Making your site accessible is much more than a legal or moral obligation, it is simply good business

If you are looking to make your website accessible, it is often cheaper to migrate it to Drupal 7 than to attempt to retrofit your existing site. 

If you've got a Drupal site and want to make it sure it complies with standards like WCAG & ATAG we can help! Web accessibility is complicated, so let us help make implementation easier for you!

We can help you migrate your site to Drupal 7 and are actively building Drupal 8 so that we can continue to be the most accessible Content Management Framework available today.  

With our help, we can set up your site with current best practices for your themes, modules we can also build systems to help your content editors produce better content.

It's particularly an issue for your organization if:

  • you work in government, or often work with government departments
  • your member/support base is older, and/or moving into that demographic (e.g. boomers);
  • you are legally obligated to be/become compliant (do you know if you are or will be soon?);
  • you are any sort of human rights organization.

We can all agree that accessibility is important, but what does that actually mean?

OpenConcept has made accessibility one of our core areas of expertise and we can help make your website meet the accepted standards. With OpenConcept you get the expertise and experience that ensures that your Drupal website does what you want reliably and safely for the full life cycle of the site.

Core solutions

OpenConcept is committed to producing accessible websites.  Our company is actively working to create a better world and working for to reduce the barriers to disabled people is something we've been able to contribute.  The Internet is a vital way for people to learn & interact with friends, but also with organizations and government agencies that we all depend on.  

We realized that we could make a bigger impact to improve accessibility if we focused on fixing the problems at the source.  By working with the Drupal community (which also uses libraries like jQuery & CKEditor) we have been able to solve accessibility problems for a huge percentage of the Internet.

Best Practices

We have built this site as a demonstration of what is possible with Drupal 7 and also as a means to develop best practices for the community to consider.  OpenConcept has spearheaded the accessibility initiative within the Drupal community and is engaged in developing, documenting and sharing best practices. 

This site has not been fully evaluated against WCAG 2.0 guidelines, but we are always evolving our approach and improving it so that we can remove barriers for everyone.  We are watching the adoption of the global WCAG guidelines in Ontario with the AODA, Quebec's SGQRI 008 & the USA's updated Section 508 guidelines.

We also are participating in the Government of Canada's Web Experience Toolkit (WET). By being involved in these initiatives we are always learning new ways to make our work more inclusive.

Accessibility & Compliance

We believe that accessibility isn't about checklists, but rather about being inclusive as we approach developing our site and our content. Although we have a great deal of respect for the WAI's guidelines we see them as being only part of our approach.

We use automated testing tools like WebAIM's WAVE & FAE to quickly check our site on an ongoing basis.  We encourage others to do this as well and send us feedback on ways we can improve.

We also encourage people to write to us to inform us about barriers that they meet when accessing our site.  The feedback form below will help us identify and fix the problem.

Debated Options

Because we are involved in the broader web accessibility community, we are always re-considering the techniques used in this site.  Presently, we have not enabled a text resizing widget on our site because we want to direct folks so that they learn how to use their browser.

We have also decided not to implement access keys at this time because implementation has been too inconsistently applied at this point and we believe that they cause more problems than they solve. If you have strong opinions about this, please let us know.

New Solutions

This site is built with Drupal but our implementation presents our users with HTML5, CSS3 and WAI-ARIA. Although widely supported by web browsers best practices have yet to be established for these new standards.  

We are confident that moving forward with this framework, built on Drupal 7, that we will make our site as universally accessible as possible.  For more about our accessibility efforts, please refer to our accessibility blog.

We make mistakes though, so if there are ways that we could help eliminate barriers that are stopping you from using our site, please let us know.  If you have problems accessing this form you can also send us an email or a message on Twitter.


Mike Gifford
September 26, 2014

Web accessibility is complicated. The technology is constantly changing as is how we are using the medium. The Web has become a critical means of simply participating in our society and many people are simply excluded from participation.

Knowbility has offered a training on Web Accessibility since Section 508 was adopted back in 1998. Working with people with disabilities, this community has been a hub for training web developers about how to build barrier free sites.

Chris Wright
September 2, 2014

CodeFest was a great introduction to an important project for me. The organizers were careful to provide a solid mix of topical talks and technical explanations. I often, over the two afternoons, had to make a tough choice between two interesting talks. It was a nice problem to have.

Mike Gifford
July 10, 2014

I am presenting at Ottawa's first Accessibility Summit.

Mike Gifford
May 15, 2014

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) began pretty well this year for us. I started by participating in Inclusive Design 24 (#ID24) with a 7am presentation. For those who missed it the talk live, a recording should be available soon.  In the interim, I quickly posted the presentation to SlideShare. We wanted to talk about how Drupal got it's accessibility advantage. 

We are also happy that we were able to organize a sold out GAAD lunch talk at HubOttawa.

Jesse Payne
December 3, 2013
Working recently with an accessibility focus group has provided some very useful insight into areas where we can make some quick accessibility improvements to Drupal 7.
Mike Gifford
June 11, 2013

Buckminster Fuller was a real visionary, but he died in 1983 and the backbone of the Internet TCP/IP was only standardized in 1982, so it would be hard to imagine how he would have been able foresee either the World Wide Web, let alone the re-thinking of intellectual property that has come about with the growth of Free Software (or Open Source Software). He definitely thought out of the box as he strove to "make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation."

Stephanie Mair
June 11, 2013

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.

Mike Gifford
June 10, 2013

We did it! The Drupal community successfully

April 26, 2013

T-Base Communications has been providing listen-ready and touch-ready contractual and customer management materials across North America since 1994 and fully understands the complex processes that are shaping the alternate format industry, literally pioneering the standards adopted by government and industry.

April 26, 2013

In the City of Ottawa's Drupal implementation we focused on the implementation of mapping services, improving accessibility and managing the thousands of old URLs to the new location. We also implemented a bilingual and accessible Drupal distribution which was developed as part of the Government of Canada's Web Experience Toolkit.