A while ago I wrote a post on [accessibility issues on the internet]1, standards and tools to support accessibility.  Talking about this puts me in the embarrassing position of having to acknowledge that I haven’t really thought about it with my own website (I largely see this as a drafting space for me, but a) people do read it and b) it’s really no excuse). Accessibility on Mediawiki Recently I’ve also been thinking about accessibility on the Wikimedia projects.  Back in September there was a brief [Signpost report on Wikipedia Accessibility.]2 That suggested that Wikipedia is reasonably good, but that there are a few things that editors should note when writing: 1. Avoid separating lists by blank lines 2. Ensure things are kept in the right order (for screen readers) 3. Keep headings sequential That started a discussion about [how bots might improve accessibility]3 primarily by correcting for the three above (e.g. there is [a bot that can ensure sequential headings]4). Similarly, an [accessibility evaluation of the German Wikipedia]5 was conducted which gave a few areas for improvement: 1. Accessible CAPTCHAs 2. Improved semantic structuring (e.g. the heading point above) 3. Alt text for graphics 4. Simplified keyboard website navigation 5. Improved table markup This highlights a key aspect of accessibility – [following accessibility guidelines]6 is the first crucial step, consideration of additional tools (like screen readers) should come second (except insofar as you should be writing to ensure they work). So it’s worth considering how you write, including on Wikipedia.  I also wonder how much we could do with bots, and improving the way that people edit Wikipedia to improve accessibility. Further Resources 1. The Mediawiki accessibility manual is [here]7. 2. There is a [Mediawiki project for Accessibility]8, 3. And some [group discussion on Mediawiki Accessibility]9, 4. a [Meta page on Accessibility (also with proposals)]10, which includes for example a very extensive discussion on how tables could be improved for accessibility. 5. Blind Wikia, which includes notes on [accessibility on Mediawiki]11 some specific issues, and a [proposed screenreader skin for Mediawiki]12 (they’re seeking developers).


  1. http://www.nominettrust.org.uk/knowledge-centre/blogs/assisting-accessing-internet

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2013-09-04/Technology_report

  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Bot_requests/Archive_56#Accessibility_bot

  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Bots/Requests_for_approval/Snotbot_5

  5. http://www.thirdageonline.eu/project-tao-2/software-development/mediawiki-accessibility-enhancements/

  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_%28accessibility%29

  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Accessibility/MediaWiki_accessibility_specification

  8. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Accessibility

  9. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Talk:Groups/Proposals/Accessibility_Tracking#Collaboration_with_local_wikipedias_and_their_guidelines_28059

  10. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Accessibility

  11. http://blind.wikia.com/wiki/Mediawiki_and_Accessibility

  12. http://blind.wikia.com/wiki/Blind_Wiki:About