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General Accessibility Issues for Sakai 2.5 and 2.6



Page layout

The width of the tools menu column increases greatly when the text size is increased, to the detriment of the main content section. It is assumed that this is because the width of that column is specified in ems. It is recommended that the column's width instead be specified in pixels or as a percentage of screen width.


The icons for FCKeditor do not increase in size in relation to the font size. Also, the text within the editor does not enlarge in relation to font size in Internet Explorer 6. Further, the editor's tool icons are not accessible to screenreaders. FCKeditor's tools are operable using keyboard shortcuts. It is recommended that the relevant keyboard shortcuts for the installed version of FCKeditor be documented on the help tool section on the editor. Further, a link to this list of shortcuts should be included above every instance of the editor. It is not sufficient to simply have shortcuts documented in the help section and expect users to find them of their own accord; this information needs highlighting at the point of use.
Keyboard shortcuts will mitigate against the non-resizing of icons; no solution for resolving the non-resizing of editable text in IE6.

Tool states

The way in which tools respond the back button is confusing an inconsistent. In some cases, the back button will take you back to the previous tool, sometimes back to the previous tool state (probably the expected behaviour, and therefore desirable) and in some cases, nothing happens. This is extremely problematic and hampers user interaction with tools to a considerable degree.
It is recommended that all tools behave consistently (within themselves an as a group) with regard to the back button. Further, it is also recommended that tools do not 'break' the back button, i.e. that the back button returns the user to the previous screen.
The reload button is intended to solve this problem, however it fails for several reasons:
1. It is not prominent enough
2. It is badly named; you are not reloading the tool, you are returning to the starting page of the tool, and in any case 'reload' has an implication of a loss of data that will prevent most users from clicking it.


The Sakai system causes disruption to the behaviour of the browser's back button functionality. It is highly recommended that this be prevented if at all possible, as
the back button is a vital mode of navigation for many users. Failing this, it may be useful to provide the user with some system-specific breadcrumb trail or history function, though it would be far better if the system simply didn't break the existing browser functionality that does just that.

Form Buttons

There are several instances where character combinations such as "<,>, vertical bar<, and >vertical bar are used in links and form buttons to indicate previous, next, first, last etc. Using characters in a purely visual fashion is very bad practice as it is logically meaningless, completely inaccessible to screenreader users and they don't even look very good.
It is recommended that these be replaced either with text, or icons with appropriate alt tags.

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