As luck would have it, I've recently been doing a fair bit of research into web accessibility for a project that PKP is working on. The closest Canada has to the US' 508 standard is probably the CCOP's
list of technical requirements
that those funded by them must adhere to. We aren't funded by CCOP ourselves, and while we've taken a look at their recommendations and draw from them, we probably wouldn't pass a stringent test. A previous look at Section 508 determined that we're probably pretty close at meeting it, and that it might be worthwhile to do so in order to publicly state that our software does, but we haven't spent much time since then determining exactly where we might be slack.
I've read Section 508
, the w3 guidelines
, the CCOP guidelines linked to above, and other assorted pages online, and have established a set of recommendations for the project we're working on, which I have included below. PKP hasn't had a substantial discussion about the specifics of these recommendations yet, but the general early consensus is that they are a good starting point, and that we'll aim to meet them in our software. One issue that has just popped up today and is not mentioned in the following recommendations is the use of frames (OJS uses them to display the Reading Tools).
I would greatly appreciate any comments you (or other community members) might have on this matter. I will definitely check out the WAVE results you reference and see what we need to do in order to avoid those errors. Any other advice you have would be most welcome.
2. Develop for 1024x768 resolution. While screen size and resolutions are ever-increasing, there are still a number of older computers and monitors out in the world. 1024x768 dpi resolution is a reasonable target for Synergies to aim for. All core navigational elements should be viewable at this resolution. (Note: JM wants to check the SFU screen reader resolution.)
3. Ensure broad browser compatibility. All Web site functions should function equally well with prevailing Web browsers including at a minimum, the most recent two major releases (current release and one release prior) and all the associated subsets, e.g. IE 7/8, Firefox 2+, Safari 3+, Chrome 3+.
4. Use HTML tables appropriately. HTML tables should not be used for layout purposes, but for tabular data only. Tables should include Table Heading (“<th>…</th>”) elements for the top row of the table, with headings describing the nature and contents of the table columns.
5. Provide textual equivalents for non-textual data. Ensure that alternate text is available for non-text objects (images; video). (Note that video concerns don’t particularly apply to Synergies, at least to the Head Node.) However, purely graphical image elements should not include alt-text so that screen readers will not needlessly pick up on them.
6. Ensure device-independent access to all form elements. All form elements must be fully accessible and usable via both keyboard and mouse.