Drupal 8 Accessibility Sprint Roundup
Drupal's first Accessibility Sprint was a great success with around 30 people participating either on site or remotely. It was graciously hosted in the offices Evolving Web, where we were able to take advantage of their great location in the old port of Montreal. It was organized by the Montreal Drupal Association and we're really fortunate to have both accessibility maintainers present as Everett Zufelt & Brandon Bowersox-Johnson, were able to make their way up.
The biggest impact of the sprints are the things that you can never quantify. The building face-to-face relationships within the Drupal community is priceless. The vast majority of the people who came were Drupal developers (front and back-end) who were eager to learn more about accessibility issues. Being able to give motivated developers one-on-one training, will no doubt facilitate greater involvement.
We also had two well respected accessibility professional's join us who did not previously have much experience with Drupal. David MacDonald is a member of the WCAG 2 Working Group and on the HTML Accessibility Task Force. Denis Boudreau is the president of AccessibilitéWeb and is a well known accessibility evangelist who is also recognized by the W3C for his expertise in this field. Having fresh eyes looking at Drupal from an accessibility perspective was really useful!
We've already got quite a tweets because of improvements in the the documentation around accessibility. I've listed below some of the changes below but the theming guide received most of the love. As long time Drupal Documentation Team member Lee Hunter said, pages were completely rearranged into a more logical order, page titles rewritten to be more meaningful, related content scattered across multiple pages was brought together and lots of redundant or incorrect information was removed. In my opinion, the improvement was quite significant. There was also a new page created for accessibility best practices for developers.
We mostly used IRC for chatting online and the accessibility board was more active than I've ever seen it before, check out the Twitter stream at #drupal-accessibility. We didn't bring in anyone to discuss things during the sprint, over Skype like we have for DrupalCon BoF's, but continued to use the group chat for an ongoing discussion.
Quite a few Drupal organizations were present (Evolving Web, OpenConcept, Myplanet Digital, Koumbit, University of Waterloo, McGill University, Pixotech, & web meadow, & Kafei Interactive). And quite a few freelancers were also present.
We were effectively able to use Pantheon to get 10 people up to speed quickly on a live Drupal 8 implementation. Pantheon is offering trying to encourage Drupal 8 development by giving free access to developers.
The accessibility team (joined by web meadow's Eileen & Aaron) reviewed all of the outstanding issues for Drupal 8. This is a huge milestone as some of the issues were pretty complicated. We moved some issues out of the accessibility thread and into needs accessibility review since this more clearly stated our role. Some issues we just decided needed to have clearer documentation so that it would be easier for developers to adopt best practices.
Issue Discussion or Tagging (13):
- Node 1106344 - When displaying a term reference field headers aways renedered (invisible or not)
- Node 72197 - Forms should show explanation of required (*) fields
- Node 1511862 - Add Fieldsets to Advanced Search Form - Added a screenshot
- Node 1333292 - Screen-reader users receive no info about file upload status / success - Related to larger meta WAI-ARIA issue
- Node 314385 - Make position of #description configurable - WAI-ARIA can address accessibility issue
- Node 963598 - Users who cannot drag and drop require clear anchor text to find Dashboard Administration page
- Node 821702 - Replace Forum Icon Column with Topic Span - Good outline of what needs to be done in CSS
- Node 717708 - Custom logo requires custom alt attribute in core themes - Needs more documentation
- Node 882666 - Core form descriptions shouldn't use a label when not associated with a form - Waiting for screenshots
- Node 815144 - Imagefields should have the option to require Custom Alt text - Agreement between Bojhan & Everett on approach
- Node 325533 - Allow #fragment as a menu path
- Node 1413670 - Document 'show row weights' mode
- Node 1101600 - Users need to be able to select from list when adding menu items to a menu
Changing Issue Status - Usually to Minor (6):
- Node 925844 - Tabledrag 'Show row weights' link needs to be larger in Seven
- Node 1165476 - if t() string has no translation, text should have lang="en" & dir="ltr" - move to major
- Node 890284 - Unauthenticated users cannot disable Overlay
- Node 1328770 - Allow "skip to main content" visibility to be toggled.
- Node 1136680 - theme_more_link should have more context
- Node 1269166 - PRE tags have unreadable small font-size
New Drupal Accessibility Issues (3):
- Node 1638078 - Simplify complex form elements where possible
- Node 1643410 - Add ARIA landmarks for Seven theme
- Node 1645308 - Scope & Semantic Header Relationships Needed in theme_table()
Closed or Postponed Issues (12):
- Node 819724 - Improve tabledrag accessibility for screen-reader users with WAI-ARIA
- Node 1182522 - Use
- Node 919336 - When selecting a new formatter or editing settings focus context is lost
- Node 1623098 - Add HTML5 & ARIA for Required Form Elements
- Node 1096124 - Compose tips tables need better use of id's & summary elements
- Node 1361102 - Expose visually-hidden visibility for Field's Label in Manage Display
- Node 514008 - Allow
- Node 925838 - Dragon Naturally Speaking enumerations not appearing in Toolbar
- Node 925836 - Toolbar links not enumerated by Dragon Naturally Speaking when in Overlay
- Node 817176 - UI Pattern suggestion for better accessibility of table drag implementation
- Node 890288 - Improve Overlay accessibility for ARIA compliant user agents
- Node 1175830 - Research and implement accessible / reusable modal dialog
New Patches for Existing Issues (10):
- Node 134359 - Warn users about contrast problems when using the color module - Happened after sprint
- Node 1164682 - Switch language links need language identifier - Plus great feedback from Gabor
- Node 742344 - Allow forms to set custom validation error messages on required fields
- Node 504962 - Provide accessible labels (was "Use fieldset and legend") for compound form elements
- Node 849926 - links wrapped in .contextual-links-wrapper divs are not accessible at all via keyboard alone also problems with screen readers
- Node 1272870 - No semantics for nested comments / bad for screen-readers
- Node 1079010 - The secondary links heading, "Secondary menu", is wrong
- Node 933004 - Require #title for all form elements
- Node 1493324 - Inline form errors for accessibility and UX - Happened after sprint
- Node 998302 - 'Skip to main content' link links to region, not content - Committed to Core!
Needs Accessibility Review - Often Moved from Accessibility (9):
- Node 1636992 - General "changed" warning messages / dirty forms
- Node 466416 - Add Mouseover Title for dblog Entries
- Node 1344078 - Local image input filter in core
- Node 1291262 - Add 'alt' and 'title' tokenized text options for image formatters, and a 'title' option for the generic file formatter
- Node 1512194 - Use HTML5 datalists for autocomplete
- Node 1008522 - Ship D8 with an out-of-the-box WYSIWYG editor
- Node 504378 - Auto-save draggable forms
- Node 1635416 - Make drag & drop mobile friendly
- Node 1510532 - Implement the new create content page design
Non Core Accessibility Issues Addressed (4):
- Media - Node 1307054 - Media browser missing image alt and title fields - Testing patch
- Omega - Node 1503102 - Not accessible to keyboard only users - With a new patch
- Zen - Node 1638036 - Variations from Core's element-invisible - New issue
- File entity - Node 1553094 - Alt and Title support for Images
- Drupal Accessibility Statement
- Contribute to accessibility
- Creating accessible structure and markup - New
- Building accessible forms - New
- Accessibility tools and best practices for site builders - New
- Creating accessible site and page navigation
- Creating accessible themes
- Accessibility best practices - New
- Add accessibility information to Theming Guide
- Accessibility Issues in Contributed Modules
Other contributors (12):
- Liam Morland
- Jeff Burnz
This is a long list of things that were done. It doesn't really do justice to the weekend though, but should be considered a reasonable snapshot. More photos are available on Flickr.com with the tag A11ySprint.
About The Author
Mike Gifford is the founder of OpenConcept Consulting Inc, which he started in 1999. Since then, he has been particularly active in developing and extending open source content management systems to allow people to get closer to their content. Before starting OpenConcept, Mike had worked for a number of national NGOs including Oxfam Canada and Friends of the Earth.