Kayosey Kickstarter Campaign Seeks $7K in Funding for Fully Accessible WordPress Parent Theme


Many influential WordPress projects, such as Aesop Story Engine, PodsCamp, and WordPress Post Forking, found their beginnings and/or second winds on Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, or another crowdfunding platform. A successful campaign funded by passionate supporters can make an idea into reality or bring fresh momentum for another round of development.

Kayosey is the latest community project seeking funding for a good cause – the creation of the first 100% accessible theme for WordPress. The four-person team behind the Kickstarter campaign is led by WordPress developer Rafa Poveda, an organizer for WordCamp Sevilla and WordCamp Europe 2015. They aim to raise $6,770 to fund the development of the first AAA, fully-accessible and fully-responsive theme/framework for WordPress.

If successfully funded, Kayosey will be released as a free theme, 100% GPL v2 or later, and will be submitted to the official WordPress Theme Directory for anyone to use. The theme’s creators believe that it has the potential to make a major impact on the overall accessibility of the web. Poveda summarized the goal for the campaign:

Our goal is to create the first fully accessible, upgradeable and adaptable to all devices theme for WordPress. Today, 24% of the web works with WordPress, being the most used CMS by developers. An accessible parent theme for WordPress will virtually make 1/4 of the web accessible.

Although the existence of the an accessible parent theme is not likely to translate directly into 1/4 of the web becoming more accessible, it would provide a solid starting place for developers who are interested in producing accessible themes. The vast majority of WordPress themes lag in meeting accessibility guidelines and the official directory doesn’t have much of a selection listed under the accessibility-ready tag.

Poveda and his team plan to work closely with WordPress’ Accessibility Team and will propose changes to core as necessary to help make WordPress 100% accessible. They will be using the WAI (The Web Access Initiative) as a reference manual. The project will be documented publicly on GitLab and GitHub to keep supporters up to date.

The Kayosey team outlined a few stretch goals beyond the € 6,000 they are hoping to raise, which would enable the team to expand the parent theme into a framework and eventually add WooCommerce compatibility:

  • € 6,000 – GOAL! We will make a 100%-a11y WordPress parent theme!
  • € 12,000 – More than a theme – We will create Kayosey Framework, the first accessible framework, full of options to make the development easier.
  • € 20,000 – WooCommerce compatibility! Everyone should be able to make a shop with WordPress without external help.

So far, the Kayosey project has reached 12% of the $6,770 goal. The campaign has one month remaining before the fundraising deadline.


15 responses to “Kayosey Kickstarter Campaign Seeks $7K in Funding for Fully Accessible WordPress Parent Theme”

  1. Quite a few people already use _s as their starter theme. Seems to me that the best way to get accessibility to be a priority for theme developers is making sure that _s is the most accessible theme there is.

    By creating a parent theme, there is the risk of people just simply not using it. I think accessibility is important, so why not make sure the resources for it are in a place that most people use?

  2. I’m glad to see that more people are working on making WordPress themes accessible. I would also like to point out that the Flagship Compass starter theme is and has been accessibility-ready since it was released and I’m aware of at least one site built on it that is 100% WCAG 2AA compliant.

    Rian Rietveld, who is a member of the core accessibility team, did a full audit of our theme before we released it and also contributed some a11y enhancements to our mobile menu. I’m sure there are areas where it could be improved, but to be honest there hasn’t been a ton of interest in a11y stuff from developers using it, so we don’t really know where the weaknesses are.

    If they really want to push accessibility out to more sites built on WordPress, I think Brad is right. Working with the underscores team to improve a11y will probably be much more effective than creating a new starter theme.

  3. I agree with you all that a starter theme makes much more sense that a parent theme. Our fist idea was to work in the theme with _s as a starter, so making a starter theme based on _s is something not only to take in account, but to assume as the way we need to work.

    We have updated our kickstarter with this info. Ideas are welcome, we still have 29 days to get more ideas, so don’t hesitate to share them with us, here or in kickstarter.

    Thank you all.

      • I see your point :) I’m already watching _s repository and have themes developed with _s, but the point to kickstarter is that we want to develop something, and we don’t have the time if we are working in other fields, or we don’t have the money if we are not working. So we are looking for support for that.

        If it gets funded, you’ll receive for sure Pull Requests to _s, as well as we will use WordPress trac and the knowledge of the accessibility team of the WP Community to propose and work in tickets in the WP core if the problem to solve cannot be solved only with the theme. We are going to be in the accessibility team on WCEU Contributor Day to talk with them. Reality is that we published our Kickstarter to have the URL to promotion it and that we wanted to talk with people in WordCamp Europe before promoting. Being in WPTavern has been a (great) surprise for us, and we, for sure, want to make a Community work here for the benefit of everyone.

        We are not willing to work against the things that already exists. That’s not how you use the GPL ^_^.

        We just have an idea, we think that we can make it a reality, and we have a team which has been working with a thesis in accessibility and UX for blind people. We want to share our knowledge with the world, and learn a lot in the journey. And make even more than a starter theme if we have the funds (which will give us the time that we need to do it).

        Again, thanks for the comments and ideas :)

        • If you end up creating the theme, I’d encourage you to blog about your experience. Talk about what you learned along the way, and how the experience changed you, etc. The accessibility community in general needs more designers and developers talking about accessibility in an open, honest way. More than anything else, in my opinion. :)

          A few other seeds I’ll plant:

          Join the WordPress Accessibility team, we’d love to have you!

          If you have patterns you use in the theme that you’d like to share, we’ll take pull requests here: https://github.com/wpaccessibility/a11ythemepatterns It’s a set of patterns for building accessible themes that the WordPress Accessibility team is leading.

          • Hello, David.

            A project is not complete if it’s not documented. I’ll blog about the process, and not only about creating the theme. I’m learning a lot about kickstarter and how a project can have a lot of repercussion and promotion, and how this does not translate into financial support. Funded or not in the end, it’s been a great experience.

            I have been reading the Accessibility team for a while, but my old job did not allow me to work in anything else. I hope to be more involved in the immediate future and learn a lot about how do you do everything.

            As said before, all shall be shared.

    • The idea here is a bit different.

      As we have a responsive theme that changes when you change to a mobile phone or a tablet, why don’t make a beautiful and responsive theme change when in a screen reader to achieve AAA rules?

      That’s our goal here :)


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