Joomla! Accessibility <i>by Joshue O Connor</i>

This book concentrates mainly on making websites accessible, particularly to the visually impaired. These techniques are then used, more briefly, to explain how to make Joomla! sites accessible. The book's author, Joshue O Connor, is clearly an expert on accessibility and has covered these areas well.

Joomla! Accessibility - A quick guide to creating accessible websites with Joomla!, published by Packt is a short book that contains materials that every web designer should know and offers sound advice on understanding the problems faced by web users with disabilities and ways to deal with these problems.

The book's cover

The focus of the book is not always clear; however, the content should be known by every web developer, especially as there are legal requirements in many countries—some of which are explored in the book. The assumptions of the reader's knowledge vary considerably, though the vast majority of readers will gain an good understanding of accessibility.

The print is very legible, with plenty of white-space. The print is slightly glossy and the index is good.

The book contains only one chapter specifically on Joomla!, the rest focusing on accessibility.

The contents

The book is about 160 pages, with 9 pages of credits, details and table of content. It has a preface, 6 chapters, and an index totalling 139 pages, and ends with some advertising for other books from the same publisher. The cover is the only piece of colour in the whole book: screenshots are in black and white.

Starting with an overview of the reasons for making websites accessible, Connor goes on to review the legislation and policy in Ireland, the UK, the US and Europe. There is a clear explanation of the sound reasons for making web sites accessible--both for users with disabilities and for other practical reasons, such as improved design. The concepts of usability and site testing through the use of personas is discussed briefly. This is followed by a similarly brief treatment of the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guildlines)--both version 1.0 and 2.0.

The section on Understanding Disability and Assistive Technology should be compulsory reading for all web designers. Though the emphasis is on visually impaired users, there is coverage of physical and cognitive disabilities. The two exercises are "no frills browsing" and "turn your display off"! These are well presented and offer sound advice, though the fact that there is no mention of text browsers, such as Lynx or Edbrowse, is surprising.

The section on Understanding Disability and Assistive Technology should be compulsory reading for all web designers

The explanation of how to write HTML so that it is accessible is excellent. Starting with almost no assumptions about the reader's knowledge, Connor moves effectively through the logic behind tags, and how to use them appropriately and in such a way that a screen reader will make sense of the content. There is coverage of alternate text for images, charts and photographs; appropriate link texts; and tables. Explanations and examples are worked using TinyMCE.

The single chapter devoted to Joomla! assumes knowledge of Joomla! templates. There is a clear explanation of why the earlier practice of using tables for layout is deprecated and a explanation of building a standards-compliant Joomla! template from scratch. Following the detailed and lengthy instructions will lead to the production of an accessible template. The book closes with a discussion of the use of XStandard as an editor to produce accessible content.

Who's this book for?

If you want to know how to make websites accessible, then this book is a sound purchase.

Relevance to free software

Joomla! and TinyMCE are both free software though XStandard is proprietary. The focus on accessibility is applicable to many free software solutions.


  • Excellent coverage of web accessibility.
  • Good coverage of legal aspects.
  • Detailed explanation of how to make HTML accessible.
  • Tutorial on producing accessible Joomla! templates.
  • Affordable at under £19 / $30.


  • Lack of clarity about its intended audience.
  • Variability in level of assumed knowledge.
Title Joomla! Accessibility
Author Joshue O Connor
Publisher Packt
ISBN 9781847194084
Year 2007
Pages 156
CD included No
FS Oriented 7
Overall score 8

In short


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.