Designing for Everybody: Accessible, Responsive, Universal Design in Drupal

Matthew Fisher, USA , Matthew Donadio, USA

Workshop participants will learn how to design and build websites using the Drupal open source Content Management System that are accessible, responsive and integrate Universal Design principles. Drawing from a range of experiences, most notably the 2013 online exhibit for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History entitled “EveryBody: The History of Disability in America”, Night Kitchen Interactive President Matthew Fisher and Lead Developer Matt Donadio will demonstrate best practices in using Drupal to create websites that move beyond basic accessibility standards, are responsive to desktop, tablet and mobile platforms, and integrate Universal Design principles throughout.

The workshop will begin with an overview of Universal Design principles and how they apply to the context of website design, development, and user experience. We will explore an “Accessible First” approach of assessing the WCAG 2.0 guidelines to identify key requirements and practices for achieving website designs that are truly usable for all audiences, including those with disabilities, rather than simply meeting the minimum guidelines for assistive technologies.

Then, using the “Everybody” website as a case study, we will show how an accessible Drupal theme can be created using standard modules along with custom features utilizing the Drupal API, highlighting current best practices, baseline accessibility features, and features which go “above and beyond” basic guidelines. We will also outline findings from our testing groups and show how these influenced the website during development.

Through designing and developing websites for clients such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Federal Government, Night Kitchen has developed extensive expertise in embracing the opportunities and challenges associated with creating universally accessible websites.