Drupal Could Easily be the Leader in Opensource Section 508 Compliance by 2010

section 508

Drupal Could Easily be the Leader in Opensource Section 508 Compliance by 2010

I received an interesting sales call this morning from a gentleman whose company offers the service of helping to make your website, or client’s websites, fall in line with Drupal Section 508 compliance. After the call I really got to thinking about our clients and how arduous the task is of having a completely compliant website. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that it isn’t important, Target found out the hard way; all I’m saying is that if done properly it’s most likely won't be easy. I began doing some research and there are numerous sites out there that can assist you in starting to move your site towards 508 compliance; but if your site wasn’t designed with compliance in mind then it’s probably going to be a long road. If you are in the process of a redesign, then consider moving towards compliance now as the difference could be around 65% in total cost vs conquering the task once the site is launched. Drupal is making significant strides to alleviate the effort that is required to deliver a compliant site and there’s some great information about Drupal accessibility here. From what I can gather the issues are focused primarily around the core modules; however, the installation of additional modules will present its own set of challenges. To help there’s a great list of contributed modules that can assist you in your accessibility exploits; the primary modules are: Now, let’s look individually at these modules specifically and how they can aid your efforts.

Accessible Helper Module handles the following issues:

  1. Make Drupal content more accessible by hooking into released modules.
  2. Demonstrate modifications to existing themes to make them accessible.
  3. Serve as a demonstration to promote accessibility improvements to Drupal core and contributed modules.
  4. We realize accessibility should be integrated into core and all contributed modules, but understand the need for short term fixes also.
For those non-drupalers out there it essentially makes it easier for user contributed modules to meet standards as well, and not just core.

The Text Resize Module

The Text Resize module provides your end-users with a block that can be used to quickly change the font size of text on your Drupal site. The block includes two buttons that can increase and decrease the printed text on the page. This module is primarily focused on increasing the accessibility of your pages, by helping visually-impaired users to adjust the text size so that it is most comfortable for their eyesight.

Text Size

This module display a adjustable text size changer or a zoom function on the page for a better web accessibility. The zoom function is comparable to the text zoom function in Firefox 3, but this module resize also variable media objects, variable pixel images and vector images. No JavaScript required (WCAG/BITV 6.3). So look for this one to do some resizing magic while at the same time, not break your graphics (always a plus.)

Page Style

This module display a style changer on the page and in the browser menue for a better web accessibility. No JavaScript required (WCAG/BITV 6.3). I love this one as it's an easy way to resolve issues for those who have visual impurities; with just a few clicks they can view your site in a contrasting format that's easy to read!


Adds a block to allow users to switch between enabled themes. Themes can be given 'user friendly' names and access can be controlled by user role. Starting with 6.x-1.1, Switchtheme provides optional support for Browscap module to switch themes based on the browser of a visitor. Honestly, I hope you get what this one does without an explanation, but just in case your visitors can easily change the entire theme of the website if need be, theme must be installed or it still won't function.

Better Select

Multiselect HTML select elements are hard for users. Selecting more than one requires Ctrl+clicking (or Cmd+clicking on Mac), and explaining this to users who sometimes have trouble even clicking the mouse at all is no one's idea of fun. Better Select module overrides all multiselect HTML elements in Drupal and replaces them with checkboxes. Again, this ones pretty easy to get, but it takes the guess work out of how a user must select more than one item from a list; now just click the check boxes! This is by no means an entire list of what needs to be done to give your site Drupal section 508 compliance; however it's a good star to put your Drupal site well on its way!

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