This weekend, we had a question come in via Ask the Gurus wondering if we knew of any resources that rank content management systems according to their level of compliance to 508 accessibility standards. Accessibility being the great rainbow unicorn that it is, I was not aware of any list that had been put together to date with that kind of information (beyond a basic yes/no field on some matrix sites). Frequently, CMS vendors will tell clients that their system is 508 compliant, when what they really mean is that the pages they output will be 508 compliant (assuming you’ve written compliant templates to begin with). Not much attention is given to the CMS’s interface itself, even though frequently state’s require system interfaces to be accessible as much as the site itself.
So, two things faithful readers. First, if you know of an existing list, please share it in the comments below. Second, we’ve started a Google Doc spreadsheet to begin cataloging systems and giving them pass fail marks on various checkpoints dealing with the systems’ administrative, development, and management UIs (except the first column, dealing without output). In detail, based on WCAG 2.0 checkpoint levels and 508 guidelines (as they equate to WCAG 1.0). The hope is to provide a specific apples to apples comparison of how different CMSs stack up. This is a pretty large undertaking, and I can’t stress enough how important it is that you share any information you may have or know through experience (even if it just means only filling in a couple data points). This will be a big collaborative project that will have a lot of value outside of higher ed as well, so please share and pass on this post to anyone in the web development community that could contribute!
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/loriwright/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0