How to enable Joomla web accessibility?
Web accessibility is an essential facet of website / application development now. Adhering to ADA / WCAG standards and building an accessible digital asset is mandatory to abide by the laws. And keeping accessibility in priority, technologies must include some or other tools to offer accessible solutions.
Joomla is one such platform that has improved with time and its latest version is fully accessible. Joomla 4 has amazing accessibility features that make the platform accessible to everyone. With many free and paid extensions, enabling accessibility in Joomla has become easier.
So, if your website is running on Joomla, update to the latest version and leverage its accessibility features.
Accessibility and its guidelines
We know, accessibility is nothing but building a website / application in such a way that makes the website or application fully functional for everyone who wishes to use the website / application irrespective of their physical state. The main idea behind accessibility is making the web available for the people with disabilities as well. Disability is a broad concept, which includes all sorts of disabilities such as hearing issues, visual impairment, motor problems, or cognitive disorders.
To make sure, all the users who are perusing the web, are on the same page, W3C provided guidelines for uniformity in all the digital assets available on internet. The standards have covered almost every issue encountered by users.
- They say, the color contrast of fonts and background must be 4.5:1 to make it visible for people with visibility issues.
- Every single link and element in your website should be accessible via keyboard so that if a user is using the keyboard only, they will not miss any essential information or the information they are looking for.
- Navigation must be consistent to avoid any confusion.
- All the images must have alt text to make them comprehensive for screen readers.
- Audio and video content has closed captions and narratives to make them accessible.
- Attachments like PDFs ought to be accessible as well.
And there is much more (read WCAG and ADA guidelines to know the standards in detail).
How Joomla offers accessibility?
Joomla has imbibed accessibility option to increase the platform’s usability and prominently visible changes are with menu style and color orientation.
WCAG has suggested having a 4.5:1 color ratio between foreground and background colors. Based on that Joomla 4 got a 4.8:1 ratio of color contrast with a lightweight interface.
2. Administration Panel
Joomla 4 has a new administrator dashboard with several improvements to make it simpler and easier for daily workflow. This new administrator UI (User Interface) has a sidebar on the left which has crucial menu items like Components, Media, Users, etc. This sidebar also has sub-items, which provide accessibility tools to Joomla users without moving further.
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The Control panel in Joomla 4 is configurable so that users can customize the items and their position as they want and use the panel easily. Thus, it is not generalized for everyone, rather people with disabilities can have their own customized control panel.
3. Menu items
Another accessibility support in Joomla 4 is menu items. This latest version has a smart menu system that does not require many movements while you work on the Joomla dashboard. For example, if you hover over a menu item, the submenu items will open, and you will be able to access the items from there. Thus, users with disabilities can easily use menu items.
Joomla 4 also supports keyboard navigation and ensures users can access content and links through the keyboard as well.
Themes and extensions to enable accessibility in Joomla
Joomla 4 is made for everyone, it implies this latest version has accessibility features, themes, and plugin to provide accessible digital assets. Though Joomla 3 had specifically dedicated themes for corporate websites, schools, and colleges’ websites, etc. to make education, jobs, and other information easily available, Joomla 4 has ‘Additional Accessibility Feature’ to make the web utterly accessible.
Joomla also has myriad extensions to implant accessibility in your website / application. Some of these extensions are developed by Joomla itself and many are contributed by the devoted Joomla community. The extensions are both free and paid and all are available easily through the Joomla extension directory.
All In One Accessibility (developed by Skynet Technologies)
All In One Accessibility is an extension for Joomla that helps you to own an accessible digital asset at an affordable cost. Its free version is also available to download with limited features. The free version has options to adjust the font size, line height, contrast, widget color, etc. It also has the skip links such as skip to menu, skip to footer, skip to navigation. The free version also gets orientation adjustments like hide images.
Guide For You: All In One Accessibility installation guide for Joomla
The premium version of this extension is called All in One Accessibility Pro. It offers you an accessible and usable solution. After purchasing the pro version, you only have to install this extension and it will automatically get enabled for your Joomla website/application.
Its interface is designed to meet 80% of accessibility requirements of the website’s accessible design meeting with WCAG 2.1 standards.
All In One Accessibility Features
1. Content Adjustments
The content adjustment features help users to adjust content to improve its readability. Users with vision impairments can use it to adjust the content as per their needs and access it easily. The top features include content scaling, highlight titles, readable fonts, highlight links, text magnifier, align left and right, adjust font size, line height, letter spacing, etc.
2. Display Adjustments
To adjust colors and contrast for people who have color blindness or light sensitivity, and cannot explore content because of unclear background or content, these features are useful. The top features include dark contrast, Monochrome, light, and high contrast, high and low saturation, invert colors, etc.
3. Orientation Adjustments
The orientation features help users with visual, cognitive, or motor disabilities to access your website / application by adjusting orientation. Providing shortcuts, guiding elements, reducing noise and distractions, etc. are some of the ways of adjusting the website’s orientation. The top features include mute sounds, hide images, reading guide, stop animation, highlight hover, reading mask, Big black, and white cursor, highlight focus, etc.
Enabling accessibility in Joomla
As discussed above, you can download third-party extensions to make your Joomla website or application accessible. If your website is running on Joomla 3 or previous versions, then you can use these extensions and make your websites accessible.
You can enable it in the Joomla backend, frontend, or both places (if required) and the accessibility icon will appear on the bottom right corner of the screen. This plugin will help you to cover almost all the aspects of accessibility as per WCAG standards.
With its in-built plugin, Joomla 4 has become the first platform with complete accessibility incorporation to its backend and frontend both. This is indeed a commendable and revolutionary move from Joomla that will force other platforms as well to think of accessibility.
Though previous versions of Joomla need third-party extension support that you can download easily. Either upgrade your system to Joomla 4 or download an All In One Accessibility Joomla extension, enabling accessibility in Joomla is straightforward work!
Skynet Technologies has developed this extension to help you make your site 80% accessible. We follow not just WCAG standards but also adhere to the best design practices to improve website accessibility. We also provide custom ADA web accessibility services to make your website 99% ADA compliant. Get in touch with us at [email protected] or submit the following request free quote form.