Personalization and a Panel at DrupalNorth



August 12, 2019

The Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde in Montreal.DrupalNorth was held in Montreal this year. This event rotates between Canadian cities (so far only Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal). The goal is to bring together Drupal events across Canada and have one big one that can attract bigger presenters. I was lucky to present twice.


My first presentation was Personalizaton and Building an Accessible Site, which you can watch on Youtube. The raw version of the slides is also available.

The challenge I explore is that the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2+ have conflicts. A low vision user needs the exact opposite requirements most of the time than a dyslexic user. How do we pick and choose to ensure that the user is receiving the biggest benefit from the content?

You should really watch the presentation, but we believe firmly having a widget that gives users a range of control over the presentation of the content. Users should be able to select a preferred contrast format, favorite font, and line spacing, just to name a few. The Fluid UI Preferences Editor allows you access to do just that.

Panel Presentation

I was also fortunate to be on a panel with Denis Boudreau and Laura Johnson on Making Drupal More Accessible. This is also available on Youtube thanks to the work of Kevin Thull. On the panel, Laura asked a number of great questions which I’m going to highlight here.

Is Drupal the most accessible Content Management System (CMS) out there?

Yes. Absolutely. That said, did a study of CMS’s in the wild and Drupal was in the middle of the rank. This study only dealt with the public facing implementations of people that used their service though.

Drupal is still one of the few CMS’s in the world to have even attempted the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0 let along WCAG 2.1. From the base accessibility provided by Drupal Core, we’re still far ahead.

What are you excited about in WCAG 2.1, 2.2 and Silver?

Much of what I’m excited about is the work on cognitive disabilities. Denis’s answer to this is excellent. WCAG 2+ is an extension of the existing framework of WCAG 2.0. Silver is the next step.

What is this Bill C81 thing and how does it apply to me?

The Accessible Canada Act will become law later this month. It affects the federal government, crown corporations as well as any federally regulated industry. This is mostly transportation, financial and telecommunications industries.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): How much is hype?

I think there’s a lot of hype right now. The focus is on replacing human effort, rather than augmenting it. AI should be seen as an extension of the ATAG 2.0, rather than a replacement for it. We can pre-populate image alternative text with AI, but we cannot assume that the AI will ever be able to understand why that photo was selected or how it relates to the other content on the page.

Thanks again!

Was really good to come to another event hosted by Canada’s Drupal community. There is always so much to learn, and I am looking forward to watching other talks that I wasn’t able to attend.

This article was first published on our Medium account.

About The Author

Mike Gifford is the founder of OpenConcept Consulting Inc, which he started in 1999. Since then, he has been particularly active in developing and extending open source content management systems to allow people to get closer to their content. Before starting OpenConcept, Mike had worked for a number of national NGOs including Oxfam Canada and Friends of the Earth.