Everything about Universal is for making your WordPress site more accessible. No WordPress theme can make sure that you have an accessible web site; that’s up to your content, and dependent on the accessibility of the supporting plug-ins you use. But your theme is definitely a big part of the process.
Here are a few of the ways that Universal makes your site more accessible:
Users who can’t use a mouse are dependent on their keyboard to get around your site. With Universal, everything in the theme is ready to go. Links have a strong visual focus, drop down menus can be used with the keyboard.
Users with visual disabilities may need to use an assistive technology called a screen reader, which reads through the page for them. Universal ensures that forms are labelled correctly so that screen readers know what they are, makes sure that screen readers have optimal options to navigate the site by jumping through headings, using landmark regions, among other options.
Great Color Contrast
To accommodate users with age-related vision issues or color blindness, as well as a wide variety of low vision scenarios, the default contrasts in Universal are easily conforming with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines requirements for color contrast. But beyond that, Universal also allows you to alter the background colors for most regions — and automatically toggles the foreground colors to make sure you still have the contrast you need.
Knowing where you are in relation to other pages is a crucial part of navigating a site for accessibility. Universal comes with a built-in set of breadcrumbs. These breadcrumbs are basic, but if you set up the breadcrumbs in Yoast’s SEO plug-in or John Havlik’s Breadcrumbs Nav XT they’ll automatically replace Universal’s basic breadcrumbs.
Universal is full of examples of web development decisions that are good for accessibility. Are they accessibility features on their own? Not necessarily – they’re just good habits. If you’re a developer, read the theme files and you can learn a lot about what decisions make for good accessibility.