Accessibility is becoming more and more important as organisations are required to make the digital footprint (both web and applications) accessible. The UK Government has released new regulations and any public sector organisation is required to make some important changes and failing to do so could result in fines. In this article, we look at how Drupal approaches accessibility and what plans they have to the core, themes and contributed modules.
Is Your Drupal Installation Accessible?
Drupal is a community, which has a commitment to making sure that their systems are accessible so anyone building websites in Drupal can deliver a web solution which can be accessed by anyone with disabilities. These initiatives started with advancements with Drupal 7 accessibility. Drupal is committed to ensuring that all features of the core system conform to the W3C guidelines: WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 2.0. Drupal has also made promises, where it is possible, to also update the previous version of core, version 6, to enhance its accessibility features. This proves their level of commitment to their users.
There is further good news too, if you use assistive technologies and screen readers, you will be pleased to learn that Drupal has made big changes to their systems and they encourage and support the proper use of semantic markup. For example, you will be able to use headings reliably for page level navigation. The accessibility team within Drupal has worked hard to identify accessibility barriers with their system and have now resolved them.
Drupal has identified, and solved, issues in Drupal 7 core. They have added additional support for Rich Internet Applications by adding some WAI-ARIA support. There have been many improvements to both the visitor and administrator sides of Drupal, especially the following:
- Search engine form and presentation
- Drag and drop functionality
- Color contrast and intensity
- Adding skip navigation to core themes
- Image handling
- Form labeling
- Removing duplicate or null tags
The Government in the United Kingdom has made accessibility one of their priorities and set out new regulations. They state that any public sector organisation must make the relevant changes before a certain deadline. These regulations apply to both a website and mobile application. When will it become UK law that private sector organisations have to adhere to these rules too?
Accessibility & Drupal Modules
Drupal has suggested that users look for the D7AX hashtag on the page of each module you download to a project. D7AX on the download page means the developer of that module has followed their resources for developing accessible modules, good hey! This means that they have done all they know to ensure that the modules they have developed, and the content produced by them, are accessible.
Drupal Themes & Accessibility
When working with themes it can bring several accessibility challenges to a developer and many of these challenges are implemented at the theme layers. Similar to Drupal’s contributed modules, the D7AX hashtag marks themes too. Drupal also has an Accessibility handbook and a Theming Guide Accessibility section that they have published. This book helps to make things easier for developers and themers so they understand what the best practices. The book is designed to help them deliver and create a website which is accessible to users with disabilities.
Drupal has their own group dedicated to accessibility. The Drupal Accessibility Group want to hear from you anyone, developers and users if they any concerns in relation to accessibility. If you have questions or would like to raise a concern or a bug please get in touch with the group. The community is usually very responsive to constructive user feedback, and they welcome any feedback from you. For more information about Drupal and their committment to accessibility please visit their website.
Accessibility and Beyonce hit the news last week and the female American singer is reportedly being sued by a disabled fan who tried to access her site.
Concerned about accessibility for your Drupal project? Find a Drupal agency who has the experience and knowledge to make the required changes to your site. You can search for agencies and apply certain filters to find specialists who can provide modifications to your theme.