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Hope all is well.
In recent months the topic of website accessibility for persons with disabilities has been a hot topic on one of the community sites I visit. Specifically, the website changed its design which resulted in physiological and neurological harm for certain visitors, and it was also revealed that the new design was not accessible to screen readers and the like. There has since been a lot of drama about it. (If you’re curious, Google “Ravelry accessibility” to get a boatload of articles and threads.)
Accessibility is an important issue and my understanding now is that it’s a high priority for web designers these days. All this got me wondering whether your themes, and Blackoot in particular (because it is a dark theme), have been tested for accessibility. Is Blackoot ADA compliant? Have you ever engaged a qualified accessibility expert to review your designs or otherwise submitted them for a VPAT analysis? (A VPAT is typically done to ensure an educational site is compliant with Section 508 in the United States, but apparently anyone can request it.)
If not, would you be willing to make your designs ADA compliant? My understanding is that this goes beyond simply running the design through those freely available “accessibility review” websites.
Looking forward to your reply. 🙂 Thanks!
I’m far from being an expert but for what it’s worth we use Blackoot Pro and it is possible to get the color contrast to meet the ADA requirements despite the dark background.
Our site is a work-in-progress to be fair. We had to to add some code to the theme in terms of sections, article, etc. but that was very easy. It does seem that the CMS we use (WordPress) alters the code sometimes and we have to go back in and edit – that’s an issue with the CMS though.
Hope that helps a little with your one question. Very little likely.
Being in contact with a regular ravelry user, I did hear about this controversy. I also know accessibility in web design and development is a hot topic, and for good reasons.
Although I do keep it in mind and try the best to make things accessible, I am nowhere near an expert on the topic so I cannot guarantee the work I produce is 100% accessible, let alone compliant with an official a11y standard.
Not having the resources to have an expert review the themes – and update theme if needed – or to take compliance and certification tests, getting such things done is not planned at the moment. Not to mention the ones you are referring to are related to US standards and regulations, so we would probably need to do the same with at least international or EU standard (such as EN 301 549, which is basically based on WCAG 2.1) – since we are EU based with the EU being our main market – for it to make sense.
Also if the theme itself was compliant/certified, this would only cover the theme with the default settings on a basic site with no plugins, not any site using it.
To ensure a specific site is compliant, it would still need to be reviewed to account for its own content, settings and 3rd party plugins if applicable.
With all that said, the theme (and WP) are flexible enough to allow any user to make the necessary tweaks (if any) to make their own site compliant after an a11y audit.
Any feedback and reviews are most welcome and will be taken into consideration to be implemented in updates, to help make the theme as close as possible to a11y ready with its defaults.
@Michael, thanks for your input! I don’t think a dark theme makes accessibility harder. As long as you pay special attention to the colours and contrasts when tweaking your colour settings, it doesn’t make much of a difference whether the background is light or dark.
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