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accessibility and content management systems [was: Re: PHP]

From: Chris Croome <chris@webarchitects.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 12:10:21 +0000
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <20020128121021.GF20768@webarchitects.co.uk>
Hi

On Fri 25-Jan-2002 at 02:13:58 -0500, Carol Foster wrote:
> 
> The issue I meant to focus on (and I am very interested in suggestions
> or how others handle it) is how best to maintain the accessibility of
> content added by people not trained as Web developers, maybe a lot of
> them, maybe with a lot of change in who does this, people who are in
> marketing or course administration, for example.  Typically (so far
> for our sites anyway) they enter only text and occasional links.  We
> can tell them about clear and simple language and meaningful link
> text, but should we give them more complete training?  Or constrain
> what they are allowed to put in? 

I think both, training and constraining, are needed. That's what I have
been doing with the content management system I'm working on.

Users have the option to enter plain text or HTML, with plain text two 
carriage returns are turned into </p><p> and all HTML is escaped. 

In terms of constraining what can be put in HTML textareas we [1] remove
all tags apart from these:

  abbr acronym address blockquote br cite code dfn div em h1 h2 h3 h4 h5
  h6 kbd p pre q samp span strong var dl dt dd ol ul li form input
  select option textarea button fieldset label legend optgroup caption
  table td th tr col colgroup tbody thead tfoot b big hr i small sub sup
  tt script 

We then pass all submitted content through HTML Tidy before entering it
into the database to ensure that the database only contains valid XML.

For hyperlinks people have to enter a URI, title and optional
description. All occurrences of the title in the document are turned into
hyperlinks, this, as a minimum, ensures that only one "click here" can
be created in a document and hopefully it encourages people to use
titles that make sense out of context.

In terms of training I always urge people to only use structural HTML
and not presentational HTML and the help documentation only covers
structural HTML [2].

I have had some success with this, but however many constraints are put
in place people will still create HTML that isn't as accessible as it
could be and training and education is really important.

Chris


[1] The people working on MKDoc, http://mkdoc.com/

[2] http://mkdoc.com/help/1/documents/content/html/

-- 
Chris Croome                               <chris@webarchitects.co.uk>
web design                             http://www.webarchitects.co.uk/ 
web content management                               http://mkdoc.com/   
everything else                               http://chris.croome.net/  
Received on Monday, 28 January 2002 07:10:34 GMT

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