By Mike Gifford on 09/10/2016
Recently I was asked if there were any products or services that would give users equivalent or greater accessibility than WCAG 2.0 Level AA. This is part of the feedback process for a report on web accessibility for state and local governments.


In addressing this I wanted to make it clear that, at the root accessibility is about eliminating barriers to communications. Tim Berners-Lee saw the potential for the web being a great equalizer as it could allow people to communicate in a way which was completely inclusive. In practice, the web has evolved to provide barriers to 10-20...
By Mike Gifford on 26/10/2015
Drupal 8 accessibility logo.
The W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative has recently (24 September 2015) released it's recommendations for Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0. The process for releasing W3C guidelines is a long and arduous process. A Canadian institution, the Inclusive Design Institute, has taken a leadership role in creating these guidelines. If people were still hand crafting pages in raw HTML like I did when I started OpenConcept, this wouldn't be needed. Fortunately, almost everyone uses some editing tool to help them create web pages.
Now I still do editing with a plain text editor, vi,...
By Mike Gifford on 23/10/2015
Drupal 8 accessibility logo.

You may be familiar with the alternative text (alt) attribute that appears in <img> tags. The purpose of alt attributes is to provide a description of the contents of an image file. This description will appear when a user cannot see the image in their browser, when the image is searched on search engines, and in screen readers. But it is very easy to forget to include this text in your images and that is bad news for accessibility and SEO.


In Drupal 8, alt attributes are now set to required by default on images. The same goes for such elements like user images and image...
By Mike Gifford on 21/10/2015
Many of the accessibility changes that have been made in Drupal 8 are pretty subtle. Most people probably won't realize that there is a deeper blue in the header and probably won't care. There have been a lot of little changes in Drupal 8 though to improve colour contrast.
Many contributors to Drupal 8 Core check to see that Drupal adheres to accessibility standards. Colour Contrast is one of those standards. The Colour Contrast Guidelines are provided to assist those who are color blind or have low vision.
For most users, this may only affect them when they step outside with their mobile...
By Mike Gifford on 19/10/2015
Drupal accessibility logo.
Remember those pesky divs you typically saw on a lot of Drupal sites? Wouldn’t it be great if you could actually understand what each of those divs actually meant? Well worry no more, Drupal 8 Core comes packaged with HTML5 optimized markup!
If used HTML5 before, you’ll already know how big of an accessibility advantage this is. For those who haven’t, this blog is for you. Essentially the big difference between HTML5 and previous versions of HTML is semantics - how understandable and readable the code is. And HTML5 excels at it.

HTML5’s Semantic Markup
 The biggest different between...
By Mike Gifford on 16/10/2015
Drupal accessibility logo.
You probably wont notice it, but Drupal 8 comes packed with WAI-ARIA markup to ensure that your pages are as semantically correct as they can be out of the box. Who will notice it though is blind users who rely on additional meaning to be hard coded into the HTML of the site, rather than inferred from the visual cues on the page.
Let’s say you’ve got an employee named Jim who needs to navigate your Intranet site like all of your other employees. Jim’s legally blind, and the open-source screen reader NVDA to help him with his work. Jim, just wants to get to today’s tasks and doesn’t know...
By Mike Gifford on 15/10/2015

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
I’ve been thinking of the inspiring Martin Luther King Jr. quote and how much it has in common to web accessibility.


I don’t make this comparison lightly, but web accessibility is a serious social justice issue which has many parallels with the Civil Rights Movement which he led. People with disabilities are routinely barred from participating in public spaces, are limited in their economic and political opportunities and routinely discriminated against.


Legislation like the Accessibility for...
By Mike Gifford on 14/10/2015
Web accessibility is an important but often neglected piece of today’s web environment. Drupal 7 Core made a step in making the websites more accessible by default. Since it's release there have been improvements to Core's accessibility and also to the contributed modules to make the platform much more accessible.


Drupal 8 has added extensive support for accessibility in the Core. For anyone trying to make a barrier-free website, it is important to know what these features are and how each can be used.


Throughout this series we will look into the variety of...
By Mike Gifford on 08/10/2015
PDFs have served their purpose, but it is time to stop using them. Just as they have become convenient to use they have outlived their usefulness. PDFs need to be seen as the liability that they are.
PDFs were intended to be a Portable Document Format. Something that anyone could open and read in a common format. It’s been a way more professional way to send a document like a resume or annual report than using Microsoft Word.  There are far fewer concerns about virus’ or version numbers and it generally managed to lock in the look of the page.
I’ve been opposed to PDFs for a long time because...
By Claire-Isabelle Carlier on 18/08/2015
Drupal’s terminology can be confusing when you are not already familiar with it. I have gathered in this post essential terms that will should make non-technical people (or simply people new to Drupal)'s life easier. I'm happy to add to this list if people identify additional useful terms they feel need further definition.
Core refers to the code files that make up the default functionality of a Drupal site when you download it from  The functionality includes menu management, user management, system administration, design and layout, etc. Additional functionality can be...