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Re: Accessible content management system

From: Cliff Tyllick <cliff.tyllick@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2011 05:19:06 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <1312633146.51870.YahooMailNeo@web112517.mail.gq1.yahoo.com>
To: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>, "joshue.oconnor@ncbi.ie" <joshue.oconnor@ncbi.ie>, "isforums@manx.net" <isforums@manx.net>
Cc: 'Terry Dean' <Terry.Dean@chariot.net.au>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
John, I couldn't agree more. And I must say that I appreciate all the love I'm feeling for the approach we're taking with Drupal.

Terry, to answer your question about conformance, our target for Drupal 7 was for the core features of the application to conform with WCAG 2.0 at Level AA. From my perspective of tracking individual issues and trying to help developers find answers that would, in fact, be accessible with a reasonably broad range of versions of browsers and assistive technology, I am frankly not sure that we met that target. In other words, I know what we're trying to do, but I haven't had a chance yet to document our progress. So we might not have hit Level AA, but I would be surprised if we fell short of hitting Level A.

The volunteers who have participated in this work include people with disabilities—blindness and mobility impairment. So this wasn't just an exercise in meeting a standard. Real people did the testing to confirm that a proposed solution was, in fact, usable.

That said, Drupal is a complex program intended to be highly configurable by a skilled developer. Although another group is working to make Drupal offer more consistent out-of-the-box usability—and they've achieved quite a bit in this regard—there is no getting around the fact that it isn't a tool just anyone can use.

Nonetheless, in the process we have taught a number of module developers and themers quite a bit about accessibility, and we obtained a commitment from many of them to make accessibility a priority for the future. So even many of the contributed modules and themes for Drupal will be made more accessible.

We have targeted areas that need improvement to make Drupal better support the creation of accessible content. But, as ATAG 2.0 recognizes, no authoring tool can guarantee that the sites created from it are fully accessible. Ultimately, that depends wholly on the skill and knowledge of the site's developer. But to that end, we are working to provide better documentation and support for developers to learn more about making their sites accessible.

Finally, I'd like to point out that fully conforming with WCAG 2.0 at Level AA actually ensures that a site or tool will be inaccessible to at least some people. Specifically, conforming with the guideline for color contrast (WCAG 2.0, Guideline 1.4.3) creates a barrier for many people who have low moderate vision. They actually need fairly low contrast to comfortably work with Web content. And so we're trying to get support for a feature in Drupal that would enable each user to set the color combinations that work best for them. That might be a ways off, but it is one example of how we are thinking beyond the guidelines in an effort to achieve real accessibility to everyone. 

And that's not bad for an all-volunteer, open-source project.

If you have ideas for making Drupal better, you're welcome to join the conversation at drupal.org, where one of our current initiatives is to document Drupal's conformance with ATAG 2.0. In that project, documented successes will be submitted to WAI for use by the appropriate working group, and documented failures will become issues in the issue queue for the development of current and future versions of Drupal.

Best regards,

Cliff Tyllick

From: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
To: joshue.oconnor@ncbi.ie; isforums@manx.net
Cc: 'Terry Dean' <Terry.Dean@chariot.net.au>; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Sent: Friday, August 5, 2011 10:58 AM
Subject: RE: Accessible content management system

I'll add my +1 here. I have come to the point long ago where end-users
*MUST* trump conformance: for example using ARIA in HTML 4 or XHTML1 is
"non-conformant" and will fail a validator test. So what? Remove ARIA to
get a conformance badge? Or include ARIA for improved accessibility and
fail the validator?

The choice is transparently clear to this camper. A validator is a useful
tool to ensure you've not made a total mess of your source code, but it is
no guarantee what-so-ever of an accessible site - at best validation hints
that the developer cares enough, and so likely there will be few access

Ian, you are far from alone here.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On
> Behalf Of Joshue O Connor
> Sent: Friday, August 05, 2011 4:51 AM
> To: isforums@manx.net
> Cc: 'Terry Dean'; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Accessible content management system
> Hi Ian,
> > As mentioned previously, I personally do not view accessibility
> solely in
> > terms of conformance. And at the risk of being branded a heretic, I
> > personally would also like to see this view more widely accepted..
> You are not alone in this view, I also share it.
> Cheers
> Josh
Received on Saturday, 6 August 2011 12:19:34 UTC

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