Accessibility, Design and Technology Meeting 15 May 2010

All the latest news on the Archive of Our Own below the cut! Mirrored from an original post on the Archive of Our Own.

A busy meeting – we stayed on an extra 45 minutes to get through as much as possible. The whole team has been working really hard lately – they are awesome. <3


  • We talked some more about multimedia on the Archive, and started figuring out ways of improving posting and browsing for non-text-based works. Actually hosting things other than text on the Archive is some way off, but in the meantime, we think we can make a much more inclusive interface!
  • We started discussing requirements for server upgrades in a bit more depth – we’re talking to a few people for expert advice. The Archive is hungry!
  • We discussed strategies for improving accessibility and diversity on the Archive – see below more more info!

Forthcoming changes

We’re currently testing a new release, which we hope to deploy to the Beta Archive this coming weekend. It includes some exciting stuff:

  • The first version of our new Advanced Search! We’re super-excited about this – it’s something we’ve wanted for a long time, and with the combined efforts of Sidra and Cesy it’s finally in sight! This will be version 0.1 – there are more enhancements planned – but it’s already an awesome improvement on our existing search facility.
  • A new HTML parser, which we hope will be faster and more efficient. The parser processes the text of the works you post to make sure that it displays properly – it’s a very tricky piece of coding, but with the help of an existing code library and the ingenuity of the wonderful Elz, we think we’re getting there!

Accessibility and Diversity

We’ve been thinking about accessibility and diversity, and ways of keeping these at the forefront of our development. We’ve been talking to the developers at Dreamwidth about their experience in this area, as we think this is something they do well – thanks very much to Denise for her awesome advice!

We’re integrating a few new things into our testing process to make it easier for us to catch any issues which might have an impact on accessibility. We’re improving our automated testing, which will help us check that things on the Archive are basically functioning, freeing up our testers to do more work on more nuanced things. One area which we could use more help with is in testing how the Archive works with assistive technology – if you are a user of assistive tech and you’d like to join our testing team, you’d be warmly welcomed!

This is an area that’s really important to us, and we welcome feedback from users. We’re currently working on an accessibility and diversity policy which will state our core ethos; the most important message we’d like to get out is that we are willing to listen! If there’s an area you think we could improve on, then please let us know via the Support and Feedback form – we always do our best to learn from user feedback.

News from our sub-committees and sister committees

  • Coders have been working hard on projects big and small. We’ve seen some great contributions from newer coders as well as some big projects from our senior coders – they are all fab!
  • Testers are currently working their way through all the new code on our Test Archive. They’re reading lots of works in order to spot any weirdnesses with our new HTML parser and working through the list of new code to see it’s all working well. \0/
  • Tag wranglers have decided on a new tag format for book fandoms, based on popular demand from users. From now on, the canonical tags (the ones we show on the fandoms page) for specific series will take the format ‘Poirot – Agatha Christie’, while the metatag (which covers all works by a single author) will have the format ‘CHRISTIE Agatha – Works’. This should make things easier to find in the fandoms list and filters – you can still enter whatever you like on your own works and it will be connected up to the canonical tags.
  • Support have been doing a phenomenal amount of work – there are currently just 21 open support issues, only 3 of which have not yet been worked on! \0/

If there are things you’d like to do or say, please share them in comments, via the AO3 support and feedback form, by volunteering, or in whatever medium you feel comfortable with. Everyone is welcome to this party!

Mirrored from an original post on the Archive of Our Own, which is commentable with or without an Archive account.

Archive of Our Own

Comments are closed.