AcZenSible - Zen sub-theme for setting accessibility options

Frank Ralf's picture

This is an attempt to overcome the impasse over at Accessibility improvements for vertical tabs.

As I have already stated elsewhere the general problem with regard to accessibility and usability is that one size doesn't fit all.

So we should make some of the accessibility improvements more configurable. One way which even allows for configuration on an individual user level is a separate theme for accessibility settings.

I have created a Zen sub-theme which allows setting some options which affect the visual appearance of the Drupal site. This is only a very first stab and more of a proof of concept, though.

(Note: I had to add an additional file extension to the zip-file for attaching the theme to this post.)

aczensible.zip_.txt139.17 KB
AcZenSible_vertical_tabs_settings.png4.04 KB


Could you share a screenshot

yoroy's picture

Could you share a screenshot of the settings you added? Makes it easier for many to see what you have done. Thanks!

Screenshot & screencast

Frank Ralf's picture

I added a screenshot of the theme settings page to the original post.

I basically only made the visual parts of the patch for Accessibility improvements for vertical tabs configurable, namely using "outline" and system colors in CSS.

There's also a screencast of the settings in action (using Garland though).

seems like a great idea

greggles's picture

Maybe you could post this as a project on

That would help others to find your work and also let them more easily contribute other features that you can add.

I do think this is a good idea.

mgifford's picture

Pretty crazy name, but looking forward to seeing it on Will contribute where I can to making Drupal even more accessible be re-writing themable functions that we haven't been able to nail down in core.

Better added to user settings?

Frank Ralf's picture

Thanks for the encouraging feedback!

I am still pondering whether these setting should better be part of the general user settings. At the moment a user can choose her own theme but cannot change that theme's settings. Or am I missing something?

Maybe this proof of concept

yoroy's picture

Maybe this proof of concept can be pushed upstream to the Zen base theme itself, that would already have a big impact. That's still not core of course, but yes, commiting this as a project to d.o. is a good start either way.

Right direction

Frank Ralf's picture

You're right, that might be the way to go ;-)

johnbarclay's picture

I rewrote the accessible helper module last week to act as an api that allows site admins to set the site's accessibility preferences. The preferences are then available in the theming layer and the via module function. (

The preferences fall into 2 categories: guidelines and functionality. These 2 zen settings would fall into "functionality".

While I like the idea of universal design, but see the practical needs for configuration also.

Here are the prefs the module makes available:

The config form has the following checkboxes:

Guideline Types:
Section 508
WCAG, General
WCAG 1.0 (A)
WCAG 1.0 (AA)
WCAG 1.0 (AAA)
WCAG 2.0 (A)
WCAG 2.0 (AA)
WCAG 2.0 (AAA)

Functionality Enabled:
Offscreen Headings. Allow authors to designate headings as offscreen.
Aria Abstract Roles. Add ARIA abstract roles such as composite, roletype, and window.
Aria Widget Roles. Add ARIA widget roles such as slider, scrollbar, progressbar, etc..
Aria Document Structure. Add ARIA Document Structure such as article, list, presentation, etc.
Aria Landmark Roles. Add ARIA landmark roles such as banner, form, search, navigation
Skip Navigation. Add skip navigation links around menus

And the project is at


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