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  • Mike Masey 39 posts 253 karma points MVP 5x c-trib
    Mar 20, 2019 @ 09:29
    Mike Masey

    Call for an Accessibility Team

    For a while I've seen quite a few issues sprout up in regards to accessibility in the backoffice. As a whole is a pretty large area, from keyboard navigation, screen reader support, lack of focus states, moving away from icons fonts etc I think it needs some proper organisation to start making some real progress.

    Matt Brailsford put forward the idea of trying to build a team much like the PR and Docs team so I figured I'd start the conversation here.

    Accessibility is incredibly important for everyone, not just those with permanent disabilities. As the quote goes

    We're only ever temporarily enabled

    If for example you break an arm, you no longer have full access to both hands, so having good keyboard functionality will help massively (this is something i actually had to deal with last year). Have a cold and find that movement on screens is making you feel nauseous? Then having a way to reduce motion will help.

    Another thing to remember is that this is the Friendly CMS! It should be usable for everyone, especially the multitude of content editors from many different backgrounds. Many companies rely on Umbraco in their business, and if a limiting factor of the CMS is that is can't be used by people with a visual impairment (for example), then it could mean than certain people are excluded from a potential job.

    Let me know what you think :)

  • Mike Masey 39 posts 253 karma points MVP 5x c-trib
    Mar 20, 2019 @ 12:10
    Mike Masey

    Just to carry over some conversation from Twitter, some of the first things we would need to do is outline phases and levels of accessibility, which should help to then split the different tasks out in to more manageable chunks.

    Obviously, not everyone has a lot of free time (myself included), but any contribution would be appreciated. 😄

  • Liam Laverty 8 posts 100 karma points c-trib
    Mar 20, 2019 @ 13:10
    Liam Laverty

    I'd love this, and if there was a queue somewhere of simple things that need addressed (things like "this button doesn't have the correct focus state"), I'd be more than happy to start making small pull requests.

    If I can suggest something to go at the very top of the list it'd be keyboard tabbing. In v7 it's faster to press shift tab and go to the end of the tabbable items, rather than tab forwards through the page.

  • Tiffany 11 posts 86 karma points MVP 3x c-trib
    Mar 20, 2019 @ 14:30

    Count me in on anything - in fact if we make any progress before #CG19 then it would make a great story as part of my session.

    There's a lot to cover obviously so agree with the planned approach.

    I've looked into some of this before - and one of the greatest difficulties with the back office is identifying the location of objects that have been built via AngularJS - particularly where there are moving parts hidden from view.

    Not sure as yet if v8 has made any improvements in the interface with this regard - will be interesting to see if the changes have made refactoring the code to accommodate accessibility have made things easier or more difficult.

    One thing to note though is that there is support for accessibility in AngularJS: so I'm very keen to get started looking at how we can make some of these changes.

    So.... some ideas on the initial planning

    • gather volunteers for an accessibility team via this thread / twitter etc
    • organise an initial gathering (eg huddle / slack / emails.. whatever we decide is best) to discuss general approach and assign roles (I will go ahead and create an accessibility channel in the Umbraco Community Slack Channel now.. #accessibility)
    • get endorsement from Umbraco HQ: see if we can get a dedicated accessibility repo with upstream to the main repo and see if we can get a github issues log so we can queue up the things that need addressing as Liam has stated
    • lots of other stuff.... (as we think of them)

    This is a great start thanks Mike!

  • Amir Khan 1282 posts 2739 karma points
    Mar 20, 2019 @ 14:39
    Amir Khan

    I'm happy to help with this as well. Stateside this is a hot topic right now and I think a fully accessible backoffice would be great selling point for Umbraco.

  • Mike Masey 39 posts 253 karma points MVP 5x c-trib
    Mar 20, 2019 @ 14:53
    Mike Masey

    Thanks for all the great feedback so far 😄 Thanks for your planning ideas Tiffany, it would be awesome if we could achieve something before #CG19!

    I think once we have a little core team together (5 people?) and as you said, some input from HQ we'll be able to really get the ball rolling. At some point maybe we should organise a Skype/Hangout/Zoom call too.

    For a quick temporary solution i've created a trello board to chuck in some ideas.

    Edit: I've made the board public but let me know if you have any issue with access.

    Edit 2: I'm not 100% sure what the best way is to get access to edit the trello board. You can try joining the trello team using this link -

  • Rachel Breeze 6 posts 80 karma points MVP 4x c-trib
    Mar 20, 2019 @ 16:11
    Rachel Breeze


    This is a great idea.

    We have people within our UX and Quality Assurance teams that specialise in accessibility here at WeAreSigma, and are more than happy to help with this.

    Thanks Mike for setting up the Trello board, I've joined let me know how we can help

    Kind regards


  • Mike Masey 39 posts 253 karma points MVP 5x c-trib
    Mar 20, 2019 @ 16:41
    Mike Masey

    Awesome, thanks Rachel. For the time being the trello board is just to have somewhere to throw ideas so feel free to add anything that comes to your mind :)

  • Andy Felton 185 posts 484 karma points c-trib
    Mar 20, 2019 @ 22:55
    Andy Felton


    Good idea Mike, we did the testing of the back office of one of sites with somebody who was visually impaired, somewhere we have a list of the issues he found. I’ll try and dig it out tomorrow before travelling to Bristol.

    Happy to help with progressing this.

    Thanks Andy

  • Jan Skovgaard 11280 posts 23678 karma points MVP 10x admin c-trib
    Mar 21, 2019 @ 08:15
    Jan Skovgaard

    I have just skimmed the thread very briefly but count me in as well :-)

    I currently have a WIP PR open for v8 here which should probably be renamed to "Add tab lock to infinite editing" since the tabbing experience is currently not very good. I will also take the screen reader experience into account in this one as soon as I get a chance to work on it again.

    I hope I can make it generic and reusable so it can be applied for the modals that are being used here and there as well so it will not be possible to tab out of the current context.

    H5YR all :-)


  • Craig100 1136 posts 2523 karma points c-trib
    Mar 21, 2019 @ 10:34

    Great idea. Sounds like this is exactly the right place to get the UX degradation in the main editing area addressed for everyone. This relates to the loss of tabs and them being replaced by hidden section navigation, something Tiffany alluded to earlier.

    I'm upgrading several ecomm sites to latest V7 and the more I interact with them the more I'm convinced that the lack of tabs (or sub-navigation that's permanently in your eye-line) is a real backward step in usability and therefore accessibility.

    Really looking forward to what this team comes up with generally.

  • Tiffany 11 posts 86 karma points MVP 3x c-trib
    Mar 21, 2019 @ 13:11

    Quick update: Created #accessibility in the Umbraco Community Slack Channel :)

  • Niels Lyngsø 21 posts 99 karma points hq
    Mar 22, 2019 @ 09:00
    Niels Lyngsø

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for bringing attention to this matter, I would think that the tabbing-issue concerns almost all users and therefore this topic is very relevant. Making the back office even more friendly by fully supporting accessibility features would be super great, so I’m all in for that.

    We have created an issue & PR label called “category/accessibility” which you can use today to bring awareness to specific issues or creating a PR solving an issue. The label can be used to get an overview of the progress on this matter.

    Regarding focus, I think tabbing is the biggest problem right now, which I think would be a good first step for making the back office accessible. Would it make sense to focus on one matter first and see how implementation goes?

    Regarding PRs, my first thought would be that they need to go to the PR team, following the flow of everything else. Maybe we should get accessibility-focused team members of the PR team, to make sure that all PRs are following the good practice of accessibility.

    It also sounds like you will be making some learnings and I would encourage you to document this in someway. This way other contributors as well as HQ can follow along.

    Friendly regards Niels Lyngsø

  • Tiffany 11 posts 86 karma points MVP 3x c-trib
    Mar 22, 2019 @ 09:28

    Brilliant thanks Niels.

    I've made an initial start on tabbing and I've posted the result of a proof of concept on the Trello board under the ideas thread.

    Would be good if someone could have a quick look and give any thoughts although not much to see as yet.

    Now the issues tag is created expect an influx of issues created over the next few days 😁

  • Mike Masey 39 posts 253 karma points MVP 5x c-trib
    Mar 22, 2019 @ 09:56
    Mike Masey

    Thanks Niels 😄

    I've found a few issues that could benefit from having the accessibility label but I can seem to add it. Is this something you can do? The issues are


  • Niels Lyngsø 21 posts 99 karma points hq
    Mar 22, 2019 @ 10:02
    Niels Lyngsø

    Should be possible for everyone.

    I have added the label for those issues, please let me know if you experience any future problems with the label.


  • Mike Masey 39 posts 253 karma points MVP 5x c-trib
    Mar 22, 2019 @ 10:33
    Mike Masey

    That's odd. I can't see the cog icon to click to add a label on the Umbraco Issue, but I can on my own repos.

    enter image description here

  • Tiffany 11 posts 86 karma points MVP 3x c-trib
    Mar 23, 2019 @ 13:26

    Don't want to let this topic fall by the wayside.

    It's great we now have the accessibility tag for issues and definitely agree that addressing issues like keyboard focus/tab order would make a good initial start.

    However my opinion is that it warrants greater significance than just being dealt with through issues and I personally think it should be considered as a project/workstream in its own right.

    Hence I think it's absolutely the right approach that Mike has taken the initiative to call for an accessibility team.

    So.. we need to arrange a meetup in the trello sooner rather than later.

    Niels, could you liaise with PR Team members and identify a lead for this so we can coordinate any proposed work and ensure it is documented and planned appropriately?

  • Jan Skovgaard 11280 posts 23678 karma points MVP 10x admin c-trib
    Mar 24, 2019 @ 20:14
    Jan Skovgaard

    It's definitely something that should have more focus - And many areas can be improved and I got a feeling that they will be improved too. But it's also important to find the right balance so new contributors are not holding back on contributing because they feel insecure about accessibility. The way I see it there will always be a need to to more revisions to improve things from the early implementations where they're perfected over time.

    But it's a good thing to get issues reported and labelled so people can help out improving the accessibility of the backoffice indeed so I'm all for it no doubt :-) and an accessibility team sounds good to me too.

    Hopefully HQ will take this into consideration as well and clearly some thoughts about the process will need to be thought out ensuring people can contribute their PR's without being put off because they might not be aware of accessibility.

    Looking forward to hear what Niels L. and HQ in general think about the matter.

  • Poornima Nayar 106 posts 276 karma points MVP 5x c-trib
    Mar 25, 2019 @ 22:44
    Poornima Nayar

    I can help as well. I work for Guide Dogs for the Blind at the moment and accessibility is something we cater in for with every single change we make. We test our website using the screenreaders so I can help with some friendly advice :-)

  • Fiona Knight 1 post 73 karma points
    Mar 25, 2019 @ 23:57
    Fiona Knight

    Hey Mike,

    I'm assessing our umbraco for its accessibility and will contribute where I can :) #accessibility

  • Mike Masey 39 posts 253 karma points MVP 5x c-trib
    Mar 26, 2019 @ 09:32
    Mike Masey

    Fantastic, thanks Poornima and Fiona 😄

    There's a ticket on the trello board to sort out a time an a date for a group call to go over things. It would be great if you (and anyone else on here who is interested) could make it. If you can't, don't worry we'll add all our notes and action points to the board too.

  • Jason Prothero 422 posts 1243 karma points c-trib
    Apr 02, 2019 @ 15:53
    Jason Prothero

    Hey Mike,

    I'd be interested in helping the cause as well! I'll join the Slack channel and see how we can help.

    Thanks, Jason

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