Accessibility kit for Sharepoint

Finally there could be a little light at the end of the tunnel for accessibility and Sharepoint: Microsoft has formed "an agreement" with HiSoftware to create an accessibility kit for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007:

The kit will provide templates, master pages, controls and Web parts along with technical documentation to advance MOSS accessibility for people with disabilities. All of the source code will be provided via the Microsoft Permissive License and will be available on CodePlex later this year for customers and other Microsoft partners to download, reuse and extend.

I do find in incongruous that a company with a long standing commitment to enhance the accessibility of its solutions, and a product that garners $800 million a year, does not build accessibility in itself.

Bandage approach?

I think the main worry is that an accessibility kit is simply a patch, how effective can it be? Even if it somehow produces accessible output, as the press release suggests: enabling partners and customers to develop Web sites that conform to the guidelines, what about the editing interface?

Sharepoint appears to be a great solution for Intranets, but what about the employees?

4 contributions to “Accessibility kit for Sharepoint

  1. Great product shame about the accessibility has always been my feelings on Sharepoint

    If they crack the accessibility both for the back end and front end then it will be a world beater, IMHO.

  2. Thanks for the update Alistair and the pointer Alun.

    As a purist I’d feel more reassured to know that accessibility and usability are built in from the very foundations up. Even if that does mean a moment of pain rewriting some of the core architecture – it would be worth it in the long run and would show true commitment to non-sloppyness!

    Anything added later will always be seen as an afterthought, and the cynnics out there might be led to think it’s for regulatory reasons and box-ticking rather than to ensure a totally usable and accessible set of products.

    Anyway, it’s a start…

Comments are closed.