16 February, 2011
In this issue
People in Accessibility
Students with disabilities, such as blindness and dyslexia, often have problems accessing core subject reading materials. That's where Matthew Harper-Schmid, the DLU's Accessible Format Coordinator, and his editing team, provide assistance.
Matthew describes his role as a "middleman" between Academic Staff and students to ensure that they are able to access materials in their preferred format, such as Word, RTF, PDF, Large Print, Plain Text, Audio Recording or Braille.
"The best thing about the job is that it allows me to assist so many people at the same time yet with different purposes," Matthew explains, "Students are provided with the ability to study effectively here at the University on the same level as other students. Meanwhile, the Editing team are also all students here at the University so you also get to contribute to them developing professionally, providing them with a small salary to assist with the financial pressures of being a student and providing them with the opportunity to interact and understand the complex relationship a person with a Disability has with the environment surrounding them.
The obvious benefit of a CMS is that you can make use of someone else's hard work, rather than having to write code from scratch.
The downside is that you are also stuck with someone else's coding standards and quality. And for most developers, accessibility isn't top of their list.
So it refreshing to see that accessibility issues are being addressed within the Joomla content management system.
Version 1.5 was the first release of Joomla to include an accessible template for viewing sites. Called BEEZ, the template allowed developers to create sites that would be accessible to users with disabilities.
In the recent release of Joomla 1.6, accessibility has been taken one step further, with the inclusion of an accessible administrator backend template called 'Hathor'.
Web administration is an area of accessibility that is often overlooked because:
- Administration pages often involve more template variations and forms, thus requiring more effort to make accessible.
- Out of sight is out of mind.
- For some reason people think that users with disabilities are only ever end users of systems, never administrators.
Stat of the week
- Under WCAG 1.0, 35% of the level 1 and 2 criteria related to graphic design. Under WCAG 2.0, 50% of the level 1 and 2 criteria relate to graphic design.\
Previous issues of the Web Accessibility Newsletter are available here.
Contact Andrew Normand, Web Accessibility Program Leader
Phone: +61 3 9035 4867