The Call for Speakers for WordPress Accessibility Day 2024 is Open!

This year, I’ve joined the organising committee for WordPress Accessibility Day as an Asia-Pacific liaison.

The idea of the event is to host 24 online talks related to WordPress and accessibility in a 24 hour period: one every hour. That means some of them will be in the middle of the night for the US organisers, so they bring people like me on board to a) encourage speakers during our daylight hours and b) help make sure everything runs smoothly at that time.

Given I’ve been both a career-long advocate for web accessibility and an ardent fan of WordPress pretty much since it was released in 2003, this seemed like an obvious step for me to take.

My first website in 1994 was hand written in standards-based HTML, with almost no styling. I started using CSS in 1997, which made my work look a lot better, about the same time I started using JavaScript to add more functionality than just hyperlinks.

In 1998, a friend told me about this marvellous scripting langauge called PHP, which let me store content and functionality in chunks on a web server and serve it up securely to a site visitor’s computer. It was a bit fiddly to write, but very effective.

And then in 2003, along came WordPress and changed everything. Not only did it use PHP so my websites’ working parts could be password protected, but the management system introduced me to dividing content into relatively static pages and more dynamic posts, the latter lifting online diaries and news pages, or weblogs, into a blogging revolution.

The notion of themes that come pre-populated with styling and functionality that often needs little or no tweaking is great for many, but I’ve always liked using very plain themes that I can customise so they don’t look or work like anyone else’s website.

For the past 21 years, most of the 200+ websites I’ve built have been on the WordPress platform, even when many of them didn’t have a blogging component. Even relatively static sites were – and still are – easier to design, develop and populate with WordPress than without.

I’ve used other content management systems when clients needed me to, like Drupal and Joomla, and I still hand tool the occasional site with just HTML, or use a site editor like Dreamweaver. But if I have a choice, I use WordPress.

When it comes to accessibility, WordPress is what you make of it. True, it could have more built in, but the critical thing is it doesn’t stop you implementing your own accessibility strategies, especially if you’re happy to tinker.

Lately, accessibility-friendly themes have become available as well as plugins to check and remediate accessibility problems.

The truth is, though, accessibility is something you as a designer, developer and/or content author have to pay attention to – no-one’s going to do all the work for you, in WordPress or anything else.

So, it will interesting to see what talks will be delivered for WordPress Accessibility Day 2024 – I’m sure there will be some revelations, as there were last year.

I encourage you to consider giving a talk at this year’s event – you’ll find everything you need to know at Speaking at WP Accessibility Day.

And you can always contact me by email or on LinkedIn if you want to have a quiet chat about it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *