WordPress Accessibility Team Seeks Testers Using Speech Recognition Technology

photo credit: Let's Read - (license)
photo credit: Let’s Read(license)

The World Health Organization estimates that 285 million people worldwide are living with some form of visual impairment and 39 million of those are estimated to be blind. Many people with low vision depend on speech recognition technology to navigate the web and communicate their thoughts. This type of software also assists people who have carpal tunnel, RSI (Repetitive Stress Injuries) and/or limited mobility in their hands and arms.

Rian Rietveld and the Accessibility team are working to improve the experience of using WordPress with speech recognition software, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking (widely considered as one of the best for desktop use.) In particular, the task of adding media to a post has a number of obstacles that make it nearly impossible for those using speech recognition software.

Rietveld posted three tests to the Accessibility team’s blog today, inviting those who use Dragon Naturally Speaking or other assistive technology to help the contributors determine the roadblocks that need to be removed for adding media. These tests include actions like adding media, editing attachment details, and creating a gallery.

If you use WordPress with assistive technology for speech recognition, completing these tests and offering your feedback is one way to get involved as a contributor. You don’t necessarily have to use Dragon Naturally Speaking, as there are many newer alternatives such as Windows Speech Recognition (Cortana) and Chrome’s speech recognition powered by Google Speech to Text. Testers can report their experiences, along with the assistive technology/browser/OS, in the comments on Rietveld’s post.

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  1. This is awesome! And something that is very much needed for those with impaired vision.
    It also has vast potential in other areas as well .


  2. In particular, the task of adding media to a post has a number of obstacles that make it nearly impossible for those using speech recognition software.

    Seriously. Are we that politically correct now that we care about the 0.0000000000001% that will actually use this? What a waste of resources.

    Blind people adding images to their WP site? Yeah….that sounds about right.

    “Here’s a selfie of me at…..oh….wait….that’s a picture of the ceiling…DOH.”


    1. @Ron – Let’s hope you never have impairments to your sight, hearing, voice, limbs, motor control, and/or cognitive abilities (by aging or accident) and have to experience a world where you’re treated as an afterthought or worse.

      Accessibility helps everyone – now and in the future.


      1. @Ben

        Jeeesh…..can’t you take a joke?

        It’s not like I suggested someone start The Blind Man School of Driving.

        Wait….what…that’s already been done?


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