Accessibility, Joomla and Cookie Notices
So you want to follow the rules and you installed a cookie notice for your website. Maybe it’s a modest one, maybe it’s one of those extended walls presenting your user with tons of boxes to tick. Whatever type you use: if you want to have a fully accessible website, guess where your cookie notice should be? Hint: probably not where you’d expect it. Julian White explains.
What is GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulations was instigated by the European Union to help consumers control how their personal information is stored, used and distributed and covers every website operating within the European Union (EU). Those operating outside the EU are still required to conform to the regulations or face a large fine if prosecuted and found guilty of not obeying the rules.
It's All About Choice.
Site visitors must be allowed to choose what cookies are stored on their device and if they choose not to allow one or all of them, a clearly marked and accessible way of blocking them is required. Without this function or simply presenting them with a button marked "Ok, got it" or "Allow All" does not meet the General Data Protection Regulations. So, without going too deeply into the reasons for this arrangement: why would a Cookies notice cause some people difficulty when viewing a website?
Where is your Cookie Notice?
When a screen reader starts interacting with a web page, it usually focuses on the first element on the page such as the banner and from there, the user moves from the left to the right side of the screen until the focus moves to the next line of the page, similar to how a document would appear in a word processing application.
It's at the Bottom.
For this reason, any Cookies Notice that is displayed at the bottom of a web page will not be announced to the screen reader user until they have read through the entire page, by which time they may have navigated to another section of the site. This can result in them never being presented with the option of accepting or blocking your site's cookies and all the implications that come with it.
Start at the top.
When visiting new websites and they have placed their cookie notice at the top of the page, my screen reader will usually interact with it before reaching the logo, navigation and body of the page. This is perfect as I can decide on my cookie preferences before progressing further into the site.
If I had not had the opportunity to accept the site's cookies because the notice is buried at the bottom or in a popup window, placing items into a shopping cart would more than likely result in an error upon checkout.
Button, Button, Button.
Oh, the dreaded button! But more about that in the next part of my guide to screen reader use and Joomla websites.
Read this article en français (translation by Yann Gomiero): Accessibilité, Joomla et avertissements sur les cookies https://www.joomla.fr/
Or en español (translation by Carlos Cámara): Accesibilidad, Joomla y avisos de cookies https://mejorconjoomla.com/noticias/magazine/accesibilidad-joomla-y-avisos-de-cookies
So many decisions are made on design and it's good to see more and more Joomla resources like this related to the importance of accessibility. The more information that becomes available can only help in influencing decision makers.
Looking forward to the Button, Button, Button...