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13 Dec 2023

Wagtail accessibility in 2023 and beyond

We achieved a lot in 2023, and have clear plans for the next few years.

Thibaud Colas

Thibaud Colas

Wagtail core team

Wagtail’s accessibility team has been up and running for three years now – one of our longest-running contributor teams. With a lot happening in this space, we thought we were overdue for an update on what we’re up to!

Wagtail accessibility in 2023

In rough chronological order, here are our highlights.

We’re proud of reporting on our work as part of GAAD, and of validating that our efforts are paying off, as demonstrated in the accessibility scores of Wagtail sites:

Mean accessibility scores of Wagtail sites - HTTP Archive sites in 2023 - GAAD 2023 - Newsletter

And over the second half of the year,

And finally today’s event, the first ever Wagtail accessibility webinar! Watch the recording on YouTube: Prioritize Accessibility with Wagtail CMS | Actionable Insights, Practical Tips and Best Practices.

Wagtail 6.0 in February 2024

For the upcoming February 2024 release of Wagtail, we have no less than four accessibility items on the Wagtail roadmap!

Beyond Wagtail 6.0 🌈

We have big plans. We want to make Wagtail itself, and all sites built with it, as accessible as possible. We’re currently actively looking for sponsorships to create better accessibility checks for site administrators, bringing accessibility checks directly in the CMS:

screenshot of content checkers with accessibility score over time, as a sparkline

This will represent a clear step change for accessibility in Wagtail.

Accessibility team

Our accessibility team is also looking for help – here are their top areas of interest for the year to come:

  1. Supporting the Outreachy projects to completion
  2. Working directly with people using assistive technology to discover areas of improvement
  3. Figuring out alt text in Wagtail – having an accessible image model by default
  4. Supporting Django’s accessibility team with their direction
  5. Improving how we automatically test Wagtail’s accessibility
  6. Auditing Wagtail design system for accessible contrast as measured by the new APCA contrast model
  7. Triaging “design needed” accessibility contributions
  8. Organizing meetups/conference talks related to accessibility work across wagtail
  9. High-contrast light and dark themes for Wagtail

👉 If any or all of those ideas sound interesting to you, please do consider joining our accessibility team – come say hi on the Wagtail Slack, in #accessibility.

Wagtail sites with no detected issues

A specific metric we’ll want to monitor is how many Wagtail sites ship without any issues detected, in line with industry reports like the WebAIM Million:

Wagtail sites with no detected issues - HTTP Archive Wagtail sites in 2023 vs 2022 - GAAD 2023-Newsletter

We hope to see clear year-over-year improvements thanks to the program of work we have in place.

Our team

Thank you to the Wagtail accessibility team for a wonderful 2023! Thank you Scott Cranfill, Thibaud Colas, Jesse Menn, Kyle Bayliss, Storm Heg, Saptak Sengupta, Jane Hughes, Albina Starykova, Sage Abdullah, Joshua Munn, Victoria Ottah, Shakhrizoda Yusupova, Damilola Oladele, Ahmed Olaitan, Ben Morse.

Also thank you to Outreachy and Syracuse University, who helped fund part of this work in 2023.