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FW: Accessible content management system

From: Richards, Jan <jrichards@ocad.ca>
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2011 15:20:37 +0000
To: "w3c-wai-au@w3.org" <w3c-wai-au@w3.org>
CC: Mike Gifford <mike@openconcept.ca>
Message-ID: <0B1EB1C972BCB740B522ACBCD5F48DEB03677D6E@ocadmail-maildb.ocad.ca>
Hi all,

Here is some information from Mike Gifford re: Drupal as a possible implementer for ATAG 2.0:

I do think this is quite an interesting exercise.  I'm not sure I'm going to have much time at all to participate, but do want to chime in about a few things.

I've got a pretty limited view of accessibility in many ways, but have done a lot of work to improve Drupal's accessibility.  I'm proud of many of the accomplishments we've brought into Drupal 7 and see it as being the CMS to beat as far as core accessibility goes.  I've blogged about a few items here:

Now, specifically with this updated draft document I do have some concerns.  One is that there are very few web tools that have undergone a full, comprehensive WCAG 2.0 evaluation.  I've advocated for evaluations of Drupal.  A brief review of one implementation is found here:

But that wasn't exhaustive of Drupal core let alone the thousands of contributed modules that are being used by the Drupal community.  There may be others that can be found by contacting people here:

We have made great efforts to "Ensure that web-based functionality is accessible." and it has gone through pretty comprehensive tests with screen readers thanks to Everett.  The CMS can be installed, administered, edited & used by a blind user.  This is a huge advance over Drupal 6, but that doesn't mean that it is WCAG 2.0 AA compliant throughout the whole interface.  That's certainly the goal we were striving for, and can pick out examples where we have made advancements in this area.  However, certainly with colour contrast in the default admin theme there are problems stopping it from being AA.  Even here though, it is easy enough to swap with another theme that does or simply alter the values of the CSS.

Some of the examples I hold up as Drupal's innovations are with things like alternatives to CSS display none.  Setting explicit classes in the core code to hide content from everyone, to make it visible only to those using screen readers & making it visible on focus.  Setting up this framework & ensuring that it is consistently implemented in core means that there is a strong example that can be easily followed by the contributed modules.

I also see the advances in the Forms API as being key.  Not all CMS's have this type of infrastructure, but introducing labels & invisible labels into the API has been a huge step forward for accessibility.  It's a pattern that makes it simple & usable for contributed modules to make their interactive forms accessible in a very straight forward fashion.

We have tested to see that Drupal 7 is accessible to keyboard only users, but even with a simple installation on the admin side there are a lot of functions to test & evaluate.  We haven't heard any problems with critical problems for keyboard only users since it's launch in January, but this is crowd sourced information rather than a systematic evaluation.  There is a list of issues for Drupal core here that is being addressed in Drupal 8 & then backported:

There are issues listed for keyboard only users, but there are other ways to gain access to that information or control those parts of the interface.  It's not perfect, but it is workable.

I'm just not sure how to turn this into a useful list of examples of best practices rather than simply a sales document.  Is there going to be any 3rd party evaluation of the claims listed?

I'm hopeful that this can be a very useful process.  I presented a session at http://www.accessconf.ca earlier this year with will be online soon.  I wanted to present some of the best practices we implemented that could be followed by others.


Mike Gifford, OpenConcept Consulting Inc.
Free Software for Social Change -> http://openconcept.ca
http://twitter.com/mgifford | http://delicious.com/mgifford
Received on Friday, 12 August 2011 15:21:13 UTC

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