New Accessibility Features

As we develop Avalon further, we aim to reframe accessibility in terms of what we can provide our users, rather than discussing what people lack. To that end, some of the features of the newest release of Avalon expand the usability of our software.


In the interest of clarity for multilingual users and people who use screen readers, each page now has better facet labels and titles. For example:

The default language (English) is declared on each page.

Search terms are included at the beginning of the page titles for search result pages.

The URL provided to share (link to) specific content includes an appropriate title attribute.


Additionally, R4 is more accessible for keyboard users. You can now use the TAB key to move forward through each interactive element on the page, such as links, text fields, search, and buttons. In order to move backwards through these elements, all you need to do is press SHIFT + TAB. Furthermore, in order to easily and clearly navigate the page, each element will be surrounded by an outline as one moves from element to element. If the user wants to engage one of the elements, they simply press ENTER when the element is highlighted.


To make keyboard navigation even easier, the first element on each page is a “Skip to main content” link. This link moves the browser focus to the main content of the page. When viewing an audio or video page, the “Skip to main content” link moves focus directly to the Play button.


The player we use for Avalon comes from MediaElement.js and as they have updated their player with more accessible features, we have come to benefit from these enhancements. Like general page navigation, using the TAB key allows users to move forward through each button on the player: Play/Pause, Mute Toggle, Stream Quality, Create Thumbnail, and Fullscreen. Like other page elements, a surrounding outline visibly distinguishes it from surrounding controls. In order to trigger one of the buttons, the user just needs to press ENTER.


More details and examples of features from our current release can be found on our Wiki. On the roadmap for future releases is to provide Closed Captioning for our media player. With the assistance of Indiana University’s Assistive Technology and Accessibility Centers, we look forward to making accessibility integral to Avalon’s future development.