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Accessible CMS WYSIWYG Problems

1:16 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm consulting for a site that wants to meet the WCAG 2.0 for "A" level conformance.

It's being built by a third party and I am giving SEO and accessibility advice, but my core competence is in SEO.

I've been going over the new site and checking it against the WCAG guidelines. Everything seems fine/fixable, except the WYSIWYG editor, which the client will then use to upload new pages to the site.

The WYSIWYG editor creates lots of "junk" HTML used for presentation. This seems to have the potential to destroy much of the site's accessibility as new content is added. Since all the new pages will not have Content and Presentation separated (HTML and CSS).

The site designer claims that he can't modify the existing WYSIWYG editor. Technically, the client will get an accessible site, but it will degrade with every new page added.

Any simple solutions? Does this sort of problem come up often? I can dig my heels on this, but the client will probably end up paying a ridiculous amount of money for changes to the WYSIWYG editor.
4:54 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This is a rock and a hard place. I'll offer one explanation . . . the developer is likely using an off-the-shelf editor such as tinymce or similar. You can mod this set of scripts if you have the mojo, but like the CMS, with every update it will nuke all your mods. Nightmare maintenance that no one wants to pay for.

Just present the conditions and let it be their problem. Go one way, compromise A conformance, go the other way, their maintenance staff must suffer the pains of learning to hard code. It's not your fault, this is just how it is. If they decide "well then we'll find someone who will," wish them well and mourn for whoever gets the project.
7:40 pm on Dec 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator ergophobe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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What about various types of filtering? There are some add-ons/plugins/modules like Beautify and things like that to clean up HTML after the fact and filter out tags and attributes as needed.

In Drupal you can also turn off a lot of the features for TinyMCE. Not sure about other CMS.

Of course, then the client might say "But now I can't make tables. I need tables" or whatever it is you're filtering out, and you'll be stuck.

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