[Irl-dean] TerminalFour and accessibility

Colm McBarron colm.mcbarron at iqcontent.com
Fri Jun 9 17:01:57 IST 2006

Hi Mark,

I've worked with a lot of Content management systems - from Open  
source to Enterprise Wide Systems - and all of them have problems  
when it comes to accessibility.

In an Irish context, the public sector effort to improve website  
accessibility has forced the main vendors to ensure that their  
systems can produce and maintain standards compliant websites. And  
TerminalFour, in particular, has done a reasonably good job.

TerminalFour's Site Manager system allows the web master or  
administrator to specify and control the HTML output. So if the web  
master understands how to design an accessible website, the content  
management system will publish and maintain an accessible website.

Design flaws in the the WYSIWYG editor include the fact that content  
copied directly from MS Word document results in non standard HTML  
tags when published and the table editor does not input the heading  
tags by default.

(More savvy organisations using Site Manager - such as Meath County  
Council - have put in place author training programs and include  
accessibility checks as part of their publishing workflow to overcome  
these limitations.)

All content management systems contain numerous interface design &  
usability problems. The TerminalFour interface is relatively good  
(compared to other CMSs that I've worked with) and most content  
authors are generally up and running quite quickly.

But unfortunately the application interface (from the Log in screen  
through to the WYSIWYG Interface) is inaccessible to a blind or  
visually impaired user (doesn't work at all with JAWS) and it would  
be very difficult for someone to use without a mouse.

I've heard of a number of systems that claim that their interface is  
accessible, but I haven't tested these claims.


On 7 Jun 2006, at 19:35, Mark Magennis wrote:

> From ElectricNews:
> Eight Irish local authorities have hired enterprise content  
> management firm TerminalFour to upgrade their websites, it emerged  
> on Wednesday.
> ...
> TerminalFour managing director Piero Tintori told ENN ... "The need  
> to update their systems for improved accessibility for deaf or  
> blind citizens prompted local authorities to now roll-out their  
> second, or in some cases third-generation, versions of their e-gov  
> services".
> ...
> "The TerminalFour Site Manager product has helped us to develop and  
> deliver a scalable, easy-to-use and accessible website which can be  
> maintained by any of our staff members, regardless of their  
> technology expertise," said Galway City Council's head of ICT,  
> Robert Curley, in a statement.
> Full story: http://www.enn.ie/frontpage/news-9698543.html
> Obviously CMSs are an important determinant of website  
> accessibility. Anybody here know anything more about the  
> accessibility of TerminalFour or other available CMSs? You can  
> email me privately if you don't want to say anything about this in  
> public.
> Thanks,
> Mark
> _______________________________________________
> Irl-dean mailing list
> Irl-dean at list.eeng.dcu.ie
> http://list.eeng.dcu.ie/mailman/listinfo/irl-dean

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