How accessible is your CMS? Two sides of the accessibility coin
In November, Webdragon posed the question "how accessible is your website's CMS?"
There are two key aspects to reaching an answer to that question: the front-end of the website, and the back-end.
The front-end of the website is what's typically available to visitors: publicly browsable information and pictures. It can also include private sign-in areas and e-commerce functionality.
It is vitally important for this to be accessible to the public to meet the disability discrimination legislation in the region where your customers are located, and this is now something on which many CMS providers place at least some focus.
Just as important however is the back-end of the CMS: the area that website administrators use to make changes to the website.
In many situations, this section of CMSs is completely inaccessible on a number of fronts:
- Basic usability for all users
- Usability for people with a disability
Users often require a large amount of training (several days) before being able to manage any information within the back-end of a CMS.
Even worse, often the back-end requires the use of restrictive systems that simply aren't usable by people using assistive technologies.
While it may be that, at launch, only people who are technically able and physically able to use the CMS are asked to do so, it is important that the future needs of people be taken into account to ensure that an organisation's CMS is usable by as broad a base of users as possible.
When selecting your organisation's website (and CMS) strategy, it is crucial to remember to address both sides of the accessibility coin.