Ra11y Plan for Sakai Accessibility Phase 1 Complete

Dear Community,
Thanks to you, Phase 1 of the Ra11y plan [1] is complete! 

What does this mean? It means that we completed a substantive review of the accessibility of the Sakai system by contracting out the assessment to a reputable 3rd party, SSB Bart [2]. Improving Sakai's accessibility means making it easier for people of all abilities to use our system. Our aim, as it always has been, is to make the system genuinely as accessible as possible, which directly impacts students, instructors, and other users in a positive way with a better user experience. We also wish to achieve WCAG 2 certification, which validates the community's hard work in this area. A double win!
The good news is that Sakai, as it stands now, is assessed at 74% compliant, which is not a bad starting point. Also we have gone painstakingly through the 453 identified issues and consolidated them into 51 Jiras [3] .  We are off to a great start and we don't want to lose the momentum!

Now we are in phase 2 and we have a deadline to complete the work to address issues identified by January 28, 2017.

Please consider contributing to this FARM project [4] either with a cash contribution, resources to fix bugs, or QA resources to help test Accessibility fixes. At the moment, resources for fixing bugs is the most urgent. 
We would like to target Sakai 11.2 or Sakai 11.3 maintenance release to complete this project, though we realize this might be ambitious.

Why Contribute?

  • Accessibility reflects our values as a community; probably reflects your institutional values; and I am guessing that for most of us, reflects our personal values too.
  • Accessibility is becoming a must-have requirement for institutions looking to adopt a learning management system. Many institutions will not consider a learning management system that is not accessible.
  • Legal compliance in many countries
  • Accessibility is the right thing to do. 
  • Accessibility in most cases, if not all, benefits ALL users of our system. 

Consequences of not meeting the end of year date
If we don't meet our goal of 100% compliance by the January 2017 deadline then we can still get a conditional certification based on the percentage of completion we do make. But then if we want the full WCAG2 certification and don't meet the deadline , we will have to start the process over, which will be more time-consuming, will require another round of funding, and will mean the overall cost to complete might as much as double. 

Collaborating with developers and with SSB Bart, the Accessibility team aims to identify the best way to fix certain types of accessibility issues, and to document these approaches to make it as easy as possible for our developer community to participate and help fix bugs. The documentation will be in our community wiki, Confluence. More details to come.

Every little bit helps. If you think your institution might be able to contribute in any way, please contact our Accessibility chair, Matt Clare, for more information, matt.clare[at]brocku[dot]ca.

Thanks for your attention,
The Sakai Accessibility WG
[1] Ra11y plan - https://confluence.sakaiproject.org/display/2ACC/rA11y+Plan
[2] SSB Bart , vendor for our accessibility review - http://www.ssbbartgroup.com/
[3] Jira issues for Ra11y - https://jira.sakaiproject.org/issues/?filter=15821
[4] FARM - https://sites.google.com/a/apereo.org/farm/home/current-projects/in-prog...