[support] block with latest 3 sticky posts

inkfree press inkfree at gmail.com
Fri Oct 20 14:44:01 UTC 2006

"Kobus Myburgh" wrote:

> PS: Laura, I doubt Mohammed would mind me saying this - he is blind, so Views
> may be a bit daunting for him.

Not to mention the ironic naming of the module, in this case.

> I have to take my hat off for Mohammed for
> trying so hard to make things work under his circumstances, and managing most
> of the stuff without contacting the help list. He has been using Drupal since
> 4.6.1 or something like that, and I have helped him a few times off-list to
> get some stuff done. Perhaps we should get a team together to focus
> specifically on usability for visually impaired users in the next version (>
> 5.0) of Drupal? Comments?

I have not commented on the recent threads related to
usability/accessibility and specifically the use of Drupal by the visually
impaired.  However, this is an important issue to me, and to the community.

The suggestion to get a "team" together is a very good one.  An
Accessibility Working Group could be useful ... or it could be a disaster.

Firstly, any kind of AWG (for brevity) would need the support of those who
are in a position to actually do something about "enforcement" in
contributed and core code.

Secondly, the scope of any AWG would extend to both the underlying API and
all theme-related functionality.   No theme should _ever_ be distributed
(especially as core) which does not validate XHTML and which does not pass
some commonly accepted automated accessibility testing (Bobby certification,
for example).

Some links are included at the end of this message for further reading on

With the very common (in the U.S., anyway) use of Drupal by non-profits,
election campaigns and others where there might be some overlap with Federal
or State funds, there could be very serious legal exposure for _not_
complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The ADA extends
to web sites, and when a web site excludes certain individuals because of a
disability, then it may violate that person's rights under the ADA.

The _core Drupal theme_ should be 100% valid markup and should pass a 508
accessibility test.

The exact legal responsibility of your web site I will leave to you and your
lawyer, but in general, when I work with any non-profit or quasi-public
organization, I find it useful to outline accessibility issues very early,
so that additional resources (planning, development, testing) can be
included in the costs of building a web site.

(I am not a lawyer, and I am condensing and simplifying here, of course.)

In short:  Yes, Kobus.  We need an accessibility group.  Even to "endorse" a
theme as drawing "accessible" markup or not is a worthy goal.

As Drupal starts to include more rich application components (AJAX, for
example) these issues become even more important than ever before.  Now is
the time for Drupal to get serious about being fully accessible, before core
technologies get embedded in such a way that improving accessibility becomes
increasingly complicated and time-consuming.

> (2006-09-26)
> Accessibility for Rich Internet Applications: WAI-ARIA Suite Debuts
> W3C WAI's work on accessibility of AJAX, DHTML, and other rich Internet
> application technologies is published as First Public Working Drafts. WAI
> encourages review and comments. See:
>   * W3C Announces Roadmap for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA)
> press release


>   * Call for Review: Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) Working
> Drafts


> For information on how Working Drafts are developed, see: How WAI Develops
> Accessibility Guidelines through the W3C Process.


>From the W3C, I ordered 1,000 business-card size plastic cards with
guidelines for making accessible sites. [*]  I use these at group speaking
events and at initial client meetings.  I ordered them in English and in
Spanish, and the were free (I think they might still be available.)  They
are a very nice addition to group meetings, user group gatherings,
consultations and presentations.

    [*] Side note:  I would like to say public thanks to the W3C.
        I ordered these cards online, and they were free.
        The U.S. postage on the package cost the W3C $3.85, yet
        still they were free to me.

        I just thought it was a great gesture and commitment.

I find these cards to be a great help in just reminding people that there is
even an issue to be considered.  Most people who are not web developers will
say "Hunh?" when you talk about web accessibility.  Once you explain to them
what you are talking about, they usually have a positive reaction but are
still left wondering just what to do about it.

With the power of the Drupal CMS, the question about "what to do" about
accessibility could be answered:  Nothing, it's built in!

Drupal could very easily become a quality example of universal
accessibility.  The way to begin that process is to form some kind of
official working group and to empower them to make _real_ recommendations
with _real_ support for "enforcement" or "conformity".

>From core API (where any markup is produced), to the Themes framework, to
the actual in-file code documentation should be examined through the lens of

There are many _small and easy_ things one can do (or impose) which will
make _big and important_ improvements.  These should really be outlined and
prepared for Drupal 6.0.

For more information about the W3C program which sent me the "Quick Tips for
Making Accessible Web Sites" cards, you can visit the W3C Web Accessibility
Initiative site pages at:


For more information about the general Web Accessibility Guidelines, please


As an enticement, here is the opening paragraph of the Abstract for the WCAG
1.0 recommendation (made in 1999, by the way).  It sounds like they are
speaking directly to the Drupal community:

> Abstract
> These guidelines explain how to make Web content accessible to people with
> disabilities. The guidelines are intended for all Web content developers (page
> authors and site designers) and for developers of authoring tools. The primary
> goal of these guidelines is to promote accessibility. However, following them
> will also make Web content more available to all users, whatever user agent
> they are using (e.g., desktop browser, voice browser, mobile phone,
> automobile-based personal computer, etc.) or constraints they may be operating
> under (e.g., noisy surroundings, under- or over-illuminated rooms, in a
> hands-free environment, etc.). Following these guidelines will also help
> people find information on the Web more quickly. These guidelines do not
> discourage content developers from using images, video, etc., but rather
> explain how to make multimedia content more accessible to a wide audience.

Just by considering the guidelines, I believe Drupal 6.0 could become a
solid "Accessibility Engine", further enhancing its stature among
organizations and community groups.

Let's do this working group as suggested by Kobus.

I'm in.

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