14.0 Accessibility


We’ve said lots of times that we’re really interested in accessibility and that we’ll be keeping accessibility issues and guidelines in mind as a part of our user experience design process for D7UX, well, I’m happy to report that we are really kicking that into gear, and we’re starting by having a big pow-wow with a really expert in the field. We’re going to be spending We spent the day on Wednesday (13 May) with Ann McMeekin, an Accessibility Expert who is also an invited expert on the Authoring Tools Accessibility Guideline Working Group (AUWG). Ann is going to give us some advice on how we can contribute to making Drupal7 compliant with the impending Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0

We’re going to open up this thread to discussions around Accessibility, but first up I’d like to ‘open the floor’ to you all and give you the chance to your thoughts/issues/ideas/questions through to Ann for her consideration.

So, if there’s anything you think that you’d like us to ask Ann, or to draw her attention to, the please let us know in the comments below and we’ll include it in our discussions on Wednesday and be back here with some feedback! Ann can take a look and give you her feedback or make sure it’s being taken into account where appropriate.

Rough transcript of the video (so that you don’t have watch it if you’re not so inclined):

  • introducing Ann, a freelance accessibility consultant with about 5yrs experience, previously at RNIB . She helps people make websites better for people with disabilities and in turn for everyone
  • Why get Ann involved so early? Accessibility like Usability quite often comes to the table far too late. Ann thinks it is a great opportunity to get involved so early so that she can direct the design and production effort rather than having to ‘audit’ and require ‘rework’. Ann is able to pick out things that look like they might be problem areas so that we can design things in the best way to support good accessibility.
  • Ann has reviewed a lot of the work done to date – her initial feedback is that so far there is nothing she’s seen that has made her throw her hands up in horror. She thinks there are some really interesting things going on in what we’re doing to try to create a rich experience, but this can be challenging, but the work she’s seen so far has scope for the implementation to work for everyone – she’s confident we’ll be able to create a good UX for everyone.
  • Some of the challenges that these rich experiences pose for accessibility, esp. ajax and screenreaders. There are lots of technical challenges that don’t yet have solutions but this also poses a great opportunity to find ways to make these implementation successful. Thinking about how to implement that into the work now means that as the browser and screenreader technology improves the ‘hacks’ that are required now can simply be removed later on. The important thing is to ensure that the base level experience is a good one and that the richness is just an added extra. Basic things like form interaction, when it’s done well the ‘accessible’ experience is great, you don’t feel like you’ve got a less good experience even though you don’t have all the fancy JavaScript.
  • Authoring Tools Accessibility isn’t just about having a system that is accessible, it’s also about designing a system that helps people make good decisions about accessibility as they are building sites using Drupal. (Which is v familar to our design principle of helping people make good design/UX decisions when making sites with Drupal).