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practice Making Wikipedia fully accessible for all

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Making Wikipedia fully accessible for all

11 April 2008 | 1352 Visits | Rating: 3.8 (maximum:5)

Wikipedia is an important part of the information society and thereby also important for e-learning/e-participation/e-inclusion. Wikis are excellent platforms for collaboration and most of them are fortunately almost accessible for users with limited abilities such as blind persons.

i am searching for support and sponsorship opportunities for a development project which shall remove the last remaining barriers for a better accessibility and usability experience with the Mediawiki user interface. The Mediawiki developers are interested in this intention but, as a free & open source project, they currently don't have own resources for that work. Europe could easily help. Organisations and companies such as the Mozilla Foundation, the GNOME Foundation, Sun Microsystems, IBM, Canonical, Novell, Google and many other parties already support open source accessibility projects.

Of course, my major personal interest is to improve the accessibility & usability for blind screen reader users. If one or more parties would give financial support, a professional MediaWiki programmer could be hired for a few months to optimize the monobook CSS and JS for screen reader software. After that, the results and experiences could be used for the implementation of a screen reader skin or gadget for the MediaWiki software and thereby also for the great and well known Wikipedia. You can find first thoughts about blindness related Wiki problems and potential solutions at:

Improvements for the special needs of otherwise handicaped people are imaginable as well, but this depends on available development resources and collaboration with experts for these limitations/disabilities.

"MediaWiki is the web-based wiki software application used by all projects of the Wikimedia Foundation and many other wikis, including some of the largest and most popular ones. Originally developed to serve the needs of the free content Wikipedia encyclopedia, one of the highest traffic sites on the World Wide Web, today it has also been deployed by companies for internal knowledge management, and as a content management system. Distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, MediaWiki is free and open source software. "

MediaWiki is developed by employees of the Wikimedia Foundation and a worldwide community of volunteers. The Foundation relies on public contributions and grants to fund its mission of providing free knowledge to every person in the world.

Please do not ask what Wikipedia could do for Europe but ask what Europe could do for Wikipedia.
Wikipedia should become fully accessible for all European citizens and thereby for the whole world!

Learn more at Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediawiki and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation

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Showing 3 comments

Why wikipaedia

15 April 2008 | 1863 Visits | Rating: 3.5 (maximum:5)

Can I ask why you are focussed on one piece of wiki software - with the best will it is an extremely complex interface to use if you wnat to add more than just text

Other tools such as PBwiki and Wetpaint offer much greater ease of use and to some extent I am interested in how we can extend these tools to the widest population as much as mediawiki

Why Wikipedia? An attempt of explanation

16 April 2008 | 1924 Visits | Rating: 3.7 (maximum:5)

I am focussed on MediaWiki because it runs the most important information platform on the internet and has one of the largest online communities worldwide. Wikipedia's user interfaces, contents and great help pages are multi-lingual available and lots of users worldwide already use this platform every day. Surely, some other Wiki engines offer many nice and sometimes better features but they are not as popular as Wikipedia/MediaWiki and, most important, they don't provide the masses of text based information such as Wikipedia do. In one point you are right, all Wikis should become fully accessible but in my opinion, it would be the best way to start with the Wiki engine which has the most users. My dream is a screen reader skin for Wikipedia, so that blind users will have full access to the free knowledge and collaboration opportunities and a good usability experience. I hope this answer is satisfying for you.

Making Wikipedia fully accessible for all: progress since 2008?

17 June 2010 | 1753 Visits | Rating: 4 (maximum:5)

Hi Per,

I am responding to a blog post that is two years old but that I still find relevant. In your blog post, you focused on MediaWiki as a platform, but other aspects are important as well: templates that generate accessible code and the ability to convince other Wikipedia editors to follow accessibility practices. On the Dutch Wikipedia, for example, certain accessibility improvements were reverted with the message "Crap removed" in the edit summary. See for example the list of contributions at http://bit.ly/ckFXVk (search for "Crap eruit, we zijn en-wiki niet": "Crap removed, we are not en-wiki"). So convincing other Wikipedia editors to adopt accessibility practices is very important. But how do you do that?

Christophe Strobbe

Robots should not follow this link