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Revision as of 15:39, 11 March 2014 by Aaronw (talk | contribs)

Note: For developers, please see Accessibility Checklist for guidelines on implementing accessibility.

Mahara's goal for accessibility

Mahara aims to be usable by as many individuals as possible, including those with disabilities or special needs. To this end, any discrepancies from major accessibility standards, guidelines or legislation shall be logged as defects in the bug tracker, and tagged with "accessibility", for inclusion in an appropriate release.

Summary of web content accessibility in Mahara

Creating accessible web content is a requirement in many countries. In order to provide international guidelines, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were created. There are three conformance levels under the WCAG 2.0, the latest edition of the guidelines: A, AA, and AAA. Each level requires conformance with previous levels and includes its own specific guidelines for how websites should be made accessible. The accessibility standards of New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the USA draw from WCAG 2.0 and require at minimum Level AA conformance. In order to better understand the status quo of accessibility in Mahara, we tested the software against all three WCAG 2.0 levels.

We grouped Mahara's pages into three categories: Pages for viewing web content, pages for creating and editing content and administration pages. However, we can only test built-in pages and the basic structure of portfolio pages as it is up to the users to ensure the content they upload (i.e. the user-generated content) is accessible.

Pages for viewing content

Users with disabilities can find and view user-generated pages, find friends, and join groups without major difficulties. There are minor accessibility issues, but they have little effect on the browsing experience. We expect to address these issues in Mahara 1.9, which will be released in April 2014.

Pages for creating and editing content

There are significant accessibility issues that make content creation difficult for people who rely solely on the keyboard to navigate their computer. However, we expect to have a solution for these pages in Mahara 1.9, and we will continue to work on this in the future.

Administration pages

Some administration pages have issues similar to the pages for creating content. Also, since the administration section is the most complex part of the site, there are other minor accessibility issues. We aim to address these issues in future versions of Mahara.


Mahara has a good level of accessibility when it comes to viewing content. Pages for creating content and administration have issues that affect specific types of users, but we plan to address these in the near future. With the right configuration, Mahara can be used by organizations that require compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA in 2014.

For more information on specific issues and their status of investigation, please refer to

We invite people to test changes as they become available and welcome the insight of other accessibility researchers who think there are issues we have not addressed which should be looked into.

If you wish to get involved in fixing these issues, either by providing your development time or by providing funding, please get in touch with us via [email protected]

Individual jurisdictions

New Zealand

The New Zealand Web Accessibility Standard has a four-year time frame for achieving compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA. This time frame began in July 2013 and will require full compliance by June 2017, with stricter requirements every year. The first phase ends in June 2014, by which time all home pages, contact pages and pages delivering high-stakes information must conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA. We expect Mahara to be compliant with each phase as it comes into effect, starting with version 1.9 which will be released in April 2014.


Australia's Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy (NTS) outlines the time frame for WCAG 2.0 conformance. All government websites were required to have Level A compliance by December 2012 and must be compliant with the Level AA requirements by December 2014. We are currently working on the accessibility of Mahara and we expect to have Level AA compliance well before December 2014.

European Union

Websites for EU agencies created after January 2010 are expected to comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA, as stated in the IPG Web Accessibility rules. However, existing websites may be gradually improved to this level. We are working towards conformance with Level AA and we expect to achieve this in 2014.


Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act is a law which requires the federal government to use accessible web technologies. This legislation is currently being revised and is expected to draw from WCAG 2.0 Level AA when the refresh comes into effect, which is likely to happen in 2014. We are currently working on achieving WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliance and we will implement any requirements specific to Section 508 when the refresh is made public.

Other links



See also the Equality Act 2010 Statutory Code of Practice (PDF) for Services, public functions and associations.


European Union