Accessibility is a very important topic here at Open Concept, as our own Mike Gifford is a champion for accessibility and an organizer for the Drupal Group on Accessibility. As someone with a background in both health and information studies, I understand the necessity of designing a website to cater to the diverse users who need to access essential information. With limited knowledge of where Drupal is at in regards to accessibility, I set out to learn about the issues and new developments coming out of DrupalCon Portland.
By Mike Gifford
Here's a summary of accessibility presentations from DrupalCon San Francisco & Chicago. I've put them in an order that I hope will allow people who know nothing about web accessibility to progress through a rather complex subject. All DrupalCon videos are stored on Archive.org which now also has an option for using HTML5 video.
This is my first time using this great new HTML5 tag to embed a video. It's also a great space to highlight that there are as yet no captions available for these videos & I've yet to figure out how to make the controls accessible to keyboard only users & screen readers. I'll certainly look at what options I can come up with using tools like Universal Subtitles & YouTube's Auto-Captioning. I've added Universal Subtitles so we can start adding captions to these videos. I also ran these all through the Videos for Everyone generator so that it would be available in Flash & HTML5.
Everett Zufelt - Accessibility of Custom User Interface Components using WAI-ARIA at DrupalCon Munich 2012
Everett Zufelt most recently gave a talk on Accessibility of Custom User Interface Components using WAI-ARIA. Also looking ahead to Drupal 8 at the Spark Initiative.
Dries Buayert Keynote Address at DrupalCon Chicago 2011
Although it certainly is not focused on accessibility, it's really useful to see Dries describe how he sees accessibility being incorporated in the Drupal 8 process. There were a lot of lessons to be learned through the development of Drupal 7. Usability, accessibility & performance will now be gates for future features are judged before getting into core. This is a huge step to acknowledge the importance of accessibility within the Drupal community.
View Dries Buayert keynote (March 8, 2011) on Archive.org
Brandon Bowersox & Hadi Rangin - Intro to Accessible Site-Building in Drupal
What should you do when your client or boss tells you to make your Drupal website accessible? This session covers the important tools you'll need to implement accessibility of your site — the theme, public content, and authenticated user interface. We will cover every stage of a project including planning for accessibility, selecting modules, theming, and testing. We’ll provide lots of tools and resources for testing and ensuring accessibility. Some themes that are more accessible than others and we’ll tell you which.
What is the state of accessibility in Drupal 7 and what levels of accessibility you can reasonably expect from Drupal core and contrib modules. We’ll take lots of questions and look at real world examples. The presenter, Brandon Bowersox from OJC Technologies, has built many accessible websites in Drupal, including the Iowa Department for the Blind website, and has contributed numerous accessibility enhancements that are built into Drupal 7 core. Note: unlike the other video posters, this one isn't from the presentation, but rather from a BoF which Brandon & Hadi were involved.
View Brandon & Hadi's presentation on Archive.org on Archive.org
Jon Gunderson - Free and Open Source Tools for Integrating Web Accessibility into the Design Process
This session will present free and open source tools that can be used to evaluate the accessibility of web resources to people with disabilities. The tools include the Fangs for Firefox, Color Contrast Analyzer, WAVE technologies from WebAIM, Functional Accessibility Evaluator, the Accessibility Evaluator for Firefox and the AInspector for Firebug. The session will discuss the advantages and pitfalls of using assistive technologies like Screen readers to assess accessibility, including screen readers like Jaws, WindowEyes and Non-Visual Desktop Application (NVDA).
The session will discuss the strengths and weakness of the various tools for evaluating web accessibility. A best practices methodology will be introduced to design accessibility into web resources at deign time and references the new accessibility features found in Drupal 7 will be included. The session overall goal is to help web developers integrate accessibility into the design process rather than wait until the end of development to address accessibility issues.
View Jon's summary of evaluation tools on Archive.org
Katherine Lynch - Accessibility in Drupal 6 and Drupal 7
As technology advances, it is more important than ever to code with web accessibility in mind. Web accessibility measures help users with disabilities related to limitations of vision, hearing, learning, cognition, and motor skills to use the web effectively. This session will feature videos of disabled users interacting with Drupal websites and the admin interface of Drupal 6 and Drupal 7. Through these videos, attendees will be provided with valuable insight into the user experience in many new cases. In this session, attendees will learn about:
- Fundamentals of web accessibility
- How web accessibility measures benefit all users and can optimize a website
- How to write accessible code for modules and themes incorporating AJAX, dynamic content, and rich media accessibly
- Using WAI-ARIA to maximize accessibility
- Making a Drupal site accessible from a fresh install
- How to address common web accessibility issues and fix them without negatively impacting a site
The web can be made usable and accessible for all users. Drupal developers can help make the web a better place for everyone, by contributing modules, writing themes, setting up sites, or coaching clients. This session will help attendees learn new skills for addressing web accessibility and creating a fair, equal user experience for everyone.
View Katherine's Module/Theme introduction on Archive.org
Katherine Lynch - Advanced Accessibility in Drupal
As Drupal and Web technologies advance, so does accessibility. New techniques, protocols, and technologies have emerged for opening up the Web to as many users as possible. Drupal development makes it easy to incorporate advanced techniques for accessibility into any contributed module or theme. This presentation will detail new techniques for making the user experience on Drupal sites as equal and usable as possible for all users, regardless of any disability.
View Katherine's Advanced Video directly on Archive.org