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Re: Accessible _content_ management

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2002 08:27:24 -0700
Message-Id: <a05101006b9422f041501@[10.0.1.7]>
To: Andrew McFarland <andrew.mcfarland@unite.net>, wai-ig list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

At 8:46 AM +0100 6/27/02, Andrew McFarland wrote:
>Are accessible content management systems hard to come by?

Yes.

>I'm fairly confident ours could be made accessible out of the box - 
>it should be more or less A-compliance anyway.

Well, in theory it should be easy.  Content management systems are
actually a great boon for accessibility because they force a greater
separation of content from navigation/appearance/layout (templates).
This is only a good thing, as it forces site operators to think in
separation terms which are amenable to accessibility.

In practice, many content management systems which could be made
accessible still have a ways to go when it comes to the actual
management part of it.  Making the output accessible is easy enough;
you just need decent templates and code, and you can produce WCAG
and HTML/XHTML compliant output.

The trickier part is making the administrative user interface
accessible, and in that the CMS has to conform not only to WCAG
guidelines but also to (IMO) the Authoring Tool Accessibility
Guidelines as it's an authoring tool.

My own experience with CMS companies has been rather negative, as
even after Reef acquired Edapta, they were still amazingly and
unresaonably opposed to making the kinds of changes to their CMS
that would allow it to be used by people with special needs to
produce content.  Massaging the system enough to make accessible
output was easy enough -- once you figured out how to get around
the fact that it didn't allow ALT attributes on IMG tags -- but
the real problem was the admin side itself.  I guess disabled
people are only supposed to "view" the Web and not "publish" to
the Web, from what I was told.  Well, anyway, Reef's business
strategies have karmically come back to haunt them anyway, so I
guess it doesn't matter after all. :)

It is a shame, though, that what could have been the most
accessible off-the-shelf content management system instead just
turned out to be a pipe dream.

--Kynn, bitter much?

-- 
Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                 http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain            http://idyllmtn.com
Next Book: Teach Yourself CSS in 24       http://cssin24hours.com
Kynn on Web Accessibility ->>          http://kynn.com/+sitepoint
Received on Friday, 28 June 2002 11:29:39 GMT

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