By Mike Gifford on 12/03/2009
I've been trying to lead the charge on accessibility issues with Drupal 7 leading up to DrupalCon DC.  As Dries outlined in his keynote, we've got until Sept 1, 2009 before the feature freeze takes place, so time's precious.  Also, as Angie Byron noted, there are some accessibility issues that have been identified but not resolved for years.  So, now that WCAG 2.0 is out and there seems to be a renewed interest in accessibility I was quite happy to see the interest in participants at the conference.
Between the two Bird of a Feather (geeky breakout group) workshops that were organized on...
By Mike Gifford on 03/03/2009
I think there are a number of ways that Drupal 7 could be much more accessible out of the box than it is right now. I've spent a bit of time working on a few items to improve and document some accessibility enhancements. Spent some time going through WCAG 2.0 documentation & comparing it with Drupal Core. And have been making patches and proposing best practices enhancements for a number of projects.
I'm definitely much more of a PHP/MySQL developer, but the complexity of finding a neat solution that works for SEO, across all major browsers, and also with several screen readers is pretty...
By Mike Gifford on 20/01/2009
For a list of Accessibility issues for Drupal 7.
Wanted to make a brief announcement about a small patch that OpenConcept contributed to Drupal 7 to enhance accessibility.  Drupal's accessibility is quite good, but there are always ways to improve for any software.  In this case someone reported a problem with radio buttons where the tag was not being associated properly with the appropriate form elements. 
I looked at this problem, and rolled a patch for it (which included checkboxes as well) and then attached it to the project.  As was discussed at the March 2008 DrupalCon, unit testing is...
By Mike Gifford on 10/01/2009
I've been blogging a lot recently about accessibility.  This was started recently by the work that we have been doing around the Common Look and Feel of Government of Canada websites, but I've been involved in disability issues for a long time and so really would like to see the Internet be friendlier to a whole bunch of people with different abilities. 
If WCAG 2.0 is the current path to make information more accessible, it is in my best interests not only to have a checklist of items that our sites need in order to be Level A, AA or AAA compliant or more importantly get as many of them as I...
By Mike Gifford on 07/01/2009
I started a discussion about the need for unique strings withing the Drupal Groups Accessibility forum.  The new WCAG 2.0 standards discourage webmasters from linking to different places with the same text.  This does totally make sense and has some reasonable SEO implications as well.  "Read more" is useful only if you have the visual reference to know where it is situated.  "More about Example Article Title" is a much more descriptive way to link to a new page, but it is harder to program.  It's also difficult when you have other types of generic links at the bottom of a list of articles...
By Mike Gifford on 04/12/2008
I spent two days earlier this week in presentations to largely government employees about accessibility issues. It was organized by GOL Communications and we were invited largely to do with our work on the working to establish a collaborative CLF themes. 
There were more presentations about WCAG 2.0 than I'd ever heard prior to this event, and it was interesting to have it broken down int for principals that were pretty understandable.  We must all strive to make websites perceivable, operable, understandable & robust.  Surely focusing on those priorities as content developers would make...
By Mike Gifford on 18/11/2008
Last week Steve Lecomte and I met with Marquis Coté & Tamey McIntosh with digitalOttawa to talk about CLF 2.0 implementation/training and the launch of their new site It was good to hear about their vision for the site and where they hope to take the community.  The site just launched this morning, and it is clear that they will be starting to add a lot of content to the site to help support a move towards compliance. We're looking forward to seeing where this initiative goes and finding ways to collaborate with others in the community. 
Steve was able to make it to...
By Mike Gifford on 31/08/2008
We use validators for our themes in order to produce standards compliant websites (HTML, CSS, speed and accessibility).  We ran into this problem earlier in the week though with a theme we inherited from someone else.  The error was that not all of the characters included in the file were UTF-8, the new standard for international character sets. 
I believe that someone had just cut/paste the header values in from an old site and included them directly in the page.tpl.php file.  This isn't unusual when upgrading a site, but certainly demonstrates the importance of validation. As a result, the...
By Mike Gifford on 03/08/2007
OpenConcept is looking for Beta testers to help them evaluate our new political web service, Make The Change. We need application developers to take a look at the API we've outlined here, and suggest ways that it could be implemented for your projects.
We've provided an example for PHP, but there are lots of great folks out there who use Perl, Python and other neat development languages. We are rolling out tools for Drupal, but Joomla & Plone have big communities of users who could benefit from this technology too.
Like the folks at we believe that governments have a...
By Mike Gifford on 01/06/2007
Steve & I have prepared a short list of things to help prepare your organization when you loose your techie. Many organizations rely heavily on their techies, but don't have a plan in place to replace them when they leave. The following is a list of things that may help ensure that there is as little disruption as possible when a key technical staff person leaves.
Basic server/network access (for local machines, but also also dedicated or virtual servers)
how is user authentication managed?
what are the root and other administrator usernames / passwords.
are there routers, firewalls, or...