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Wed

28

Nov

2012

Open to Everyone: Joomla Accessibility Goals
Written by Angie Radtke   
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 15:53

The international Joomla conference is behind us. It is always great meeting people face to face. It is at moments like this that things, often discussed at length, can be quickly and effectively brought into focus.

In version 3.0, we have accessibility issues in the frontend as well as the backend. The goal should be to fix them step by step. It will not happen overnight.

For this reason, we have established a working group to work in cooperation with the UX working group. The long-term goal is to make Joomla the first CMS that is really compliant with the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines.

Through our discussions, two primary approaches have emerged: the development of accessibility guidelines, and the fixing of recognised accessibility issues.

Let Us Bring Accessibility into Focus

It is important to generate an understanding of accessibility issues first.

A fundamental requirement for this is to create specific guidelines for developers so that we can provide targeted support. The guidelines should explain the benefits of accessibility for everyone, because only when you understand why you should do something, will you consider it. Otherwise it remains an annoying obligation. Developing guidelines is not easy and it will take time until they are practical to use.

Working on Accessibility Issues

A basic requirement for an accessible page that can be built upon, is semantically correct markup. So the first step is to optimize markup in the frontend as well as in the backend so that it can serve as a basis for further steps. Then we should take care of all points of the WCAG Priority A. The focus should be on massive accessibility problems. Fine-tuning can take place further along in the development process. It would be nice if this would be done by the release of version 3.1. The plan for version 3.2 is to fix things that are incurred under Priority AA.

The following is a feasible procedure: start by conducting a detailed examination of the initial situation, documenting issues and countermeasures.

With that documentation we can distribute tasks to the members of the group so that everyone is working on what he/she does best. After completion of the initial work, user tests shall be conducted.

Administrivia

Members of the group should be members of the UX Skype chats to facilitate communication. Decisions made will be published in the ux.joomla.org forum, in the Accessibility category. In addition, a separate branch should be created. It is yet to be determined where it will be positioned most accurately. The UX repository seems to be the most effective place for the branch, because design and code are closely related to each other. As JUI style guides are developed, the code examples there should be checked for accessibility to prevent future problems.

Whoever is interested in this topic and would like to be actively involved is welcome to join us !

Send an email to a.radtke@derauftritt.de.

Members:

  • Angie Radtke,
  • David Jardin,
  • TJ Baker,
  • Jenny Marriott,
  • Andrea Tarr