CMS accessibility improvements
May 22, 2008
One of the major motivations for implementing a CMS (and for the recoding & redesign of the
Library page templates) in the Library was to make it feasible for web content editors to publish
fully accessible and valid web pages. Our highly diverse audience benefits directly from
these efforts, and state and federal laws mandate we make all reasonable efforts to comply.
Since the initial rollout of the CMS, most pages published with it were fully valid and
accessible, but there are a number of situations where invalid or inaccessible markup can still
I'm happy to report that we've made several recent changes to our CMS that bring our level of
compliance even higher. Specifically, the following things are changed/fixed:
- CMS pages that use alignment (center, right, or full justification) on any element used to use
the deprecated ALIGN attribute. This was a limitation of the TinyMCE editor we use.
With upgraded TinyMCE and a customized XML parser that I embedded into the CMS, those will be
recoded in a 100% valid and accessible way the next time those files are saved and published.
They'll look exactly the same in browsers, but the XHTML markup will be correct now.
- Certain symbols and characters (such as ampersands) must be encoded properly in XHTML to be
valid. Until today, the presence of such characters in a news article Title, Author, or
Summary field would cause news article list pages to be invalid. The same problem was
possible in the web contact links in page footers. Those are now automatically escaped to
prevent that problem.