In liferay we have always been concerned about accessibility. Giving everyone the same opportunities despite of her visual, auditory, physical or cognitive disability is one of our main objectives and desires.
When people asked us if Liferay was accessible, it was not an easy question to answer, because usually Liferay is just the framework to build amazing portals and most of the responsibility to make the final portal accessible lies on the theme designers and portlet developers of each project. As a result, there are some portals built with Liferay which are not accessible and some other ones which really are, for example toulouse.fr.
However, we have also realized that we could make it easier for developers to create an accessible site, so these are some of the main steps we are taking in order to achieve this:
- Improve Liferay Portal to be as accessible as possible by default. We have started to work hard on this, as you may see in our Project Manager: LPS-5891. We will comment in this blog most of these improvements.
- Provide some guidelines to keep your portal accessible when you build it using Liferay Portal. We have started a wiki page that will grow to give our best accessibility guidelines and advices.
- Listen to the community feedback in the forums: Accessibility Category
so, what is WCAG 2.0? WCAG 2.0 are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines recommended by W3C which address most of the disabilities (visual, auditory, physical, cognitive/learning, neurological, language). An important fact is that WCAG 2.0 are language-agnostic (HTML, XHTML, RIA, Flash, PDF, etc.) and technology- and device-independent. They are based in 4 principles (perceivable, operable, understandable and robust), 12 guidelines (not directly testable), 61 success criteria (testable with 3 conformance levels) and 264 techniques (which can be sufficient or advisory).
All the success criteria can be conformed in three different levels: AAA (the best), AA and A. You need to conform all the criteria to achieve a level compliance, which means that if in one criterion you only achieve level A, then your portal is level A compliant (even though all the rest of the criteria are AAA).
AAA is extremely difficult to achieve and meeting some AAA success criteria is not yet possible until the technology is mature enough, so our goal for the next Liferay release is going to be achieve level AA compliance.
We have already found a lot of support by community members, but let us know if you would like to help somehow in the forums. Maybe telling us the problems you found, or contributing with your code (as always, any contribution will be more than welcome).
This entry will be the first one in a series that will show the most important improvements regarding accessibility in Liferay Portal, so... see you soon!