The Arches Project has committed to prioritizing accessibility as a core design consideration and goal. A commitment toward promoting accessibility works towards the goals of the Arches Project in fostering a welcoming and inclusive community. Accessibility along with other measures including internationalization promote greater equity by ensuring that investments in the development of Arches benefit wider and more diverse communities.
- Enhanced User Experience: Accessibility features improve the overall user experience for everyone, not just individuals with disabilities. Well-designed accessible software tends to be more user-friendly, intuitive, and efficient for all users.
- Expanded User Base: Prioritizing accessibility broadens the Arches user base by increasing the accommodations for a range of disabilities. This not only increases the software’s reach but also creates a more diverse and inclusive user community.
- Legal Compliance and Ethical Good Practice: Adhering to accessibility standards and guidelines is often a legal requirement in many regions. Embracing accessibility ensures a project’s compliance with laws and regulations, especially for deployments by government agencies and other institutions that serve the public.
- Inclusive Community: A commitment to accessibility promotes positive values in the Arches community, especially values of respect and inclusion.
- Collaboration Through Diversity: An inclusive community fosters a diverse range of perspectives and talents. By welcoming such diversity, Arches hopes to foster broad, deeper, and more impactful collaboration.
Measures to Promote Accessibility
Methods and technologies to promote accessibility continually evolve and improve. Therefore, the Arches Project has a commitment to maintain continuous investment in accessibility so that the project can incorporate future improvements in understanding and good practice. These investments in accessibility are reflected in the developer guides and the project roadmap.
Currently work to improve Arches accessibility focuses on improvements to implement WCAG (WCAG 2 Overview | Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) | W3C) defined accessibility measures. Arches will initially meet “AA” level accessibility requirements for all public facing user interfaces (all content available to anonymous users without a login, including the home page, search interface, and resource reports). Specific accessibility measures include:
- Update markup to support labeling for screen readers
- Update tabbing to support natural flow through the site
- Update focus management especially when interacting with popup/slide out panels
- Improve semantic markup for screen readers
- Update drop downs to use an accessible version
- Update text contrast
- Update html to reflow properly on smaller screen sizes or when the screen is zoomed up to 400%
- Update text sizes to use relative sizing
Beginning with Version 7.5 (released December 2023), Arches supports an “accessibility” mode that implements the features described above to meet AA level accessibility requirements for public-facing user interfaces. The Arches Project will continue to make future accessibility improvements on other parts of the user-interface, including those features requiring a login to use. Arches will also keep pace with evolving best practices and make additional improvements accordingly.
We welcome your collaboration in improving Arches accessibility! To review and contribute toward ongoing software development in improving Arches accessibility, follow feature development progress under the “Accessibility” tag in software version control.
Last updated: February 2024