SiteVision is a mature product that has been focusing on accessibility issues for many years. Both on WCAG and ATAG. This focus has it's origin in the demands and needs of the main customer base. Many swedish public sector web sites runs on SiteVision and in Sweden there are a public agency, Verva, that are responsible for a set of public sector guidelines. Through the guidelines, accessibility is presented as an integral part of the overall development process and not as a separate issue. This has forced SiteVision to excel in the accessibility area.
There are three main perspectives on accessibility that must be addressed when using SiteVision (or any other CMS product):
- The tool itself (ATAG and WCAG)
- Web site implementation (WCAG)
- Actual web content (WCAG)
1 The tool - SiteVisionSiteVision is constantly improved and existing features are always refined. Improvements are released as updates that customers can apply on their existing SiteVision installation. One key element for improving accessibility for the visitors of the web site is that SiteVision doesn't store content in HTML anywhere, only core data (e.g. texts) and metadata (e.g data about the data). This is a huge advantage since improvements can be applied to already existing content. Basically it means that the code quality your web site can be improved without you having to do anything but installing an update.
Below are some examples of SiteVision functions that help editors create accessible web sites (WCAG):
- SiteVision reminds the editor to use proper descriptions for images, links and tables.
- When an editor publishes a web page, Sitevision runs a validation test and an accessibility test for the page and let the editor know when something is wrong.
- Pages can be associated with specific access keys for fast access to resources for people with impaired vision.
- Scalable fonts and sizes gives the web site visitors with impaired vision the ability to change sizes themselves.
- The underlying SiteVision architecture makes it easier to use speech tools, such as ReadSpeaker.
Besides the assistance to editors for creating accessible content, SiteVision also provides an accessible view of the user interface used by the editors (ATAG). Below are some examples:
- Key combinations for fast access to common functions.
- Distinct colors and icons that are informative even for color blind editors.
- Ability for editors to adjust the font size for the texts in the user interface.
- Logical tab order for easy and fast navigation.
3. Web contentAn important aspect of an accessible web site is the daily work with it's content. This is often performed by non-technical editors and they need guidance and help to get as good result as possible. Here the SiteVision on-line help really comes into play. The on-line help an effective and convenient resource that contains specific information and guidance for accessibility issues regarding different functions and portlets/modules. Besides the on-line help editors of course gets guidance/help from the tool itself as exemplified above.
To improve and keep a desired degree of accessibility the web site must be continuously examined. An effective way for an administrator to examine the content is to run the SiteVision accessibility check on the whole web site. This function can be scheduled to run with specific intervals and the detailed report for each page is aggregated in a site report that is sent via mail to one or more persons.