MediaWiki – Accessibility Enhancements

The accessibility of the German language Wikipedia was assessed. The assessment was carried out following WCAG 2.0 guidelines by several blind people and people with multiple disabilities. Analyzer tools were also used including WAVE, Web Developer and CCS2.0 (a tool for analysing colour contrast). In addition to this, script code analysis was also used. The results of this assessment then led to further recommendations for authors to avoid creating unsuitable pages for people with disabilities.

The principle recommendations to improve the accessibility of websites are:

  1. Accessible CAPTCHAs, which offer an alternative to visual verification (e.g. Audio-CAPCHAs)
  2. Better semantic structuring by using structural headings and other markup such as WAI-ARIA landmarks, as well as the correct use of HTML5
  3. Alternative text for graphic links (i.e. images with links) which describe the picture content and inform the user that the picture leads to the site where the picture can be found
  4. Simplified keyboard website navigation i.e. simplifying the process of using a website with only a keyboard
  5. Correct mark-up for tables to ease orientation for people with visual impairment

Some of these problems which were identified on had already been discussed in “Meta Wiki” and “Blind Wiki”. However this project was the first time that they had been systematically tested according to WCAG2.0 guidelines.

The test report and a simultaneously written checklist for authors were published as part of a MediaWiki Accessibility Tracking Group for the developer community. The report and checklist amongst other things show the state of implementation of the improvements. Wikimedi Germany developers in particular have applied several of these improvements.

In addition, using the CAC (Content Accessibility Checker), a validation tool for HTML was developed. This tool is can be further developed using JavaScript and is available as an Open Source Project on GitHub. The tool can be embedded into Wiki systems or added as a Plugin


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