Mel Pedley


Mel is a mainstay of the WordPress volunteer accessibility group, devoted tirelessly to leading discussions and devising solutions. She offers WordPress and web design services at Black Widow Web Design. I asked her a few questions and she replied.

Shoe Size?

Um – none! I’m much happier padding around barefoot or in stocking feet, preferably in my own hand-knitted socks (what can I say – knitting socks is actually algorithmic & I have the PHP scripts to prove it).


Getting the current Make WordPress Accessible group up & running. The previous mailing list died almost as soon as it was created and there was a lot of negativity when this group was set up. It’s taken a while but I think we have a really good core group now with a growing following.

Biggest Challenge?

WordPress is huge – both in terms of scripts & its development community. Web accessibility, almost by definition, impacts almost every part of it. Trying to keep up with new developments and ensure that accessibility remains high on the list of priorities is a massive task.

Change Most Needed?

Information, feedback & practical suggestions. The will is actually there in many cases. It’s just that developers are unsure how to check for access barriers and what solutions they should be implementing. The more dialogue we initiate, the more chance we have of better, more informed, core developers.

Growth of Make WordPress Accessible?

More bodies! We need developers so that we have a range of skills to draw upon when advising core developers. Talking in generalities is all well & good but if we can come up with hard, practical suggestions (right down to what markup tags to use or a bit of jQuery that works), the far greater the chance that we will get the right changes implemented quickly. Longer term, it would be great to have devs with accessibility experience in every WPORG team submitting code patches.

Disabled Users Needed?

We also need more disabled users to get involved. The greater the range of disabled user groups we have working with us, the greater the chance of identifying barriers and removing them.