Maintain Accessibility with Drupal

John Newton's picture
John Newton
Sereno blog

We are currently working on a project with a client that rightly takes accessibility very seriously. Drupal core provides everything we could need in terms of accessibility and standards and we can help our clients structure their content in the best way possible both through training and by building in sensible configuration options that help keep content creation and curation on track. There are a number of approaches to this and we favour cut down WYSIWYG to prevent formatting overload for site editors while extending controlled presentation sophistication through additonal styles options and Drupal Paragraphs bundles. This provides a solid basis for dynamic responsive content.

However, recently a client qasked me a great question. While Drupal core conforms to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) guidelines: WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 2.0. how accessibility compliant are the contrib modules we are using on the project?

There is no absolute requirement for the authors of contrib modules to conform to the core standards, however it seems to me that most developers within the Drupal community take accessibility very seriously indeed. I think for many, it's simply second nature to be thinking accessibility at all times. There is also the Drupal Accessibility Pledge #D8AX whereby developers publicly pledge to make their work as accessible as possible although usage of the pledge is highly variable.

Drupal agencies can also help here. Where custom code is developed, this can be written and then checked to ensure it conforms to accessibility standards. Use widely-used contrib modules only. There are many good reasons for doing this and accessibility is just one of them. Check the module for accessibility issues. Also, make sensible choices about theme colours, contrast and so on. Design elements like carousels should be treated with care. Configure tools for your editors with accessibility in mind so people produce properly structured content both with text and images.

Accessibility is in point of fact an umbrella term which covers a range of possible codified standards and a pragmatic approach to building interactions and advanced design elements. While the web is clearly a long way from getting accessibility right, Drupal's reputation as a leader in accessible CRMs is well-deserved and something we will see strenghtened with better implementation practices and the striking advances offered by the newly launched Drupal 8. 

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