wA11y – The Web Accessibility Toolbox


wA11y is a WordPress plugin that provides a toolbox of resources to help you improve the accessibility of your WordPress website.

If you would like to contribute to the plugin, or report issues, please go through the wA11y Github repo.

What Does “wA11y” Mean?

“A11y” is the commonly used abbreviation for accessibility, since there are eleven letters between the “a” and the “y”.

“w” + “A11y” is my abbreviation for “web accessibility”. #wa11y

What Is Web Accessibility?

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, websites by people with disabilities.

Data shows 1 in 5 people have a disability. If your site is inaccessible, you could be excluding 20% of your potential users, customers, students, and more.

The foundation for good accessibility is great markup which also means that good accessibility can improve your SEO.


wA11y.org is a new community initiative to contribute to web accessibility by providing information, education, resources, and tools.

If you’re interested in joining the wA11y.org community, and would like to contribute to its growth, please subscribe at https://wa11y.org.

Tools Included In wA11y

The mission for the wA11y plugin is to provide a plethora of tools to help you evaluate and improve the accessibility of your website.

If you would like to see any new tools added to the plugin, please create an issue in the wA11y Github repo and label it an “enhancement”.


tota11y is an accessibility visualization toolkit provided by your friends at Khan Academy. It is a single JavaScript file that inserts a small button in the bottom corner of your document and helps visualize how your site performs with assistive technologies.


WAVE is a free evaluation tool provided by WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind). It can be used to evaluate a live website for a wide range of accessibility issues.


Filters provide a way for you to modify a piece of data inside the wA11y plugin. Learn more about filters.

Here is a list of the filters available for this plugin:

  • ‘wa11y_settings’
    • Allows you to change the plugin settings
    • Passes 1 argument: the default settings
  • ‘wa11y_wave_url’
    • Allows you to change the URL passed to WAVE
    • Passes 2 arguments: the default URL and the post object (if defined)
  • ‘wa11y_load_tota11y’
    • Allows you to pass a boolean to define whether or not the tota11y tool should be loaded
    • Passes 2 arguments: the default setting and the plugin’s settings
  • ‘wa11y_load_wave’
    • Allows you to pass a boolean to define whether or not the WAVE tool should be loaded
    • Passes 2 arguments: the default setting and the plugin’s settings


WA11Y PRO TIP: Take advantage of in-browser testing tools, like WAVE and HTML_CodeSniffer, to evaluate WordPress theme demos before you purchase.

A Few Basic Accessibility Principles

  • All non-text content needs a text equivalent to help convey information to those with sensory disabilities.
    • For example, images and videos need text equivalents to convey information and context to those who have trouble with vision and/or hearing.
  • Color usage should have sufficient contrast and should not be used as the sole method for conveying information or direction.
    • For example, if your website has directions in red, and a user cannot see red, then that direction is inaccessible.
    • Links, or actions on your website, should always be signified with something other than simply a different color. For example, an underline is the most common trait.
  • Pages should have proper heading structure in order to be readable without a stylesheet for those who do not navigate visually.
  • All site functionality should be available using the keyboard for persons who do not use a mouse.
    • Tab order is important.
  • Adding ARIA attributes are helpful to provide screen reader users with more context and greater interactivity with content.
  • Responsive web design is important to ensure your site can be viewed on assistive devices of various sizes.

Web Accessibility Standards

WCAG 2.0 – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

WCAG are part of a series of guidelines published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization for the Internet.

Current version was published in December 2008.

Section 508

Section 508 Standards apply to electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by federal agencies, including computer hardware and software, websites, phone systems, and copiers.

Standards were issued in 2000.

Other Accessibility Tools

Articles About Accessibility


  1. Upload ‘wa11y’ to the ‘/wp-content/plugins/’ directory
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
  3. Go to Settings > wA11y to setup the plugin.


What a time saver!

This plugin goes on all of my development sites. It makes checking the site for accessibility so much easier than using external resources. Love it.

Thank you, Rachel!!!

Easy to use

This plugin is now part of my starters WP install, I use it just after installing a theme, in order to fix any accessibility issues right from the start.

Everyone should use this when developing websites with WordPress!

A Plugin Of Great Industry!

This plugin teaches you how you can make better sites/plugins/themes/WordPresses

Turn this on when your working on developing WordPress sites, plugins or themes or WordPress itself. #realtalk we’ve all written plenty of code that is not as accessible as it should be. Let’s not make these problems worse by ensuring that everything we do write, moving forward is going to be accessible.

5 Stars


Hi Rachel

This is a awesome tool, this will make it much easier to get accessibility right.

Much appreciated, thank you very much.

Accessibility Now Much Easier

Thanks for a wonderful plugin. So far I have played with most of the features and I am really impressed. The fact that I can now check accessibility from a local server is fantastic. Thanks so much.

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“wA11y – The Web Accessibility Toolbox” is open source software. De volgende personen hebben bijgedragen aan deze plugin.




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