“These themes are hand-picked for their outstanding design quality, features, and customer reviews.”
I love wheelchair ramps.
Because they’re a wonderful example of how inclusive design can help us all. Sure, we call them wheelchair ramps, but they serve many other groups too: parents with strollers, older folks with walkers, and anyone else who struggles with stairs.
When we modify a design to serve a group in need, we often experience unexpected outcomes that benefit many others. And things are no different on the web.
WordPress themes designed with accessibility in mind tend to be easier to use and clearer to navigate than their contemporaries. While you may have specific goals in mind like ADA compliance or WCAG 2.0 standards to pass, rest assured that you won’t have to sacrifice on design quality. You’ll likely find a theme with a higher standard of design by searching for templates with these requirements.
You can find more great recommendations in our free WordPress themes list.
Accessible WordPress themes
Because Compete Themes has paid special attention to accessibility in theme design, I’ve included three of my own favorite themes here in the collection. Each of these themes has passed the WordPress Theme Review Team’s accessibility review.
In addition, there are two more themes from other developers on Themeforest that have made excellent themes that are designed with web accessibility as a priority.Here are my top picks for best accessible WordPress themes for 2019.
1. Period by Compete Themes
Period is a responsive WordPress theme for blogs, small businesses, and educational institutions. With a material design inspired aesthetic, this theme has a modern style that will look great for years to come.
The menu is fully keyboard accessible and contrast levels for text are kept well above the 4.5:1. This theme passes WCAG 2.0 AA standards out-of-box. On wordpress.org, Period is given the “accessibility-ready” tag. This is basically a reminder to users that while all design elements in Period pass accessibility standards, it’s up to the user to make sure their content is accessible too in order for their site to maintain its accessibility.
Period comes with a handful of essential customization options. These include social profile icons, a custom logo uploader, search, and two different layouts (left and right sidebar). For greater flexibility and customizability, there is the Period Pro upgrade.
2. Icelander by Webman Design (Themeforest)
Icelander is a premium, accessible WordPress theme made for businesses. With an assortment of templates and layouts available, this multipurpose theme could be used for a variety of websites.
You’ll notice that the homepage has quite a few distinct sections, and that’s because this theme is made to be used with the Beaver Builder plugin. You’ll be able to create completely custom layouts using the page building plugin along with the already very customizable Icelander theme.
While Icelander shines as a theme for businesses with accessibility requirements, it can work great for blogs too. The post designs are beautiful and also provide a lot of flexibility in terms of layout. As an added bonus, Icelander even integrates with WooCommerce for including an eCommerce store.
3. Founder by Compete Themes
If you want a simple, minimalist theme for a blog, you can’t beat Founder. This single-column blog theme cuts out all the frills and leaves nothing but the essential components.
With fewer elements on the page, Founder keeps visitor attention focused on what matters most: your writing! While it could be used for a multi-author blog, this WP theme works best for authors who want to build a personal brand with their writing.
Founder is extremely easy to set up on your WordPress site and includes a few key customization tools. Choose to display excerpts or complete posts on the homepage, add a search bar to the header, upload your own logo, and add social media icons for your profiles. Founder is coded following WP best practices, so it is compatible with thousands of plugins found on wordpress.org for further customization.
4. Monument Valley by Webman Design (Themeforest)
Monument Valley is a cool theme for business portfolio sites but has a special emphasis on eCommerce. It’s fully compatible with the popular WooCommerce plugin and all of the store layouts are designed for accessibility.
This creatively designed theme has a great set of templates. Publish a blog, add pages about your organization, and publish filterable portfolio galleries alongside your eCommerce store. It’s also compatible with every page builder including Beaver Builder, Visual Composer, and Elementor.
Monument Valley is a relatively new theme on Themeforest but has already garnered many five star reviews. In fact, its average rating is a 4.91/5 which is quite impressive.
5. Morning by Compete Themes
Morning is a simple, accessible WordPress theme. It has a minimalist style that provides lots of space and precise use of typography to create a sophisticated vibe.
The Morning theme balances text and media well, so it will work great for a site that makes use of images and video just as much as click-worthy headlines. Morning is an Apex (also accessible) child theme, so it inherits many of the same styles and all of the same customization options.
The personalization settings in Morning include full posts VS post excerpts on the blog, social icons, custom logos, and more. It’s also compatible with the Apex Pro plugin which adds many more customization tools like custom colors, new layouts, and hundreds of fonts.
Which accessible theme is best for you?
If you’re looking for a modern theme that can suit simple blogs and businesses equally well, try out the Period theme. All of our themes are free, so you can test it out on your site now.
For more functionality, the Icelander theme will be a great choice. This accessible theme has a ton of customization tools to help you match your site to your brand and business goals. Monument Valley is an excellent alternative to Icelander.
Founder is best used for a simple personal blog, and lastly, Morning has a design that will better serve multi-author blogs and online magazines. All of these themes will suit your accessibility needs, so rely on your personal taste and feature requirements to pick the best theme for your website.
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Ben Sibley, Compete Themes founder