WORDPRESS 5.6.0 BLOCK EDITOR DELIBERATELY AND BLATANTLY BROKEN

That is right!

After a weeklong discussion between the WordPress Accessibility Team and at least one representative or possibly more from Automatic the WordPress 5.6.0 block editor is broken in such a way that anyone using assistive technology is not able to edit text/data in any of the blocks.

Automatic has deliberately and blatantly pressed forward with changing how individuals interact with editing blocks in the new block editor disregarding all suggestions from the accessibility team by choosing to simulate a feature of Microsoft Word that is in no way accessible which is the word templates. Word templates never have been accessible, nor will they ever be accessible. Also, if they believe that WordPress can perfectly simulate or mimic MS Word, their heads are in their own gluteus maximus, as it will never happen.

Automatic along with their upper echelon starting with the very top, have what I believe is a bias towards any person/persons with a disability by not accepting recommendations from the accessibility team which you can see by past and current decisions they have made.

You can actually see or listen to Matt’s response from Word Camp U. S. in November 2019 where he was asked about policies and procedures for implementing accessibility. This was done in the question-and-answer session after he delivered his State of the Word speech from ST. Louis. The answer that Matt gave was nothing more than bull shit held together with bailing wire and everyone in attendance sucked it in like mindless robots.

Assistive technology cannot even invoke forms or edit mode, this is because of the design decisions made regarding the edit fields within the blocks themselves. There is no focus border/boundary to assist keyboard users/screen reader users with properly selecting text so that it can be properly edited, formatted, or manipulated. There is nothing for screen readers to use to gain programmatic focus. Whomever made the decision to setup the blocks with edit fields such as this, chose to utilize the most inaccessible feature of Microsoft Word which is the Word templates. Word templates use shaded areas to indicate to a sighted user where to type and is informed via text as a placeholder within the edit field as to the kind of information to be entered into each field. This decision in the long run will create many problems that will be difficult at best to fix and turn into a big nightmare.

We updated to WordPress 5.6.0 after the first of the year and started testing the block editor to find that Automatic had made changes against all recommendations not to move forward with this idea as JAWS, NVDA and Microsoft Narrator all state when attempting to edit blocks that either the block is empty or it can not recognize any edit field that contains data that can be edited, formatted, or manipulated in any way.

WordPress 5.5.3 by no means was accessible, however with diligent practice one could at least insert and then edit a block. We were in the middle of a big project that is now in a major stop and hold where we were documenting on how individuals could at least perform some editing features with screen readers or other assistive technologies even though it takes about 2.5 times as long as writing straight HTML.

Accessibility is about quality and having a quality product means that any person regardless of the tools they need to use should have an even playing field to get the job done!

With the WordPress 5.6.0 release it is very clear that Automatic cares nothing about quality at all.

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  • Pranav Lal
  • Florian Beijers
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  • Amanda J. Rush
  • Amanda J. Rush
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