The need for an accessible backend in Joomla! is pretty clear. More and more governments, educational institutions, and even companies are requiring web accessibility. If we want to be a solution in those environments we need to be able to provide it.
I started developing the Hathor template over a year ago. One of my first decisions was that I would stay close to the UI of the main template. Any training or familiarity with one template would transfer easily over to the other. Though I made a few minor changes, such as flipping the order of the submenu and the toolbar, moving the toolbar to the left, and putting the logout/status bar on the top, for the most part the interface is the same.
There are no hard and fast rules for being “web accessible”. There are tools to see if a site has valid HTML. There is no corresponding single authority or set of rules that can be used to automatically test accessibility. Different countries and organizations have different rules, some of which are in conflict with each other. The guidelines I used in the creation of this template are from WCAG 2.0 AA. These are the guidelines with the broadest global scope and are new enough to take modern technology into account.
Here’s a list of some of the improvements that have been made:
- Accessible Administrator Menu
- Accessible Submenus
- Toolbars in a list like a menu
- Appropriate structural headers
- Labels for form fields
- Titles on form fields for tabular data
- Skip to Content
- Status Module has text
- Colors pass WCAG 2.0 AA tests
- Focus/active states activate hover behavior
- Keyboard focus is visible
- Accordion panels can be opened by keyboard
- Accordion panel titles are header tags
- Titles on initial checkboxes in tabular data
- WAI-ARIA Roles on structural segments
- WAI-ARIA Property/States on Required & Read only form fields
- WAI-ARIA Property/States to flag invalid forms fields
- Removal of jump menu on the “number of pages to display” selection
- Removal of various jump menus that jump you back to the top of the page
- Removed tables that were only for layout
A template is just the skin of the site and some accessibility issues are more than skin deep. Where possible we made changes in the core of Joomla as well. There are still a few issues that need to be fixed related to keyboard use with the new modals and accordion panels.
An aspect of web accessibility, especially for content management systems, that often gets overlooked is accessibility of authoring tools (ATAG). TinyMCE, a WYSIWYG editor that comes standard with Joomla has made a commitment to meeting ATAG 2.0 guidelines.
Administrator templates are assigned to the site, not to the user. Whichever admin template a company chooses will be used by all administrators. Hathor is a template designed for universal usage, not just those who are blind or need to use assistive technologies.
To use Hathor in Joomla 1.6, head on over to Extensions/Template Manager and select Hathor as your default administrator template.
Thanks Andrea for helping people understand more about this new template, and for your hard work in creating it!
If you haven’t heard, Joomla 1.6 is now in beta, download it and check it out on your localhost!