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SV: Accessible content management system

From: Morten Tollefsen <morten@medialt.no>
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 16:28:17 +0200
Message-ID: <EDA91A2F291B104FA26F01B9300235E46E3A1C@mlt-server-01.medialt.local>
To: "Terry Dean" <Terry.Dean@chariot.net.au>, "Ian Sharpe" <isforums@manx.net>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hi!

I find this discussion both typical, interesting and a little bit
frustrating:-)!

It is not surprising that developers want standards. Standards are of
course important for html, css. Smil, javascript, ... 

Accessibility on the other hand is more comparable with human aspects of
a service/app/site like: creativity, usability, beautifulness,
understandability, ... CMS typically are flexible and creative tools, so
- to say that all output is accessible is perhaps very difficult! It is
however possible to produce accessible contents using several CMSes.
Unfortunately most of these systems are not too accessible as production
tools (at least this is my experience). In my company we therefore
created our own CMS some years ago because about 50% of the staff is
visually impaired.

I've not seen a validator capable of telling us if a site look nice?
But, it is possible to figure out if the stylesheet is valid? I've not
seen a validator capable of telling us if a text/scheme is
understandable for a user, but it is possible to figure out if the html
code is valid. ... and so on! The same is more or less the case for
accessibility: it's fairly easy to validate but still end up with
important accessibility problems. In other words: WCAG and other
accessibility guidelines are great tools. Even with great tools it is
however possible to build bad things.

Guidelines for accessibility are extremely helpful and WAI has done (and
still does) great work! As involved in several large web projects
however, I am sometimes shocked when project spend hundreds of howers
discussing information architecture, interaction design, infrastructure
database architecture etc. etc. And to make the hole thing accessible a
set of "GUIDELINES" or in the best case a small user test some days
before the site is lunched should guarantee "usability for all".

In most cases accessibility and even good usability is fairly easy, but
if the goal is to end up with really successful results, the solution is
to include universal design as an integrated development criteria!
Someone need to engage an expert (like for most other areas, e. g. the
example areas mentioned above), while others have their own
accessibility resources. Expertise must include to be able to find a
representative test group. Everybody knows that user testing is
important, but in most cases serious testing is given little priority
(except in the principal speech:-).

- Morten
Received on Friday, 5 August 2011 14:28:53 GMT

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