Theme Accessibility

The accessibility of a WordPress blog is largely determined by the theme chosen for it. Although none of the themes currently available on UAL’s myBlog platform are completely free of errors, some come very close. To help users assess which theme affords the best user accessibility, we ran some tests…

Test results

Each theme’s score reflects the amount of issues flagged by the WAVE tool during the tests. This means that the lower the number, the fewer the errors and thus better accessibility.

Theme Score Rating Description
Twenty Twenty 7 Good Twenty Twenty has no major errors, no contrast errors and very few warnings, making it the most accessible theme available.
Twenty Twentyone 7.5 Good Twenty Twentyone has no major errors, no contrast errors and very few warnings, making it the second most accessible theme available.
Twenty Twelve 8 Good Twenty Twelve has no major errors, a single incident of low contrast text and only a few warnings, making it one of the most accessible themes available on the platform.
Twenty Thirteen 8 Good Twenty Thirteen has no major errors, a single incident of low contrast text and only a few warnings, making it one of the most accessible themes available on the platform.
Twenty Fifteen 10.5 Good Twenty Fifteen has no major errors, two incidents of low contrast text and only a few warnings, making it one of the more accessible themes available on the platform.
Twenty Seventeen 10.5 Good Twenty Seventeen has no major errors, four incidents of low contrast text and only a few warnings, making it one of the more accessible themes available on the platform.
Twenty Sixteen 13 Good Twenty Sixteen has no major errors, two incidents of low contrast text and a moderate amount of warnings, making it a very good choice.
Twenty Fourteen 15.5 Good Twenty Fourteen has no major errors, a small number of contrast errors and only a few warnings, making it a good choice.
Twenty Nineteen 23.5 Fair Twenty Nineteen has no major errors, a moderate amount of contrast errors and a quite a few warnings, making it an ok choice.
Madrigal 22 Fair Ten errors (missing form labels, empty buttons and empty links), no contrast errors and a moderate amount of warnings.
Proxima 37.5 Fair Proxima has only one error, a moderate amount of low contrast text and quite a few warnings.
Twenty Eleven 41.5 Fair Twenty Eleven has no major errors and fewer contrast errors, giving it a better score than the previous year’s theme. There are still a number of warnings.
Cell 47.5 Fair Cell’s score was negatively impacted by a large amount of low contrast (light grey) text. We found only one error that would affect screen reader users. There were also a moderate number of warnings.
Responsive 48 Fair Responsive has no errors and a moderate number of warnings about redundant elements. The score is primarily influenced by the number of contrast errors.
Oxygen 66.5 Poor Similiar to Cell, Oxygen’s score was negatively impacted by a large amount of low contrast text as well as insufficient link colour contrast. We found only one error that would affect screen reader users. There were also quite a few warnings.
Twenty Ten 69.5 Poor Twenty Ten has no major errors but is let down by numerous incidents of low contrast text. The theme also received a number of warnings.
ColorMag 92.5 Poor Across both pages, 5 errors were found (2 missing form labels, 2 empty buttons and an empty link). There were very many instances of low contrast text and a moderate number of warnings.
Themify Grido 96.5 Poor WAVE found no errors in this theme, but there are huge amount of contrast errors and warnings, making this the second worst theme for accessibility on the platform.
Yoko 103.5 Poor Yoko has three major errors, a huge number of contrast errors and a fair number of warnings, making it the worst theme available for accessibility.

Test methodology

While our accessibility tests aren’t exhaustive, they should hopefully give an indication of how compliant a theme is to WCAG 2.1 standards. To test each theme we ran the WAVE browser extension on two separate pages (homepage and sample post) of a simple test blog. We recorded any errors from both pages that were flagged and used a rudimentary formula to generate a weighted scoring system.

How the scoring system was calculated

WAVE generates a report for a page that flags a number of attributes (both positive and negative) that are pertinent to that page’s accessibility. For the purposes of this document, we only recorded issues from the three categories that would negatively impact a theme’s accessibility:

  • Errors – major issues that would break a site for screen reader or keyboard only users.
  • Contrast Errors – low contrast text is difficult to read for most users and completely illegible for the visually impaired.
  • Warnings – A wide array of issues that although not necessarily site-breaking, provide a poor user experience for users of assistive technology.

To calculate the scores attributed to each theme, we:

  1. Averaged the number of errors accross the two pages per category (see above).
  2. Weighted the scores to reflect an issue’s impact by multiplying errors x 3, contrast errors x 2 and warnings x 1.
  3. Added up the three sets of adjusted numbers to create a ‘total score’.
  4. Applied user-friendly labels to the total scores based on the following ranges:
    • 0-20: Good
    • 20-50: Fair
    • 50+: Poor

Please note: myBlog will not be available on Tuesday 23rd November 08.00 - 12.00 midday because of scheduled maintenance to improve platform stability.
Skip to toolbar