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Go "Accessibility Ready" with Your CU Blog Service Theme

Related services: Blogs

As stated on Cornell's Accessibility Information website, "Cornell is committed to diversity and inclusiveness, with the goal of providing an accessible, usable and welcoming environment to all. Accessibility should be an integral part of any web project."

Ultimately, all web content should conform to W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA, and there are accessibility tools you can use to help get to that level. In the CU Blog Service, one component is making sure you're using an accessibility-ready theme.

Accessibility-ready themes meet certain requirements set by the theme review team for WordPress (the content management platform that powers the Blog Service). There are components that make themes easier to navigate for people who use screen readers, navigation using the keyboard, voice recognition, alternate input devices, or who are colorblind or have cognitive impairments. These include:

  • Keyboard navigation
  • Controls
  • Skip links
  • Form requirements
  • Headings
  • ARIA landmark roles
  • Content links
  • Avoidance of repetitive link text
  • Contrast
  • Image handling and tagging
  • No autostart or change for media

Using an accessibility-ready theme doesn't guarantee that your entire site meets WCAG guidelines, since it only encompasses the components provided by the theme, not the content you enter into the site. It does mean though, that these essential components for site navigation and orientation work, allowing you to focus your attention on the content you add.

Currently, 89 accessibility-ready themes are available through the Blog Service, including the Cornell-branded theme. The 2017 University Branded Theme appears first when you are signed into the dashboard for the blog and select Appearance from the left-hand menu. To see the other choices, click the Accessibility Ready tab. There is an option to try a Live Preview of themes, so you can see how the content on your site would work with a theme before making a decision. 

In line with university commitment to accessibility, beginning May 30, 2018, themes that don’t meet WordPress's accessibility ready standards will no longer be available as choices for new blog sites. Non accessibility-ready templates that have already been applied to sites will continue to work, but in order to ensure your site is available to all, please start choosing an accessible theme as soon as you can.

If you have questions, please contact

Note: Cornell will be hosting a Web Accessibility Camp August 6-8, 2018. Registration and the schedule will be released later in May, watch IT News for updates!

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