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TYPO3 Receives German Governmental Funding for Accessibility and Usability Project

July 27, 2011

Category: Community
Author: BLE Project Organization Team

We are happy to announce that the TYPO3 Association received funding from a German governmental agency (Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung, short: BLE) in order to improve the accessibility and usability of TYPO3.

Introduction

We are happy to announce that the TYPO3 Association received funding from a German governmental agency (Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung, short: BLE) in order to improve the accessibility and usability of TYPO3.

The BLE, as the overall IT provider to the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, is running many websites on TYPO3. One of the TYPO3 developers working for the BLE was deeply involved in improving the output of TYPO3 (at that time version 4.0) by participating in the early stages of the TYPO3 Content Rendering Group.

As a governmental agency, the BLE is required to make all websites fully accessible according to the German accessibility guidelines (BITV). This often requires special configuration and extension of TYPO3, a cumbersome process requiring manual effort for each installation.

With the German economic stimulus program (Konjunkturpaket II) in 2009, the BLE saw the opportunity to apply for funding as part of the IT Investment Program to support the TYPO3 project. Their goal was to make the TYPO3 core accessible from the start, for example equipping all TYPO3 media assets (such as images or videos) with metadata. This metadata can be used to provide alternative text which screenreaders can read out loud, making it possible for people with visual impairments to access the content.

The BLE wanted all changes to be integrated into the TYPO3 Core so that they would not have to manually patch the TYPO3 Core for their installations and, as a side effect, all other users of the Open Source product TYPO3 benefit as well from the improvements. For these reasons, it made sense for the BLE to work closely together with the TYPO3 project itself.

After about 2 years of organizational preparation in the background, we are happy to announce the official start of the project! The project is formally executed by the TYPO3 Association, with the organizational team for the project consisting of Ingmar Schlecht (lead), Ben van ’t Ende, Benjamin Mack, and Oliver Hader.

Project Outline

The project duration will be from July to October 2011, so that the features developed for the project will be ready in time for an early alpha version of TYPO3 4.7 (to be released in April 2012).

The project comprises of a range of subprojects, including a project to make the TYPO3 Core frontend output accessible (according to various accessibility guidelines including WCAG and the BITV), further development of the file abstraction layer (in order to provide central metadata management out of the box), an accessible image gallery, accessibility improvements of various extensions, and the creation of a government-focused package of TYPO3 shipping an accessibility-optimized default configuration of TYPO3.

All in all, the project will be a boost to the development of TYPO3 v4, bringing it even further in conformance with accessibility standards, and making it even easier to manage assets and metadata within TYPO3.

Development Process

Given the short timeframe of the project, we needed to immediatelly get developers on board with the project. Whenever possible, we tried to build upon existing structures in the TYPO3 community around certain subject areas, such as involving developers of existing teams or people who were recently active in core or relevant extension development, as they would have the best technical insight for the tasks at hand.

Related Forge projects

If you want to watch the activity within the BLE project, have a look into the following projects on TYPO3 Forge:

 Join the Project

If you would like to join any of the projects on a voluntary basis, you are very welcome on all of the teams. In general, the concepts of functionality to be implemented will be worked on in some public space either on Forge or in the relevant project mailing lists, but you can also contact the individual developers to be included in the efforts.


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