Accessible Widgets

Jan 14, 2010 | Plain-English Explanations

I learned something new about WordPress today, thanks to the awesome Reagan Lynch. I had asked him for some information about accessibility a couple weeks ago and he kindly asked if the information he had sent had helped. It had, and somehow our conversation wound around to widgets. That’s when he asked me if I knew how to make widgets truly accessible…meaning ditching the drag and drop feature which, for visually impaired people, is definitely NOT accessible. I didn’t know we could remove the drag and drop feature on widgets, so I asked him to show me how.

So far, you might be thinking, “Ok, Suzanne…what’s this got to do with me? I can see just fine. Why are you telling me this?”

This particular accessibility feature just might be of handy use to you if a) your theme has several sidebars or b) you have lots of widgets in your sidebar or c) both. Drag and drop is great, but drag, scroll and drop gets a little out of hand and hard to manuever sometimes. So read on…

So, go to your Widgets page (Appearance => Widgets). See up there in the upper right hand corner of your Dashboard…’Screen Options’?

Click it.

You’ve got only one screen option for this page: ‘Enable accessibility mode’.

Click that link. It’s a toggle link, which means it’ll turn into ‘Disable accessibility mode’, so that if you want, you can turn that option back off.

Say you clicked on the ‘Add’ link for the calendar widget. The screen would then display the calendar widget options, and ask you which your sidebars you wanted it in, and in what position.

So you see? In this case, accessibility mode makes it easier for me to add widgets to my sidebars without have to scroll for miles on my widget page. If your theme is rockin’ this many sidebars, then you might find it easier to add widgets to them this way, too.

After playing with it in accessibility mode, I’ve determined that it’s much easier (at least for me, with this many sidebars) to add widgets this way and to move widgets around from one sidebar to another, but if I just want to reorder them within the same sidebar, it’s easier to do with drag and drop, so I just disable accessibility mode and do it that way.

Thanks again, Reagan, for the handy tip!

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