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ATLS 4519 Advanced Special Topics in Technology, Arts, and Media: Implementing Accessibility in WordPress

About the Course

This course will introduce students to the core principles of Web Accessibility and teach them how to best implement these principles when developing a website using the content management system WordPress. The course will cover Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines, and an overview of Universal Design, in addition to a thorough education in working with and developing for WordPress, while showing students how a content management system can help – or hinder – their efforts towards accessibility. Resources and texts will be drawn from a mixture of accessible design sources and WordPress development resources. Topics to be covered include HTML standards, syntax semantics, assistive technology, WordPress theme development, and WordPress plug-in developments.


Through pre-recorded lectures, readings, and assignments, students will learn the principles of Accessibility on the Web and how to apply them in creating and customizing a WordPress website. At the end of the course, students will be capable of creating a fully-functional and customized accessible website using WordPress.

  • Define the concept and relevance of accessibility
  • Demonstrate WordPress installation and basic configuration
  • Define the meaning, scope and origins of the term Universal Design and related terms and concepts
  • Examine the features, capabilities and limitations of Content Management Systems (CMS)
  • Describe the principles and key concepts of design: page layout, color, color contrast, and typography
  • Assess website accessibility when using commonly available themes and plugins
  • Apply the principles of web accessibility and universal design to build an accessible website in WordPress

Grade Breakdown

  • Assignments: 60%
  • Final project: 40%

Required Text


  • Web Designer’s Guide to WordPress, Jesse Friedman, 2013
  • Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design, Shawn Lawton Henry, 2007
  • Pro HTML5 Accessibility, Joshue O Connor


Instructor Contact


Joe Dolson is an accessibility consultant and web developer. He’s been working with web accessibility since 2004 and with WordPress since 2006. Joe’s an editor member of the WordPress Accessibility task force (, and speaks widely on the subject of WordPress and Accessibility.

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