I searched for truly accessible WordPress Themes ad nauseam.
I looked on Themes Forest.
I combed through Google’s first 10 pages for multiple different searches.
I looked at what themes other accessibility experts were using.
I sifted through WordPress using the WP-Accessibility tag.
I found a couple of decent themes but two big problems were this:
- The premium themes that claimed to be accessibility themes fell way short in terms of detail and providing any type of assurance. They glossed right over accessibility, said they took care of five or so WCAG bullet points and then moved on to other features. This was NOT good enough for me. Any theme I bought needed to be obsessed with accessibility, like each WCAG 2.0 AA success criterion needed to be fully addressed in detail.
- The other themes that actually did provide a good measure of out-of-the-box accessibility (funny enough they didn’t really even stress this), also didn’t harp on every last detail. For example, I saw a forum support post where someone brought up an accessibility issue and the theme creator said they’d look into it. Also, most of the free themes looked drab, they didn’t have a clean, professional look to them.
But besides these problems, I knew the market could really use another feature, something that guided you on accessibility as you created or posted content.
Because you can have an accessible theme but if you or your staff doesn’t know WCAG 2.0 AA, it’s very easy to create inaccessible content.
Maybe your heading structure is wrong.
Maybe you create a non-descriptive link.
Maybe you upload an image without alt text.
Maybe you don’t add a text transcript to your YouTube video embed.
Maybe you install a third party plugin that doesn’t meet WCAG 2.0 AA.
And so on.
As you can see, even with an accessible website, it’s very easy to run afoul of accessibility best practices in WCAG 2.0 AA and thereby become the recipient of an ADA Website Compliance demand letter or lawsuit.
Or, if you’re a governmental entity at the local, state, or federal level, you could easily be out of compliance with Section 508 (which had a refresh in 2017 that incorporates WCAG 2.0 AA).
With that backdrop, I set out to create the best WordPress theme for accessibility and launch it in 2020.
I teamed up with Zach Peyton, an expert web developer who knows code forwards and backwards, to create this theme so we could get it into the hands of people everywhere and prevent people from losing thousands of dollars to plaintiff’s law firms looking for a quick 4 or 5-figure settlement.
As someone who is obsessive about detail and 100% aware of how serious the legal consequences, I architected this theme to meet all of WCAG and thus be legally compliant (as interpreted from court decisions) out of the gates and Zach and I will be building on top of it with more add-ons and flexibility to give website owners the best experience possible.
Furthermore, as a huge practical benefit, Accessible Theme has 0 WAVE errors. The WAVE browser extension from WebAIM is an automated scan that plaintiff’s lawyers commonly use to cite inaccessibility and lay the framework for legal claims.
You can buy Accessible Theme for $199 now. In early 2020, the price will increase to $299. It comes with one year of FREE support and upgrades.