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Sakai Accessibility

Please feel free to add comments to this page noting where you have encountered accessibility issues with Sakai. It will be helpful if you fill out a form (see Attachments) that describes the problem in detail, how you expected the tool or function to perform, and suggested remedy. If you wish to send an email about problems you have encountered, send it to the Accessibility Team Lead (Margaret Londergan),

Also, see the attachments to this page for a review of where Sakai meets Section 508 and WCAG 1.0 standards and where it fails. Please note that the attachments refer to the Sakai Enterprise tools and not provisional tools such as OSP, which have not been evaluated for accessibility. A Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is also provided in attachments.

Sakai 2.5 is accessible to persons using most adaptive technology, although it has several issues we are continuing to address.

1. Frames. Sakai currently has an iFrame for page content. We are hoping to provide a frameless version of Sakai in the near future, which would improve usability for persons using screen magnifiers. Also, tools that are refactored to be JSR-168 compliant will work without frames. A schedule for either implementation has not been established.

2. JavaScript. Sakai relies on JavaScript for some basic top of page operations, including setting permissions and options. It is our understanding that javascript will be permitted under the upcoming WCAG 2.0 guidelines, so at this point we have chosen not to provide alternative, non-script functionality. Instead we will note within the Accessibility page in help that JavaScript needs to be enabled (per WCAG 2.0 baselines) for Sakai to work.

3. Compliance with Requirements. The Sakai Accessibility Styleguide was developed early in the project to meet Section 508 and exceed WCAG 1.0 Priority One and Two Recommendations (see The styleguide was used in developing most Sakai tools, and, for the most part, followed closely. We review portions of each new version to identify accessibility issues. Information about the most recent reviews (for Version 2.3), including tools that were tested, links to the protocol, participants, etc. can be found at this address: A list of enhancements by version is provided below, in the next section of this page.

In addition, general reviews of Sakai with respect to Section 508 requirements and WCAG 1.0 recommendations are attached (see

As we find problems, we put them in the Jira queue for repair. See this address for a list of accessibility-related issues: Several critical issues remaining to be resolved: the WYSIWYG editor does not provide a keyboard-based exit from the text input box and Sakai does not enlarge well beyond 2x (a frame problem). Note: The list contains some items that do not relate to accessibility, due to Jira's text based search mechanism.

4. Making Accessibility Usable. We have also included a variety of skip links, accesskeys, headings, titles, form and table attributes, and utilized stylesheets in Sakai to improve usability for adaptive technology (AT) users. For a description of how to take advantage of them, please take a look at the Accessibility section in Sakai Help.

5. Future Enhancements. Some tools rely on Java Server Face (JSF) widgets. Although they incorporate accessibility attributes, it is best to customize JSF widgets to make them fully WCAG compliant. This will be done as time and resources permit. University of Toronto is working on an interface that will enable users to customize Sakai presentation (such as enlarged text, white font on black background, etc.). And there are plans to introduce a content repository and device-dependent authoring system piloted by the University of Toronto. Also, 2.4 will contain provisional tools that do not require iFrames, and can serve as templates for future iFrame-free development (written using JSR-168).

Accessibility Enhancements

Here's information about the changes made to improve Sakai's accessibility from version to version. Please add your comments to the list if you have suggestions for the next version (2.4).

Sometime in the Future--Version 2.6+

*Enhancement of Test and Quizzes Tool to include MathML capabilities
*Addition of user-specified content transformation tool--FLUID provisional tool
*Miscellaneous accessibility enhancements to JSF widgets.

Version 2.4 to Version 2.5 (Proposed)

  • Elimination of remaining iFrame (to enhance usability and navigation).
  • Addition of user-specified presentation tool (font size, reverse type, etc.)--StyleAble core tool.

Version 2.3 to Version 2.4

  • Addition of user-specified presentation tool (font size, reverse type, etc.)--StyleAble provisional tool.
  • Removal of remaining "onkeypress" code.

Version 2.2 to Version 2.3

  • Elimination of tool title iFrame.
  • Elimination of site navigation iFrame.
  • Increased use of CSS for portal and tool content presentation.
  • Resolution of WYSIWYG navigation and help tabbing issues.
    *Elimination of numerous instances of "onkeypress" code (this was originally added to comply with a WCAG 1.0 recommendation, however, it was found to conflict with Internet Explorer).
  • Revision of portal accesskeys to reflect UK eCommerce guidelines

Version 2.1 to Version 2.2

  • Addition of accesskeys to common functions (Save, Cancel, Options, Permissions, Edit, Delete).
  • Enhanced title tags to include tool names for Options, Permissions, Edit, etc. top bar tool functions.
  • Extension of heading tags to include: form labels, table subjects.
  • Addition of "onkeydown" to JSF event handlers (i.e., to provide "onclick" alternative for screen reader users).
  • Addition of caption tag to data tables.

Version 2.01 to Version 2.1

  • Addition of link to Accessibility page (Global; implemented by individual school).
  • Addition of Accessibility Information to help.
  • Screen reader and device independence changes:
    o Improved linearization of information
    o Improved semantic markup
    o Improved labeling
    o Enhancement of title tags
    o Enhancement of function titles
    o Tabular information arranged semantically
    o Enhancement of link phrases, added alt tags
    o Added screen-reader-only text and labels
    o Removed redundancies
    o Onkeypress added to event handlers (for users that cannot use a mouse)
    o Conversion of 4.01 html to 1.0 xhtml transitional (where necessary)

Version 1.5 to Version 2.01

  • Replacement of automatic refresh/refocus with manual refresh.
  • Addition of skip links and accesskeys to content, tools, and worksites.
  • Addition of accesskeys to tools (0 to 9) and help.
  • Refactored legacy tools to reflect style guide accessibility requirements:
    o Headings.
    o Titles (iFrames, Links).
    o Tables.
    o Forms.
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