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Opened 6 weeks ago

Last modified 17 hours ago

#47145 assigned defect (bug)

Feature Image dialog does not follow the dialog pattern

Reported by: anevins Owned by: afercia
Milestone: 5.3 Priority: normal
Severity: major Version:
Component: Administration Keywords: has-screenshots wpcampus-report has-patch
Focuses: ui, accessibility Cc:


Moved from the WPCampus accessibility report issues on GitHub, see https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/issues/15295

  • Severity:
    • High
  • Platform(s):
    • Windows - Screen Reader
    • Windows - ZoomText
    • Mac - VoiceOver
    • Android - TalkBack
    • iOS - VoiceOver
  • Components affected:
    • Media Dialog

Issue description
Users opening the "Feature Image" dialog are not told they are
entering a dialog. Keyboard focus is trapped, however screen reader
users are able to go beyond the last items of the dialog without
realising they have left it.

Keyboard users who find their focus cycling around the dialog get a Tab
stop with no visible focus. This is the dialog itself, which can receive
keyboard focus while having no visible focus state.

The triggering "Set Featured Image" button does not express an
expanded or collapsed state, which would not matter if users could not
reach the button when the modal was open; however, they can.

Lack of an explicit role for modal dialogs may be confusing for
assistive technology users, since they may not realise they're inside a
dialog, and that consequently the keyboard interactions may be different
from the rest of the page. Lack of an explicit label for dialogs may be
confusing for assistive technology users, since they won't have an
immediate sense of what the dialog is for.

Issue Code

    <button type="button" class="components-button editor-post-featured-image__toggle">Set featured image</button>


    <div tabindex="0" class="media-modal wp-core-ui">

        <button type="button" class="...">...Close media panel...</button>

        <div class="media-modal-content">


            <div class="media-frame-title">

                <h1>Featured Image<span class="dashicons dashicons-arrow-down"></span></h1>





Remediation Guidance
Give the modal a role of dialog and set "aria-modal=true".
Additionally, set aria-hidden="true" on the element which wraps
the rest of the page, to prevent older browsers or assistive
technologies that don't support aria-modal from accessing the rest
of the page while the modal is open.

Use aria-labelledby and an id on the modal heading to name the

Change the tabindex to -1 so that it can be focused via
JavaScript without being in the Tab order. The exception to this advice
is if having the modal in the Tab order is necessary so that keyboard
users can scroll content inside it; however in existing cases,
scrollable areas are separate parts of the modal. But if a container
must receive focus in order to allow keyboard users to scroll the
content, then the container must visibly show focus.

Recommended Code

    <div id="wpwrap" aria-hidden="true">...</div>

    <div role="dialog" aria-modal="true" aria-labelledby="media-modal-title" tabindex="-1" class="media-modal wp-core-ui">

        <button type="button" class="...">...Close media panel...</button>

        <div class="media-modal-content">


            <div class="media-frame-title">

                <h1 id="media-modal-title">Featured Image<span class="dashicons dashicons-arrow-down"></span></h1>





Relevant standards

  • 1.3.1 Info and Relationships (Level A)
  • 4.1.2 Name, Role, Value (Level A)

Note: This issue may be a duplicate with other existing accessibility-related bugs in this project. This issue comes from the Gutenberg accessibility audit, performed by Tenon and funded by WP Campus. This issue is GUT-42 in Tenon's report

Attachments (3)

57186885-b0666e80-6e9b-11e9-8d39-929e679a2cb0.png (97.9 KB) - added by anevins 6 weeks ago.
47145.diff (5.2 KB) - added by afercia 18 hours ago.
media modal menu alignment.png (123.2 KB) - added by afercia 17 hours ago.
Media modal left menu new vertical alignment

Download all attachments as: .zip

Change History (6)

#1 @afercia
6 weeks ago

  • Component changed from Media to Administration

This applies to several modals in the admin. The media views use various modals. However, there are several other modals in WordPress that would need a solid accessibility treatment. Hopefully, also a standardized way to generate the modals.

See also #46985.

#2 @afercia
5 weeks ago

  • Milestone changed from Awaiting Review to 5.3

18 hours ago

#3 @afercia
17 hours ago

  • Keywords has-patch added; needs-patch removed
  • Owner set to afercia
  • Status changed from new to assigned

47145.diff is a first pass at implementing the ARIA dialog pattern.

It's important to note the media modal is used in different places in the admin and its content displays various "views", not only the one for the featured image. The media modal can also be used in the front end by themes and plugins authors.

Within the modal views there's some text content that is not associated to form controls. It's just text, often used as explanatory text. Using the role=dialog makes screen readers switch to "forms mode" and this textual content may be completely ignored. For this reason, the patch switches back the modal content to role=document, to ensure all content is available to assistive technologies.

The patch also moves the h1 heading before the menu in the source order. As the modal is now an ARIA dialog, the best practice is to have the h1 title be the first piece of content within the dialog.

To better communicate also visually that the h1 title is the first content in the modal, I'd like to propose to slightly move down the menu in the left sidebar. See attached screenshot.

The patch also makes sure to hide the page content, adding an aria-hidden attribute to the relevant body children. This part of the code is basically ported from the modal aria-helper implemented in Gutenberg.


  • try to move this code to wp.media.view.FocusManager: it makes sense to have DOM related methods separated from the views code and FocusManager seems the most appropriate place
  • ensure the modal dialog has a default h1 title: will split this to a separate ticket

Some testing would be nice :)

17 hours ago

Media modal left menu new vertical alignment

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