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Canadian Museum of Human Rights

Focusing on the needs of the visually impaired to enable the rights of all Canadians to web accessibility.

The Canadian Museum of Human Rights (CMHR) is committed to educating its visitors about human rights and “to erase barriers and create meaningful, lasting change.” Their toolkit ranges from visitor experiences to technology to immersive interactive applications.

www.humanrights.ca - As a Canadian museum, their resources must be available in both official languages. To meet the CMHR’s inclusivity mandate, they must be accessible to all citizens -- including the visually impaired.

The museum had engaged an agency to build the main Drupal web property. That firm’s expertise centred on general website configurations, overall design and builds. But the CMHR needed more than a standard configuration and solution for their accessibility mandate. The CMHR needed new leading edge functionality required for a totally inclusive website.

Objectives

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights was building its website with Drupal. The work on the branding, design and strategy had been completed. The overall configuration and architecture had been determined. The outstanding issue was in knowing how to provide a quality online experience for the visually impaired that addressed their range of abilities.

The museum determined they needed to build new functionality into their website. They needed to allow the visually impaired to self-configure their online experience by modifying font size, line height, font style, contrast, and highlight dynamic elements such as link style. Furthermore, the user preferences needed to remain in place for the entire visit and, it needed to function in both of Canada’s official languages.

Finally, to fit within the general website’s deployment schedule, the museum needed a solution that could be created, built and tested in its own environment and then integrated with the site post-launch, functioning with their already well-into-development website and theme.

The CMHR recognized that this complex set of problems was beyond the capabilities of both their internal staff and the firm completing work on the general website configuration and build. The museum realized they needed the expertise of a firm capable of handling tough technical challenges with Drupal. They understood they needed the expertise of the team at OPIN.

Goals

  • Create an enhanced user experience for visually impaired users with varying degrees of sight
  • Develop a custom module with the ability for users to adjust font size, font type, line height, contrast and, highlight dynamic elements such as links
  • Ensure module works with the CMHR website and its custom theme
  • Maintain user preferences for entire website experience
  • Create a solution for both English-speaking and French-speaking users

Solution

The team from OPIN created the Drupal 7 module “Fluidproject UI Options” to provide theme and content display enhancements for the CMHR website. It provides accessibility options for users to modify a page’s font size, line height, font style, contrast, and link style. The settings are retained using cookies. The functionality works in both English and French.

The module was built and tested to be functional with the top 10 Drupal base themes making it useable for a large part of the worldwide Drupal community of open source developers and website builders.

What was unique to this project? Our developers leveraged an open source library to build a collaborative, open source project with the Fluid UI team, specifically to create the added multilingual functionality.

The scope of the project was expanded to help the museum with additional theme enhancements. And recommendations for best practices enhancements for other elements of the website were provided as well.

Results

OPIN was engaged to add leading edge functionality to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights’ website. The new feature is aligned with the ongoing movement to personalize websites by allowing users to customize their own experience, utilizing a user centric approach to website development and user experience.

The ability to understand, defend and build for the end user – a website user with visual disabilities – has broadened the website’s reach and addressed the museum’s mandate of delivering its information to all users.

Knowing that this work benefits not just this one museum, but citizens throughout the world, has made this assignment a rewarding project.

OPIN’s technical lead on the project articulates the success of the project best. “It was incredibly rewarding for me to build this kind of accessibility module, not only because none had previously existed before but, more importantly, because it helps to make websites truly inclusive. The web is such a valuable tool because it gives us so much opportunity to share. No one should be excluded.”

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