Drupal 8 Accessibility Sprint Roundup



June 18, 2012

After Sprint BeersDrupal'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):

Changing Issue Status - Usually to Minor (6):

New Drupal Accessibility Issues (3):

Closed or Postponed Issues (12):

New Patches for Existing Issues (10):

Needs Accessibility Review - Often Moved from Accessibility (9):

Non Core Accessibility Issues Addressed (4):

Documentation (11):

Other contributors (12):


Tweeters (13):

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.