I’ve been working on implementing accessibility requirements for a public facing site on MOSS. Though keywords such as “SharePoint accessibility” provide a number of results on Live Search or any other engine, I had difficult time in searching the appropriate resources. Thought it would be worthwhile sharing the resources that I found and providing a context around them. Here are these resources:
Microsoft’s Statements/Papers on SharePoint Accessibility
We have couple of white papers and articles on this topic, however, search engines are yet to rank them better to come towards the top. Here are these:
Article: Accessibility features (as provided by Office Online)
Blog: Improvements in accessibility – Blog entry on SharePoint Team blog by Lawrence Liu. Though it’s pretty old entry (April 2006) and was written for pre RTM version, but you can find a good summary of new and improved accessibility features. Most of this holds for RTM also. The blog groups the improvement areas in categories such as Headings, Navigation, Keyboard, Graphics, High Contrast – Low Vision, HTML Controls and also relates them to specific checkpoints from WCAG 1.0
Whitepaper: Deliver accessible solutions by using Office SharePoint Server – This downloadable white paper provides information and guidelines about the issues that organizations face when delivering Web solutions, including those built by using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 that are accessible to people with disabilities. It’s a pretty good paper to read when you are starting your journey on accessibility. It describes the available out-of-the-box (OOB) accessibility features in MOSS 2007 and also provides a very good summary on Accessibility Kit for SharePoint (AKS). If you want to know all about AKS in 4 pages, this is the article to read. However, if you are looking for best practices or implementation approaches – you need to look for a different paper. Have a look at the next one
Blog: SharePoint Accessibility – Is MOSS 2007 accessible? – Provides a quick comparison of SPS 2003 and MOSS 2007 with Priority 1 requirements
Article: Building ASP.NET 2.0 Web Sites Using Web Standards – Though, this article provides the best practices for ASP.net in general, it is very useful from SharePoint perspective for developing custom web parts, field controls, web controls and user controls. The article provides the basic knowledge of mechanisms available within the ASP.NET 2.0 platform which support developing accessible web sites. This contains a lot of examples that would be useful for people who are new to accessibility. The techniques provided here would be mostly used while writing the “Render” or “CreateChildControls” methods. For example, you’ll find this tip from this paper: “Provide an AssociatedControlId property when declaring an ASP.NET Label controls, so that the control renders a <label> tag.”
Blog: CSS Friendly Control Adapters in SharePoint 2007 (A Walk-Through) – Provides step-by-step walkthrough of how to use CSS Friendly Adapters, which are very helpful in creating CSS only, standards compliant controls (like the menu and treeView) for easy styling. These would be useful in areas where you’d like to use OOB navigation control in a publishing site.
Blog: Web part zone adapter – if you are using web part zone, it is difficult to be compliant as web part zones use HTML tables for layout purposes. This adapter does a nice job on converting those table tags to div tags.
Blog: Another day, another accessible MOSS website – Provides a step-by-step walkthrough on how to go about developing an accessible site
Accessibility Kit for SharePoint (AKS) – this kit is used by HiSoftware in collaboration with Microsoft and free for use. One thing you’d like to know that, the kit provides maximum use when you use SharePoint OOB UI and controls. If you are building a publishing site, where most of the controls and UI are custom developed, AKS can be used for references purpose mostly.
Presentation: Accessibility Kit for SharePoint – Building Accessible Websites on MOSS 2007 – slide deck from session at SPC2008; provides some screenshots on how AKS kit works, which is sometimes difficult to understand through the documentation that comes with the installer
ARF – Definition as provided at its web site – ARF is a FREE (open source) development framework for SharePoint, both MOSS and WSS. It provides a consistent solution to common problems found in SharePoint publishing development.
SharePoint Compliancy Toolkit – has been designed to help you achieve the accessibility level as described in Webrichtlijnen (Dutch government accessibility guidelines comparable to WCAG 1.0 Priority 2+)
Accessibility in General
E-Book: Understanding Accessibility – A Guide to Achieving Compliance on Web Sites and Intranets will assist you in achieving compliance with U.S. federal standards and W3C Guidelines for Web content. From the book home page – “This book is for Web Authors, Project Managers and basically any individual or team that is faced with the challenge of creating an accessible Web site or retrofitting a Web site to make it accessible. If you are new to accessibility we suggest you start at the beginning and read the entire book. If you are tasked with repairing sites that are not accessible, this book will serve as a reference and guide. If you review sites for accessibility this book will help you to select tools and understand accessibility requirements.”