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Using the Editoria11y WordPress checker

The University has made the Editoria11y accessibility checker available on most WordPress sites provided by IT. This page is an introduction to the tool and how you should use it.

What Editoria11y is

Think of it as an 'accessibility spell checker'; a simple way to make your site's content more compliant and help more people engage with the information you're sharing.

The name is a reference to the term 'a11y', which is often used as an abbreviation of 'accessibility'.

Why use it

It's the law for the University's websites to be accessible so they can be read and used by anyone, no matter if they have a disability or not.

Your site needs to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2 AA. Using Editoria11y is a really quick and easy way to do this without you having to learn all the WCAG rules.

How to use Editoria11y

It will show as a small, circular pop-up when you're logged into your WordPress site and viewing live pages or previewing draft pages. (It's also labelled as 'accessibility tools' when you hover over it or it's announced by a screen reader.)

When you click on it, it will tell you how many issues have been detected. Select 'First' and follow what it says.

You don't need any digital accessibility knowledge or experience to use it; it explains everything it flags up and tells you what you can do. It should only highlight things you can control, too.

If you're unsure of how to change the things it asks you to, try our Guidance pages that have step-by-steps on how to change things like heading levels, alt text, and tables.

How to see all issues in one place

  1. From the Dashboard area of your WordPress site, there's an 'Editoria11y' item in the menu.
  2. Select this and you'll get a screen that allows you view 'Issues by page', 'Issue type' and 'Recent dismissals'.
  3. Select 'Issue type' and a table will appear that shows the kind of issue and how many instances of that issue appear.
  4. Select an issue and you'll get to another screen that shows you where this issue can be found.

The one limitation is that issues only get added to this backend view when you've viewed or previewed the page while logged in to that site. Editoria11y won't proactively look through every page of your site for issues. It will only know they're there when you've looked at a page.

For example, you may have an image that needs alt text on one page. But if you haven't viewed that page while logged in after the Editoria11y was installed on your site, the missing alt text won't be listed as an issue.

If you want to work through all your site's issues one by one, rather than go page by page, a suggestion would be to log into your site and then visit each page, allowing the Editoria11y pop-up to show on each page before you navigate to the next one. Then go back into the Dashboard area and follow the previous steps.

Not seeing all issues via the dashboard?

Some colleagues have reported the area accessed via the dashboard that should display all issues is empty and doesn't show the problems the tool has flagged on their pages.

The developer has identified a bug that's causing this and is planning to address it during spring 2024.

In the mean time, please continue to work through your issues on page-by-page basis. Editoria11y is still working as expected in this way.

This guide will be updated when the issue has been resolved.

Frequently asked questions

Will it take a long time to do?

Probably just a few minutes per page. Most of your content will be compliant, and you'll soon get the hang of how to fix things. Using it will also teach you to avoid making the same mistakes when you next create a page, so eventually you might not need to use it at all as you'll only produce compliant content.

What happens if I don't do anything?

The first thing to consider is that people will struggle to use your website and view the information you want to share.

Second, the government conducts checks on public sector websites and may discover the issues and refer the University to the Equality and Human Rights Commission if things aren't appropriately fixed when asked.

Also, and perhaps more likely, an individual may request content be made accessible to them. If they don't feel that's done correctly, they may contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission with their case.

Equality and Human Rights Commission involvement can lead to legal action and/or a fine.

The easiest way to prevent any of this is to use the Editoria11y tool on your content.