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.

Accessibility

Mike Gifford
April 10, 2013

I first encountered @falcon03 in the Drupal 8 issue queue in September of 2012. At that point I didn't know why he was interested in accessibility issues or what, if anything, he had to contribute to the discussion. With the Drupal 7 Core issue queues, over 400 people have participated in the discussions, patches and tests. Most are active on just a couple issues out of the many that were tagged with accessibility. A few of the participants, like Jason Kiss, had extensive accessibility experience. However, it was always a challenge to know if an individual has a disability or just thinks it is the right thing to do.

Mike Gifford
March 25, 2013

We really enjoyed the opportunity to be part of organizing Ottawa's first DrupalCamp.

Mike Kaulbars
March 15, 2013
Laura Scott posted an excellent article at Pingv that makes the case which OpenConcept hopes every Drupal 6 user w
Mike Gifford
February 13, 2013

We were happy to see that at the end of 2012, the main website for the Government of Ontario(GoO) moved to Drupal 7.  Their new site demonstrates that it is possible to have a visually interesting site that meets the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act(AODA).  Many folks reading this blog post will know that the AODA requires a wide range of organizations within Ontario to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 AA). WCAG is an International standard organized by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), they are responsible for a number of standards for the Internet including the specification for HTML5.  The new Drupal site is also using modern HTML5, which has benefits in providing more semantic markup.

There are many aspects of their new site that benefits from the accessibility work that OpenConcept has lead over the last five years.  The Ontario.ca site is very interactive and most of the elements like the contact us form meet WCAG 2.0 AA compliance by default.  Because the Drupal community has worked to make all elements of Drupal accessible, labels are by default associated with most custom web forms.

Mike Gifford
January 21, 2013

We've been strategizing, evaluating & deploying the Government of Canada's (GoC) Drupal 7 Web eXperience Toolkit (WxT) since it was first released over a year ago.  We've implemented this for government agencies inside & outside the GoC because it is clear that so many agencies need to meet the dual challenge of a site which is both bilingual & accessible. 

The Drupal Variant of the Web eXperience Toolkit is an open platform for web publishing which has a critical mass of public sector agencies collaborating with it publicly in GitHub.   It is also exciting to see institutions like the University of Ottawa adopting it because of their need to ensure that their website is fully bilingual and meets WCAG 2.0 AA.

Mike Gifford
January 3, 2012

Really like this article: An In Depth Analysis of HTML5 Multimedia and Accessibility.

Mike Gifford
November 28, 2011

I was pointed to this great resource on Plains Cree (nêhiyawêwin) links but it still doesn't have much information about presenting this language on the web.

Mike Gifford
November 14, 2011

OpenConcept has been participating working in the work of building a Drupal theme for the Treasury Board Secretariat's Common Look & Feel (CLF) for a number of years now. We started distributing one in 2008 based on the Zen theme & Drupal 6.

Mike Gifford
October 26, 2011

Recently as we've been working on enhancements to Drupal 8, we run into several situations where we are looking at the jQuery library.

Mike Gifford
October 18, 2011

Last year I was approached by Jennison Asuncion who has been instigating a number of innovative grassroots efforts to get people talking about accessibility issues.

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