Ephox (news, site) has added some extra code to the open source TinyMCE editor project to help users meet Web accessibility guidelines.

Be Compliant, Be Seen

Web developers and site owners are having to be ever more aware of the need to meet accessibility guidelines and laws for websites. TinyMCE is an open source component that can be found in endless sites and CMS systems from Drupal to Wordpress, helping users enter content. However, some of its features are not accessible to those with specific needs to help them use computers and access the Web.

Through new support for the W3C’s Web accessibility initiative ARIA standards, TinyMCE users can navigate the user interface with just the keyboard, or specialist alternatives, while those with screen readers can detect Accessible Rich Internet Application states from the more fiddly user interface controls.

More common features include support for high-contrast displays to help users with eyesight problems. To this end, developers can include a check for the user's default preferences, going to a mode the user prefers without them having to set up a new mode -- which could be hard if they can't see the relevant options.

Follow the Law

With most countries tightening accessibility regulations, doing all you can to make your sites open to any user is not only good practice and polite, but also increasingly mandated, particularly for government and corporate sites.

The accessibility features are included in Version 3.4 Beta 3, which is downloadable now. Ephox's contribution will help both impaired users access the web and limit the excuses that developers make about not being able to cater to them.