Level Level is proud to be working with Rocketgenius to safeguard and enhance the accessibility of webforms that have been created with the WordPress plugin Gravity Forms.
Our accessibility specialist Rian Rietveld is helping Rocketgenius with training, coding, accessibility reviews, and documentation.
And the result is that the latest major release of Gravity Forms, version 2.5, has been fully focused on making the forms themselves more accessible at the front end, but also on enhancing access for content managers through documentation and inline warnings.
The work doesn’t stop there: we’ll keep working closely with Rocketgenius to make sure the web forms are the best they can be.
Gravity Forms is one of the major WordPress plugins. It enables content creators to easily add forms to a WordPress website – everything from simple contact forms to more complex forms offering a range of options.
Accessibility has always been a point of focus for Rocketgenius, the company behind Gravity Forms. But with accessibility requirements and legislation around the world changing fast, the company needed more expertise.
Rian Rietveld is well known within the WordPress community for her expertise on accessibility. That’s why Steven Henty, Director of Product Development at Rocketgenius, asked in 2019 whether she could lead an initial accessibility audit in order to see what needed to be done to safeguard the accessibility of the webforms. And that’s just what she did.
Based on the results of the initial audit, the team drew up a plan:
- Help the Rocketgenius team become more familiar with web accessibility for forms.
- Implement non-design-breaking improvements right away, in minor releases.
- Write documentation on web accessibility for site owners, content managers, designers, and developers.
- Write an accessibility statement for the project.
- Implement design-breaking improvements in the next major release, 2.5.
- Inform users of the changes and how these have been implemented.
Rian met and trained the Rocketgenius team before the company’s annual Christmas party in Norfolk Virginia, not long before the first COVID-19 lockdowns were imposed. It was a good opportunity to discuss options and strategies, and to show the QA team how to do accessibility testing.
Based on what they saw in the initial accessibility audit, the team wrote up issues on GitHub and started to tackle them one by one.
“Rian Rietveld you are amazing. Your knowledge, patience and enthusiasm have made us all massive advocates for greater accessibility. I cannot wait to see what we are able to do next!”
The content manager, the designer and the theme developer can make or break the accessibility of the web form at the front end. So helping everyone involved in publishing a form, and keeping them informed along the way, are key to safeguarding the accessibility of a form. That way, they know what’s important, and what not to do.
To this end, we wrote extensive documentation on the online Gravity Forms documentation in the Knowledge Base section on Accessibility. Documents include:
- Gravity Forms Commitment to Accessibility, including the accessibility statement
- Accessibility Guide for Content Providers, telling content managers what’s needed to set up an accessible form
- Accessibility Guide for Developers, informing developers about accessibility best practices and requirements
- Accessibility Warning Showing on Field, which explains the warnings that appear when an inaccessible form setting for a field is used
- Accessibility Guide for Designers, which explains accessibility best practices and requirements to designers.
- Accessibility Checklist for Gravity Forms, written as a short and easy to use manual to add forms step by step. With the best general, form and field settings.
Keeping the documentation up to date is an ongoing process.
While minor enhancements were made in the minor versions, the bigger tasks in version 2.5 needed careful planning. Millions of websites run Gravity Forms, and count on the forms to work.
The developers and designers of Gravity Forms thought these tasks through in detail: how to deal with legacy code, handle existing forms, set up new forms, inform users about changes, and create the most accessible forms in view of the tasks required.
During the work on version 2.5, we conducted code and accessibility reviews on improvements, and took part in several discussions on new features and strategy, as well as on what users should be told and on how to approach legacy code and existing forms.
As a result of all this work, old forms remain intact (nothing breaks), new forms include enhanced accessibility features, and users are informed about the changes and can get any inline help they need.
To find out more about the changes in version 2.5, check out A Guide to Gravity Forms 2.5: Everything You Need to Know!
The team spirit was great: everyone was stuck in and fully engaged—just as it should be.
Working with the Gravity Forms team has been rewarding—and it has paid off for everyone. A team that really goes for the best result is always a joy to work with. So we’ll keep working with Rocketgenius: there will be new features to review, more documentation to write, new developers to train, and new user questions to answer.
Accessibility is an ongoing process, and we are happy to be on this journey.
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