Specific accessibility guidelines for XPages

Making sure that an XPages application and controls are accessible.

Designing and creating software applications that can be used by people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities is an important requirement in the business world. For Domino® developers creating Web applications, using XPages provides the recommended accessible solution. Creating an accessible application using XPages requires an understanding of the needs of multiple kinds of users, including people with disabilities and mature users with age-related disabilities.

When using XPages to create your web application, there are additional specific guidelines you can follow to make sure that application is accessible. The next sections describe these guidelines.

XPages accessibility guidelines

When using the XPages design element to create your web application, there are additional specific guidelines you can follow to make sure that your application is accessible. These include:

  • Use ARIA when necessary - Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) information helps you increase the accessibility of web pages. In particular, this is useful with dynamic content and user interface components developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript™ and related technologies.

    ARIA is used to subsidize the function of HTML. If using HTML is sufficient to make a page accessible, then ARIA need not be set. Where there are gaps in the HTML, ARIA can be used to provide accessibility information to a JAWS user that may be missing. The HTML will always take precedence over the ARIA, however.

    So, when using JAWS, even though some ARIA attributes may have been set and are rendered in the HTML, JAWS determines if they are to be used and read out to a user, based on this idea. As an example, you would not need both an aria-label and a for attribute. The HTML will always take precedence over the ARIA, and the aria-label will be ignored.

  • Use JAWS and using the Partial and Full Update feature in your application - Be careful when using the Partial update feature. Ensure that the targeted area/control which is being updated is in the reading order (i.e., it has not been navigated to yet) so that it will appear in the JAWS navigation path.
  • Using events in your application - As a general practice, use redundant function handlers for onmouse events to support keyboard navigation for disabled users
  • Use Access Keys - Access Keys do not support run-time bindings. Preferably these should be set at Design Time. Try to make the bindings unique and intuitive.
  • Use accessible controls when possible - Changes have been made to help developers create accessible XPages applications using accessible controls. The goal is to make the XPages run-time experience more compliant with accessibility requirements. New accessibility properties have been added to some controls to make them accessible. Additional documentation and guidelines have also been added to the control reference sections of this product help to assist you in creating an application that is accessible.
  • Use accessibility properties that are specific to the control you are using. Refer to the Control Reference Guide and Extension Library Control Reference Guide sections of this help for more specific information on the accessibility properties available for a particular control.

Using the XPages accessible theme

With Release 9.0.1, XPages now supports a theme that complies with accessibility guidelines and requirements. This theme is named Bootstrap3.3.6.

Accessibility guidelines for using controls with XPages

Additional information has been added to the Control Reference sections of this User Guide to help you with choosing which controls you should be using to make your application accessible. This information includes

  • the introduction of specific accessibility properties to help that control meet accessibility requirements
  • control usage guidelines to help your application meet accessibility requirements
  • control work-around information and substitution recommendations to help your application meet accessibility requirements

Refer to the Control Reference Guide and Extension Library Control Reference Guide sections of this help for more specific information on the accessibility properties available for a particular control.

Providing customized error pages to meet accessibility requirements

With some assistance for your System Administrator, you can provide customized error pages which meet accessibility requirements.

If the Errors 401, 403, 404 or 500 come from the Domino Web Engine, you can override these error pages with your own custom pages. For more details refer to the Custom Web Server Messagestopic in the Domino Administrator product help.

If the Error 404 (i.e., File Not Found) comes from the Domino HTTP task, there is a NOTES.INI file setting that lets you customize that error page. Refer to the Domino Administrator product help and this TechNote for more information.

General application accessibility tips

For Domino developers creating Web applications, using XPages is the recommended accessible solution. There are additional tips you can follow to make sure that your application is accessible. These include:

  • Enable SSO on the Domino Server for accessible user authentication.