Section 508 compliance ensures that all electronic and information technology are accessible to people with disabilities. In terms of websites this includes easy navigation, proper use of text and color to assure accessibility to web content, e.g., text description for any visuals, such that users with a disability or users that need assistive technology such as screen readers and refreshable Braille displays, can access the content. Compliance is based on the information outlined here on the W3C website.
Drupal is considered to be the most 508 compliant open source content management system. Care will need to be taken when adding content in the future to ensure each page adheres to the standards set forth. In addition to the core tools available in Drupal, access keys, page style and text size modules will be used to address the issue of visually adjusting the page based on user selections.
- Text Size: The text size module displays an adjustable text size changer or a zoom function on the page for better web accessibility. This simply allows the user to easily adjust the text size.
- Page Style: The page style module provides a simple block to allow visitors to the site to change the background and text colors to those that are more accessible to visually impaired users.
- Titles and Attributes: All non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose. This is done simply by adding title and alt attributes to all menu items, links and images on the site. All content added at site launch will be added in a compliant manner.
- Access Keys: Access keys allow user to navigate the site using the keyboard rather than a mouse. Each browser has different access keys that when used in conjunction with the assigned key provide the user the ability to navigate the site using the keyboard. A full list of browser specific access keys can be found here. As new menu items are added, access keys should be assigned. Care should be used to avoid conflicting access keys.
- Screen Readers: A Screen reader transmits whatever text is displayed on the computer screen into a form that a visually impaired user can process (usually tactile, auditory or a combination of both). Ensuring all text is true text and not images will allow the screen readers to read information.
- Flashing: Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures. Web pages should not contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period.
Ensuring Section 508 compliance with Drupal is easy if you follow all the standards set forth and will ensure all your visitors are able to access the content provided on your web site in a manner that best suits their needs.