Lars Nielsen's Discoveries

September 19, 2010

Is SharePoint 2010 really accessible?

Filed under: Good Practice,SharePoint — Lars Nielsen @ 12:07 pm
Tags: ,

Having read all the articles about how much effort has been put into SharePoint 2010 accessibility, I decided to have a better look myself.

I created a publishing site in SharePoint 2010 and then created a single article page and added a few words of content into the content placeholder.  I tried using the v4.master page.  Using Total Validator I validated the source code of the page (just pasted it into their cut-and-paste validator).   Here’s the result:

Starting page: Uploaded Page

Total errors found: 203 (Parsing: 6, HTML: 183, WCAG v2 A: 14)

(X)HTML used for this page: XHTML 1.0 Strict

Most of the errors were for XHTML compliance but right at the start of the page HTML, there’s the line:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">

There are all kinds of XHTML failures in the source code.  I did notice for example quite a few ie:menuitem tags.  I guess they’d not be rendered in another browser, so it might be worth testing XHTML compliance from a browser other than IE.  Having said that, my attempt to use SharePoint 2010 with Opera (which has a great tools for checking accessibility) proved short-lived.  In Opera, the Site Actions menu wouldn’t drop down properly, presumably because of some Javascript incompatibility, so that pretty much rules it out as a viable browser for SharePoint.

Anyway, as for accessibility which is what I was really interested in, there were also a number of WCAG level ‘A’ errors.  There were a few cases of the fgimg.png image without an ALT tag, the search textbox has a ALT attribute but it shouldn’t do (at least according to the validator), and some anchor tags like this:

<a href="#" style="display:none"></a>

An invisible tag with no link text: yuck!

I also briefly had a look at the HTML that what renders from a web part pages: it’s still using tables for layout, against WCAG 1.0 guidelines.  I also tried varying the master page and I did get different results with nightandday.master rather than v4.master, but there were still plenty of problems.    So whilst things are certainly better than SharePoint 2007, it seems like you can’t get fully real-world accessible pages straight out of the box.  Unless, of course, anyone knows any different – I’d like to be proved wrong!

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1 Comment »

  1. Have you found anyway of adding alt tags to fgimg.png? I have been trying to find a way and I do not know were to look. This is a real issue when you use a program like siteimprove and it then tells you your entire site has images w/o alt tags… >:/

    Comment by Colton Riffel — October 24, 2014 @ 4:31 pm


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