After the 10 previous posts on WYSIWYG editors, I have compiled all the ‘tips’ into a checklist of things to look for in an editor. However, it’s pretty detailed! In an article, you can say “allow these useful elements, and disallow everything else”, but in a checklist, you have to be a bit more precise!
At this stage, I’d like to ask for any comments, questions or criticisms before I start applying it to editors.
You can scroll down for a link to the checklist, but I feel I have to outline the aim & what it is supposed to do, and hopefully prevent misunderstandings.
Aim and purpose
This checklist is intended to see how well a browser-based WYSIWYG editor will perform in terms of accessibility, usability and output code quality. An intended side-effect of this is that the people creating editors also use this to improve their products. (Creating an editor is a horrifically difficult thing to do, I’d like to make improving them easier.)
Please note: If you want general accessibility guidelines for other products that produce HTML, the best method would be to sue the W3C‘s Authoring tool guidelines. Although the domain is similar, this checklist is very specific and does not have nearly as wide a scope.
Going through the process of scoring an editor against this checklist should indicate how easily it will allow you to set up an accessible site for editing, and help authors (the people using it) to maintain accessibility.
It is not intended as a pass/fail, (although a very low or negative score is not a good sign), so I’m not going to set a score that should be achieved. Although a few items are considered ‘core’ (i.e. if these are not in place, the output is almost certain to be inaccessible), most editors should get a positive score. These things are relative, and with a few tests completed, I should be able to set up a table of results to compare editors, and allow people to make an informed choice.
The document itself is intended to be saved off, filled in and posted, the instructions are on it. Results for the same editor between different people should be very similar, although it is likely that the largest variance will be due to how well people manage to configure the editor. (You could test the default set-up, but the scores are likely to be very poor at the moment).
It’s published under a creative commons license, so others are welcome to use it to publish their results if they wish to.
No one test of an editor should be considered final, and with comments and suggestions we can figure out how to get the best out of each editor, and hopefully feed that back into their development.
There are a couple of to-do items left in the checklist (HTML test cases), but I’d like to ask for comments now in case I’ve missed something vital! Please feel free to leave a comment below, or email me (ac at this domain) and I will endeavor to update the checklist.
Without further ado, here it is: The WYSIWYG editor checklist.