The Year of the WordPress Accessibility Team

This year has seen a lot of positive change in the WordPress contributor community, especially in the area of accessibility.

Take for instance, the appearance this year of two new faces on the credits screen as of WordPress 4.3:

Andrea Fercia and Rian Rietveld as recent rockstars on the WordPress 4.3 credits page
Andrea Fercia makes his second appearance and Rian Rietveld her first on the WordPress 4.3 credits screen.

Andrea Fercia (@afercia) has made serious waves during the WordPress 4.2 and 4.3 cycles as an accessibility team liaison to the core team. In his time contributing to WordPress, he’s injected a considerable amount of valuable feedback and experience – in addition to development chops – to helping make WordPress accessible all-around. I’m excited to see how WordPress will change for the better with Andrea leading the charge.

Rian Rietveld (@rianrietveld) more recently has taken a leadership role in helping to wrangle an accessibility testing team that has already pointed out some pretty big problems with both new and existing core features. We only benefit from having more people examining these experiences, and the accessibility testing team is worth their weight in gold on that front.

Of course, we can’t forget the contributions of accessibility team member Joe Dolson (@joedolson) either, seeing as he was featured as a recent rockstar in WordPress 4.0, 4.1, and 4.2. Joe has been a valued contributor for a long time and I look forward to seeing what he’s working on next.

I think as we progress in further asserting accessibility in WordPress as a priority, we’ll see even more new faces make appearances in future releases. It’s a testament to the quality of work coming out of this team that makes, for me, 2015 the year of accessibility in WordPress.

If you’re interested in getting involved with the accessibility team, check out the accessibility site on the “Make” network, or drop into the #accessibility channel on Slack and say hello. They meet weekly on Mondays at 18:00 UTC.

My WordCamp Europe 2015 talk is on WordPress TV

Here’s the talk description:

Once you’ve installed WordPress, what now? For new users, that’s just one of a multitude of inevitable questions. What’s a post? A page? A theme? Where should I start first? In a short attention-span world, first impressions are everything, and WordPress is making it harder than it needs to be for new users.

There’s a case to be made for helping to guide users through the process of post-install set up. In fact, there’s user testing data that makes the case for us.

The goal of this talk is to examine that test data – taken against existing and potential wp-admin flows – and form conclusions about how WordPress can get out of its own way to improve the new user experience. We’ll talk about solutions that exist in the community right now, and opportunities to get involved in reshaping WordPress’ first impressions.

I’ve adopted the WP Hide Dashboard plugin

I adopted a plugin this week. WP Hide Dashboard.

Normally when somebody adopts a plugin it’s because the original maintainer doesn’t have the time, or just doesn’t feel like pursing it anymore.

Unfortunately for everyone, the reason I’ve adopted this plugin is because the author — a dear friend of mine — Kim Parsell passed away a couple of weeks ago.

I wanted to make sure that the plugin she took so much pride in having written didn’t fall by the wayside in her absence. So, the good news is, I’m not planning drastically change the plugin — outside of changes she’d previously expressed to me but didn’t have the time to implement.

I made the changes and tested against the latest stable version of WordPress. I think it’s going to be pretty light-touch going forward.