Talk:Accessibility of the Wikimedia websites

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This paper has been written by Carol Campbell a trustee of Wikimedia UK. She is very interested in 'getting the ball rolling' on issues around accessibility on Wikipedia and all other wikis. She is fairly certain that this is not the first time these issues have been raised but would like to commit to bringing together people interested in finding answers to some of the issues she is raising. Please add your names below and offer any background or insights you may have. Thanks Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 15:39, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

I am interested in helping on these issues[edit source]

These are my thoughts[edit source]

  • I am very interested in how we can get around the problem of 'inline links'. For example, if I was to link to Google (click here), this isn't very useful. Wikis tend to do this all the time and it creates a real problem for the disabled. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 16:09, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
  • I've been an active advocate for WikiProject Accessibility for several years, and I have considerable experience in web design and WCAG 1.0 & 2.0, as well as the accessibility problems specific to wikimedia software. --RexxS (talk) 16:31, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
  • What RexxS said. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 17:21, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Alt tags for images etc[edit source]

I support in principle all of the ideas set out in this paper, but, based on some significant time working on these things on and off wiki, have some concerns about the ways to make the improvements.

To take one example - ALT tags for images. I remember a campaign on wikipedia to make these a requirement for any article being nominated for GA or FA status. I spent many hours gradually learning to write descriptions of what could be seen in the image rather than just what the subject was. I nominated one (I think the first at FAC) and the descriptions were challenged on all sorts of grounds: not "neutral", not "verifiable", "original research" and similar. Others experienced similar concerns and the requirement for ALT tags was removed & seems to have languished ever since.

Having investigated captioning etc for educational videos, the labour intensive nature of the process was challenged by managers as not being "cost-effective" and falling outside "reasonable adjustments" as defined under the act - although this may have changed since.

Although I would agree that it is important for Wikimedia UK to work on improvements in this area, I would suggest that many of the features need should be built into the mediawiki software, which is presumably a very different issue.Rodw (talk) 16:37, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Well, that'll teach you to mix with the FAC crowd ;-) We can do better than that. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 17:21, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

CC-BY-SA[edit source]

The contents of this wiki are CC-BY-SA, indeed all contributors are clearly warned "If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then do not submit it here." If the text currently pasted on this page is copyright of the RNIB and they do not wish it to become CC-BY-SA, then I suggest it is removed and we use the links to the RNIB guidelines so that everyone can read it at the source, rather than cut & pasting the text onto this wiki. This wiki was created to remain CC-BY-SA which fits the mission of the charity very well, there seems no need to change it to allow cut & pasting from copyrighted sources.

My understanding of copyright on the webpage as it currently stands is that the informal note at the top of the page does not introduce a waiver for the site-wide free release of all its contents. The page is confusing for a re-user and may fail to protect the copyright of the RNIB. -- (talk) 17:30, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

I think I probably agree, I can imagine automated downloads (for example) where the addition of a div provides no machine readable means to remove the page from a CC repository. I wonder if there are other things we don't/can't release under open license such that we might justify having a separate namespace for such content. Sjgknight (talk) 17:37, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
Can't it just be linked to, or could the RNIB be asked to release the text under a free license? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 08:43, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Could an employee or trustee please take some bold action and remove text that may be a copyright violation sooner rather than later. I would do this, but as a mere member of the charity, no longer feel I am empowered to interfere with employee or trustee pages on this wiki unless invited to do so. -- (talk) 11:30, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

Hi all. Could the staff please indicate whether we yet have a response from the RNIB regarding release of this text under a free licence? Unless they are able to release the text soon I unfortunately see no alternative to taking the page down. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 08:55, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

If there has been action taken by operations to make a request from the RNIB, could we be told about it?
Michael, I see no reason why the WMUK charity should not adopt the good practice of the precautionary principle that we are familiar with on Commons. In such situations it would be quite normal to remove media where there was significant doubt as to a free release, and restore it if and when copyright was confirmed. Could we now please make that an expected good practice for employees and trustees of WMUK? -- (talk) 10:59, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

As the copyright status of the text on the page appears not to have been clarified yet, I have now taken it down as mentioned in my post, above, of 20th Jan. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 11:14, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Accessibility is an important issue, and I hope that volunteers and/or staff will work on the page soon to make sure the information is reinstated in some form or other. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 11:46, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Issue, proposed solution[edit source]

Thanks Michael. As far as I’m concerned (others may disagree) there are two issues here:

  1. the text is on a page with our CC-By-Sa notice on it (even if the div does contradict that)
  2. the text isn’t properly attributed (I don't know where to look on the rnib website to see whether we could just link out to them, for example)

There's a third possible issue around 'with permission' reuse, which CC licenses were created precisely to avoid (along with a whole host of other situations) but I understand such permissions aren't always avoidable (and this may be one such case). To resolve this, I think we need at minimum to:

  1. Move the content to a page that doesn't have our default CC-By-SA statement on it, ideally off wiki. Creating an unattached page on the Wordpress site would suffice as far as I'm concerned (the wordpress site doesn't have our default cc-by-sa on it, but in any case we could also publish it on a different template).
  2. Properly attribute the text, including date, organisation, and ideally links

If people are also concerned re: 'with permission' note, we'd need to either link out, or ask that the text be released under a CC-By-SA license (in which case we ought to make the original available and then edit it I imagine). I don't know whether any action has been taken to request such a license, although Fae asked about that above. Does this properly describe the issue and possible solutions? Sjgknight (talk) 12:01, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

I suggest applying Occam's razor. We would like to adopt RNIB's standard/guidelines and perhaps add to it rather than remove anything. RNIB's website may improve, so there are excellent benefits from referring to their "live" pages, such as If anyone wants to refer to fixed versions, these are permanently available here, at There seems little reason to create our own mirrors of the text, along with creating more maintenance headaches as well as copyright issues. -- (talk) 12:14, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Fae, I've implemented that suggestion. I'm unclear what differences there are between that link, and the page we had up (other than it all being on one page - which I prefer, but never mind), could somebody who knows/checked reply please? Sjgknight (talk) 13:39, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Broader issue?[edit source]

If the items mentioned here affect this wiki, then they're likely to affect all wikis. Wouldn't it be better to work with the WMF to get design changes made in the default Vector skin, which is also used here, rather than trying to solve these issues uniquely for this wiki? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 08:47, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

Yes, it would. LZ (talk) 09:22, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
RexxS has already mentioned the WikiProject Accessibility and I was very interested to find a wider scope of disability and accessibility that I expected. And the effects on usability for everybody would improve by addressing these issue. LZ (talk) 09:27, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Hi Mike, I've not really been involved in these discussions but I'm fairly certain the intention is not just a narrow focus on our own Wiki, it's to look for areas we might have wider impact Sjgknight (talk) 11:17, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
The discussion does relate to all wikis. The current title is something of a misnomer. We should consider accessibility of our own website, but it is certainly a wider issue. Richard Nevell (WMUK) (talk) 11:48, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Accessibility of the Wikimedia UK website so which website? LZ (talk) 12:25, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

I have moved the page to reflect the broader scope. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 08:57, 20 January 2014 (UTC)