Post Types
- Gravity Forms Advanced Post Creation Add-On
- Gravity Forms Mailchimp Add-On
- Gravity Forms Stripe Add-On
- Gravity Forms User Registration Add-On
- Gravity Forms Zapier Add-On
- Gravity Forms Zero Spam
- Gravity Perks
- GravityWP – Merge Tags
- JSM Show Post Metadata
- Lock User Account
- Login Logo
- Login or Logout Menu Item
- Matomo Analytics – Ethical Stats. Powerful Insights.
- Public Post Preview
- Screen Reader Text Format
- Server-Side Cache AutoPurge
- Shared Counts
- Simple Social Icons
- SimpleTOC – Table of Contents Block
- SVG Support
- User Menus
- User Switching
- Widget Options
- WordPress Importer
- WP Accessibility
- WP Mail SMTP Pro
- Yoast SEO
Other Resources for Identifying Accessible Plugins
Another way to check the accessibility of a plugin is to search the support forum for that plugin on WordPress dot org for “accessibility.” You may see support threads that give you an insight into the accessibility of the plugin.
Finally, if you’re not sure, ask! Reach out to the plugin developer and ask them if they have considered accessibility in their plugin.
The accessibility team holds accessibility office hours in Make WordPress Slack every Wednesday at 14:00 UTC, so you can drop in and ask for thoughts or guidance in testing. The WordPress Accessibility Facebook group is also a great place to get assistance or feedback on a plugin.