For years MODX has virtually owned “Creative Freedom”. If you can prototype how a website should work and look, MODX can power it—without question. It doesn’t impose design or structural limitations, empowering you with the freedom to create exactly what you wish, without compromising, making excuses, or hacking the core.
But there is an area where MODX has failed to deliver on its promise of freedom.
From its first release in 2005 (yes we’ve been around for 10 years), you could always power first-class accessible websites with MODX. I’d argue there’s still no better platform for that even today. But 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.
A huge, huge “thanks!” goes to The Ohio State University. They made this initiative possible by providing the funds to start the effort to bring MODX to everyone. MODX is a key platform for University Communications, and they faced a tough choice: stop building new projects with it, or somehow make it accessible. When they reached out to us we enthusiastically started a dialog that brought us to where we are today.
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.
There’s a tremendous amount of planning and research that has already taken place over the last few months. We’ve started prototyping new functionality and even fixing things. But taking it to every corner of the ExtJS Manager is a massive project, that to be effective requires a considerable learning curve by experienced MODX developers.
Doing the Right Thing
Making the MODX Manager accessible is without question the right thing to do.
By making the Manager accessible, users that rely on assistive technologies will get to experience the creative freedom for which MODX is known. By supporting this effort you’ll be supporting people who use assistive technologies.
Not only will an accessible manager allow more people to use MODX, all users will benefit from improved, more consistent UX and a host of benefits including vastly improved keyboard navigation and other enhancements. Additionally, there should be a new source of people to help build and maintain sites in MODX, too.
Together we can make a difference! We need your help to complete this major initiative.
We’ve already made great headway and started retrofitting the MODX Manager for accessibility—we know it will be a first class citizen in the accessible software world. This not only solves a very real problem today, but it also paves the way to set guidelines for future MODX releases and development.
So please visit the MODX Accessibility site and donate whatever you can towards this effort to raise $50,000. We look forward to bringing this to the MODX Manager and everyone, soon!
PS: Our friend Jeroen Kenters has created a video showcasing this important initiative.
Learn More About the Accessibility Project and Donate TodayGo to A11y.modx.com