MODX, the free and open source content management system, is taking steps towards making itself (and in turn, the Internet) more accessible for those who would usually struggle to get the most out of the world wide web.
A range of disabilities can and do impair people from experiencing content management systems as they are intended to be experienced. And that's a problem for everybody in the CMS world.
Thankfully, MODX are taking the initiative, shining a much needed light on the issue.
Here's a video detailing MODX's mission.
In a recent blog post, Ryan Thrash, the Co-Founder of MODX, said this:
"...For people who rely on assistive technologies, building in MODX has been marginal, and not a good user experience.
For example, try surfing the web with your eyes closed while someone reads the page to you, and you try to tab to the right links. What if you misplace your eyeglasses and need to enlarge your fonts 2- to 3-times their normal size? Or, crank down the contrast and brightness on your monitor, and only use your thumb on your non-dominant hand. For many users, there is effectively no alternate way to experience the web."
Accessibility is for everyone and it’s time to make accessibility a top-priority in MODX."
An Improved & More Consistent UX
It's worth noting that this project will enhance the MODX user experience for everybody, not just those who require assistive technology.
MODX say that their users will soon benefit from an improved and more consistent UX, thanks to a host of benefits including vastly improved keyboard navigation and other enhancements.
The Ohio State University also deserve credit for helping to fund the project.
Ken Petri, The Ohio State University Director of Web Accessibility, made this statement upon the announcement of the MODX initiative:
"MODX has a lot of traction on campus. For site administrators and content creators, the Manager interface is logical, intuitive, and simple to use. But there are a number of staff on campus who rely on assistive technologies, such as screen readers, or who have other vision impairments or need access by using the keyboard alone because of a motor disability.
To this point, MODX hasn’t been a practical solution for them. But Ohio State and others in the accessibility community are working with the MODX team over the next few months to help guide changes to the Manager interfaces so that they can be used effectively by everyone, including our staff with disabilities."
I for one, commend MODX and The Ohio State university for this noble move.
In a world where every serial entrepreneur and enterprising organization is trying to reach more people in more ways, MODX are reaching out to those looking to do the simpler things, like build a website of their own.
Making technology more accessible in this sense is exactly the type of innovation needed in the world of CMS. Perhaps every vendor should now ask themselves about how accessible their products really are, especially to those with slightly and significantly different needs.
In my recent article about the future of CMS in 2015, I mentioned the need to make products more accessible, and although I may not have originally meant accessibility in this particular sense, MODX are definitely showing us all the way forward when it comes to innovation in accessibility.
Check out the MODX blog for more information on this project, and if you can, do your best to help by donating towards their $50,000 goal.
Also, you can find out more about MODX through out CMS Directory.