Thursday, April 25, 2019

Overview of Drupal 8 excellent web accessibility features

by Kaushal Shah (writer), , September 05, 2018

Know the future of Web Accessibility in Drupal 8. How Drupal 8 provides advanced accessibility features to help different groups of users.

Availability is an essential requirement for any website to allow users with disabilities to access the site quickly. Unfortunately, when it comes to building a website, it is considered to be a low priority for most developers and enterprises.

Assuming that the proportion of users with accessibility requirements is low is a big mistake. Ignoring accessibility can lose you a significant number of users that you can otherwise convert into loyal customers.

Accessibility with Drupal 8

Nearly one in five Americans are disabled and over half of the adults with disabilities access services online. To make web easily accessible for users with a disability, Drupal has made significant efforts to create features that make websites more accessible. It has baked accessibility features into default settings and several tools for developers which aids them in developing universally accessible websites and web development using Drupal . Here are some most significant accessibility enhancements that Drupal 8 offers:

1 - HTML5 Elements:

Drupal 8 allows you to add more semantic HTML5 elements that can be leveraged by assistive technologies. Drupal 8 uses HTML5 elements within the web templates to add more meaning to your source code. For instance, assistive technology like a screen reader will be able to interpret elements like

. In addition to this, Drupal 8 even included WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative – Accessible Rich Internet Applications) to improve semantics through:
  • Landmarks to recognize regions in a specific page such as role="banner.”
  • Roles to define the displayed widget types such as role=" alert"
  • Live regions which indicate if an element will be updated such as aria-live="polite."
  • Properties – attributes to represent data values related to a particular element.

2 - Tabbing Manager:

Drupal 8 comes with the TabbingManager JavaScript-powered feature. It aids in constraining the tabbing order on the page while enabling navigation using the keyboard. It is helpful to guide a visually impaired web user to the essential elements of a specific page while minimizing confusion with screen readers.

3 - Aural Alerts:

The association of Drupal.announce() with Drupal 8 core via core/misc/announce.js now provides users the ability to process timely messages to aural users. Through JavaScript, Drupal 8 now offers instructions to screen reader users who are read out as either polite or assistive.

Drupal.announce('Hello world.');

Moreover, Drupal 8 lets you pass translated strings and modify the priority of messaging by leveraging the following code:

Drupal.announce(Drupal.t('This is important!'), 'assertive');

Is Your Website Accessible?

The Drupal coders and community developers have made great accessibility improvements in Drupal 8. The accessibility features mentioned above will not only be helpful to the keyboard-only users, colorblind and low-vision users but also improve the site’s usability and SEO of your website. A slew of other great accessibility improvements includes hidden elements, JQuery user interface, Alt Text, accessible inline forms errors, Bartik, and more.

However, Drupal 8 core will further introduce more enhancements to make the platform more accessible and beneficial to users with a disability. Have you leveraged Drupal 8 Accessibility features to make your website available to all users? Let us know in the comment below.

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