A11yFirst for CKEditor: Support Creating of Accessible Web Documents through User Interface Enhancements


Scheduled at 9:15am in Windsor on Thursday, November 16 (2017).



  • Jon Gunderson, Coordinator of IT Accessibility, University of Illinois
  • JaEun (Jemma) Ku, , University of Illinois Library
  • Dena Strong, , University of Illinois

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


CKeditor is a popular WYSISWYG editor used in web- based Content Management Systems (CMS) like Drupal, Moodle, Blackboard and Desire2Learn. The A11yFirst project has redesigned and enhanced the user interface controls for use in CKEditor to support accessible authoring and document creation.


Most web content is made by people using web based WYSISWYG editors embedded in content management systems like blogs, learning managements systems, and administrative websites. These users have little understanding of accessibility or the technical details of HTML accessibility. Embedded WYSISWYG editors like CKEditor often include accessibility checkers as an optional feature, but this requires an intentional action on the part of author to use them. The checker approach reinforces the remediation stereotype for accessibility, which is also extra work for the author. In contrast, the a11yFirst project changes the user interface features to guide authors in creating accessible content as they create documents. A11yFirst supports the creation of structured documents and providing just-in-time information on accessibility. The A11yFirst plug-ins are open source and can be used to upgrade current installations of CKEditor to improve accessible authoring.


  1. Accessible authoring versus accessibility remediation
  2. User interface features that support and encourage accessible authoring
  3. Support features to help authors understand accessibility

Disability Areas

Mobility, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Jon Gunderson

Dr. Jon Gunderson is the Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology Accessibility in the Division of Disability Resources and Education Services (DRES) at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana, Illinois. He leads the development of open source web accessibility evaluation tools and coding practices resources to help web designers and developers understand accessible coding techniques. He is a member of the W3C ARIA Working Group has been a major contributor to the ARIA Authoring Practices and is a contributor to the ARIA Assistive Technology community group to test ARIA implementation in assistive technologies. He has given numerous presentations, workshops and courses related to web accessibility. He is a Certified Professional in Web Accessibility (CPWA) form the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP).

JaEun (Jemma) Ku

JaEun Jemma Ku’s professional career spans more than two decades in Information and Communication Technology(ICT) research and Web development. In particular, she is a passionate advocate for designs that deliver accessible user experience with ICT. She holds a Ph,D. in public administration, an M.S. in public policy, and a second M.S. in information science. She is also a certified Project Management Professional and Trusted Tester by the Dept. of Homeland Security Office of Accessible Systems and Technology. As a member of the W3C Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) Authoring Practice Group and W3C WCAG Silver Taskforce, she contributes to improve web accessibility and usability.

Dena Strong

Dena Strong is a senior information design specialist at the University of Illinois, with a MLIS focused on digital information organization and a certificate in information accessibility design and policy. With 20 years in the technology industry, 10 in user experience, and interests in user experience, author experience, and the intersections of usability and accessibility, she was delighted to have the opportunity to help with the A11yFirst project.