Accessibility is a broad term and reaches way beyond the standards compliant code only. Accessibility is in my belief a set of features improving the understanding of information presented by an information system. I have to admit though compliant and semantic HTML is a very important factor of accessibility as it hosts the information. As I have recently solved the issue of standards compliant HTML in SharePoint 2007 I have started looking for new challenges and accessibility improving solutions. Almost immediately I have stumbled upon automatically marking up abbreviations in content.
Recently while working on an Internet facing web site for one of our customers I thought of creating a control which would automatically create a hierarchical Title in the <title> element, like: Site Collection - Current Site - Current Page. Standard SharePoint 2007 allows you to define the title on the Master Page and within a Page Layout. Default SharePoint 2007 displays the Page Title in the <title> element. As I've been recently researching the accessibility issues I have noticed that such a behavior can cause loosing the context - especially if the visitor is vision impaired. Secondly it might cause search engines indexing a page and not linking it to the organization (Site Collection) or for example a division within it (Site). You could solve it using the standard features like displaying the Site's Title using <SharePoint:ProjectProperty> but still it wouldn't provide me the flexibility I wanted it to have. That's why I have decided to make a control which would automatically generate a title based on the existing hierarchy.
Recently while working on one of my projects I needed to use the WebClient in order to obtain a rendered version of a Publishing Page using a url. My environment consisted of an Publishing Site using Active Directory authentication and it's extend equivalent using Anonymous Access as well. My goal was to obtain the rendered page before it's published to be able to check the standards compliance of the rendered code.
SharePoint 2007 is a very extensible development platform. Thanks to its flexibility the developers keep coming with new features which extend the user experience. One of the areas where the things are still missing is the Web Content Management: accessibility in particular leaves plenty of challenges to be tackled and features to be added by the accessibility enthusiasts and developers. One of these is the W3C Validator for SharePoint 2007.
How many times did you try to incorporate some extra rules or formatting into Page Layouts? Formatting a date is just one of the many examples solving which can cause you spent many hours trying to using the out-of-the-box available controls. The SharePoint:FieldValue is probably the most commonly used control, especially in Page Layouts where you don't want to use the Edit-in-place experience. Yet this control doesn't have any customization or formatting possibilities. That's why some time ago me and my colleagues at Imtech ICT Business Solutions have thought about creating our version of this control with some more formatting properties. As soon as we have created it, we have started benefiting from it: because we had the code of it, extending it with extra functionality is just a piece of cake. Anyway, let me introduce you the Imtech:PageProperty control.