Presentation of the features
As a result of our analysis and the fruitful discussions among project members, these ten features were identified as the most relevant, useful and feasible to implement in different kinds of authoring tools to support web authors in publishing accessible content.
The technical specifications of the features explain the functionality of each selected accessibility feature to authoring tool producers and providers. The technical specifications present the web interface of the features, based on the experience of the end user or, when it comes to the testing-features, the web author. Where relevant, they also present the code of the features ensuring accessibility by default and a description highlighting the key elements of the code.
The change language feature provides a way for web authors to choose the correct language of a page or paragraph, so that it can be read out aloud using the right pronunciation. The feature is important to users of assistive technology reading content out aloud, for example users with reading and writing impairments and visually impaired users.
As there is currently no standardised way to show this functionality in the editor, the project is not recommending a specific implementation, but rather showing different options tested with a large number of web authors.
Tables may be difficult to understand for various user groups. The design, content and technical set-up of the table may make it easier to grasp certain types of content, or make it much harder. The feature provides two options, one accessible template for simple tables that are used often, and one wizard supporting the web author to create an accessible table, for more complex ones.
ALT-text describes a visual element in text. ALT-texts are important for visually impaired users with screen readers, who can only understand the purpose of the image when it is described in text that the assistive technology can convert into read out wording or braille.
The feature can support the web author in different ways at the same time, when uploading an image:
- by making the author aware (Informing or prompting them, or making it mandatory);
- by providing clear instruction on when and how to write ALT-texts;
- by generating suggested alternative texts automatically, using artificial intelligence, that the authors can change if necessary.
For many users, forms can be a challenge. This is true for users with cognitive impairments, motor impairments and users with any kind of assistive technology, whether it is a screen reader, an enlargement tool or an input device.
The feature provides built-in accessibility for assistive technology, consistent design and support for the web author to avoid accessibility mistakes.
As many users experience difficulties when reading, providing video content is important. The video as such must of course be accessible, including captions and audio descriptions.
The feature provides the functionality for describing of the video content by adding the title attribute in the iframe element.
Live testing while authoring
The live testing feature contains of a live accessibility check done in the editor while publishing, inspecting the content and supporting the author with help-texts and easy to understand suggestions for remediation. The feature can be implemented either as automatically generated or initiated by the author.
Testing of documents
Even though documents are not technically part of the authoring tool, they are most certainly part of the content creation process.
This feature includes accessibility testing of documents in the authoring tool, so the document is tested before being published. This way, the author would be made aware about both issues that can be automatically tested, such as tagging of the document, and potential issues that have to be controlled manually, like colour contrast and reading order.
Testing the content of pages
This feature helps the web author to make sure different objects or parts of the web page are checked separately and that the end result is accessible - before publishing the page. Instead of first making a mistake and then remediate, this feature finds the potential errors before content is published. The feature may also be part of a learning process; when web authors use it regularly, they will most probably learn how to avoid making accessibility mistakes.
Testing the whole website
Accessibility testing and remediation are more efficient when carried out as part of the same software or interface as content creation. It is easier to perform and much easier to act upon. This feature recommends the possibility to filter the test results based on professional competence, so that designers only get presented with the accessibility fails that they can fix.
Documentation can be provided in context or separately, depending on the design of the authoring tool. This feature recommends – as a basic principle – short contextual documentation including a link to more detailed information for those in need of it.