Configuring Genesis Accessible

Genesis Accessible is a great plugin by Rian Rietveld that addresses some accessibility issues not yet available in the Genesis Framework.

Here’s something important to note: If you’ve activated the Genesis Accessible theme, certain features of Utility Pro are deactivated in order to defer to the plugin.

Highly Recommend Enabling

So, when using the Genesis Accessible plugin, be sure to enable:

  1. Keyboard accessibility for dropdown menu

These features are all “behind the scenes” and will not impact the visual appearance of your theme, but they are important features for anyone using keyboard navigation only (no mouse or trackpad) or using a screen reader.

Utility Pro includes skiplinks (and the skiplinks CSS), so there’s no need to enable these options in the plugin; but you can if you want to — it will still work fine, but you’ll be loading unnecessary code and who wants that?

Optional Features to Enable (Genesis-Specific)

The features I’ll tell you about shortly are specific to themes running on the Genesis Framework.

For the full details of working with Genesis Accessible, I recommend reading the plugin documentation, but I’ll give you a quick idea of what to expect here.

Remove title attribute from links

This is fantastic for accessibility, doesn’t impact anything visual on your site, and is a snap to do with Genesis Accessible. In short, there’s no reason not to use this feature.

Use a Semantic Heading Structure

This feature can lead to unexpected results as it changes the heading semantics of the 404 and archive_page template (h4 headings becomes h2). It also replaces the H4 on widgets for a H3 for a semantic headings order. This will impact styling (so if you use it, you’ll probably want to make some edits to your stylesheet).

Feel free to use it, but know what you’re doing. 🙂

Remove less accessible Genesis widgets

These widgets have accessibility issues. Enabling this option removes them from your Widgets page so you won’t be tempted to use them:

  • Genesis Featured Page,
  • Genesis User Profile Widget and
  • Genesis Featured Post

Optional Features to Enable (WordPress-Specific)

WordPress is not without its accessibility issues! The Genesis Accessible plugin also addresses a couple of WordPress accessibility issues.

Add the post title to the read more links

Instead of just repeating the “Read more…” link anywhere you have an archive of posts, this option changes the link to say “Read more about [post title].”

This does visibly impact your site, but with a little CSS trickery, you could opt to display this text only for screen readers and keep the original text for visual users.

Remove h1 from editor toolbar

The H1 tag should only be your site title on your home page and then your post/page title on all other pages. Using an H1 tag in any of your content is not semantically correct. It’s not good for accessibility AND it’s not good for Google!

I recommend this option (along with educating others about it).