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Re: Opinions on Plone

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From: Joshue O Connor
Date: Aug 22, 2006 8:50AM


CFIT are currently road testing several CMS systems for overall
usability/accessibility. Plone is one of them.
Our initial tests, with a power screen reader user, found in no
particular order, the plus points:

Good heading structure.
No Frames.
Form elements are well marked up (though this is limited to a search
field but in this version of Plone, on the main admin page most
form elements seem to be marked up well).

The negative points are:

In general the naming conventions for items used in the interface is a
little unintuitive. Use of terms like
"Smart Folder" wasn't great, with no idea what a "Smart Folder" does.
However reading the manual would no doubt shed
some light on this, which we have deliberately not done to test Plone's
level of "instant usability", as such.

When we tried to add a page we found 2 frames, not correctly or not
clearly labeled. There are "Skip to content/Skip navigation links",
which is good. There is however, an overall a lack of consistency
between what elements are or are not visible when in forms mode/virtual
PC mode.

There were also some peculiar (and inconsistent) behaviours when using
JAWS 5. Pressing the F key (or tab key) should allow
the user pick out elements such as buttons, edit boxes, list boxes etc
and this worked fine, however when using the arrow keys
to navigate through these elements, no associated labels or identifying
information, was read out. Now we have to again test this with JAWS 7
and also other screen readers such as Window Eyes etc to see if this
observed behaviour is consistent or something
peculiar to JAWS 5.

Having said all of this we have still not come to a conclusion about
Plone, and we have not tested its output at all, but my first impression
is that I have to agree with Leonie when she says:

> simply too much information made it less than straightforward to use.

But when customized it could be a much different story. As an aside, I
found that the approach Drupal take with it's slim interface which
you can add to as needed, more intuitive and accessible.

I should say that this feedback is hot off the press, so please forgive
me if it is less that cogent, but I thought some
of you might find it useful.

Joshue O Connor

Senior Accessibility Consultant
Centre For Inclusive Technology
www.cfit.ie


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