Umbraco Accessibility Team

The Accessibility Community Team is turning into the Accessibility Guild

The accessibility team has been on an absolute roll for the past 5 years. What started out as a forum post from Mike Masey, quickly gained the support from the current team members. The team formed, first without a steward from HQ but it has existed in the past few years with help of steward Niels Lyngsø. 

As of today the team is changing from being a community team to the accessibility guild. In this post we’ll explain what that means and celebrate their wonderful work and bright future ahead.

Photo of the team members huddled around a large Styrofoam Umbraco logo, people in the picture from left to right are: Niels, Matt, Jan, Mike, Danny, Tiffany and Rachel

Making the new backoffice a success is a lot of work and it has to have our full focus at the moment. With the focus on many aspects of the backoffice like UI, UX and having feature parity with Umbraco 13, we’re of course not forgetting about accessibility (A11Y) either. 

We have had A11Y testing set up from the beginning while developing the new UI library and are utilizing as many of the browsers standards as we can to bring the complete application together. We know there’s still work to be done on A11Y and we’re balancing that with all the other priorities we have.

Keeping this balance going does mean that we at Umbraco HQ have to take a little hiatus on also stewarding the A11Y team. We are excited that the team, as the accessibility guild, will continue to meet and work together with the same passion and dedication that they started with, working from the outside in.

What is a guild?

A guild is a new concept in the Umbraco world, it is similar to a community team, but without the steward from Umbraco HQ. The word guild is defined as “an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal”, quite right!

The A11Y guild is going to be doing much of the same things as before, there will still be audits and pull requests, and issues created and there’s ideas for other activities as well.

Additionally, some of the team are busy organizing their yearly accessibility conference for Umbraco developers and web practitioners: UMBRAAD. UMBRAAD is taking place on the 16th of May.

And it doesn’t stop there, the team is also looking for new wonderful people to join them, an application form is now open. The goal is to form a new guild by early June 2024.

Applications are now open: 

Submit your application here

At Umbraco HQ, we have learned a ton from the accessibility team and their many initiatives have led to huge improvements to the Umbraco backoffice. The team’s invaluable input has permeated our processes, so that everything new we develop has A11Y in mind.

Celebrating 5 years of The Accessibility Team

We've compiled the input from the team members and the HQ highlights together for a celebration of their great work:

Community engagement and collaboration

All of the team members are mentioning personal growth and joy working closely together. 

One of the highlights from us at HQ was definitely the community teams visit where we had a lot of cross-pollination between the different teams, the A11Y team inspired all of the rest of the teams.

We’re also ever so thankful for the way the team has inspired the community to create a huge range of all kinds of A11Y related pull requests, and even a helpful package, over the years.

Of course UMBRAAD emerging out of the team activities is also very exciting!

Accessibility improvements

Some of the highlights here range from the huge increase in general awareness of A11Y in the Umbraco community, to specific features.

The focus lock feature is a big one, as was the move from font icons to SVG icons and the umb-icon directive.

And it may seem subtle, but the change to a new green shade in v14 is a win for making sure there’s finally enough contrast for people with visual impairments.

Process improvement and positive impact

The transition to a new backoffice with accessibility in mind from the beginning and initiating a big culture change in HQ is also something to be proud of.

A huge testament to the team’s ongoing success is also the numerous blog posts that keep appearing, packages related to A11Y popping up, and many Umbraco conference talks focusing on how to build accessible websites for the world to use.

See you in 2025?

As noted above, the team is going nowhere! At Umbraco HQ we’ve committed to evaluate the community teams landscape again at the beginning of 2025. We’re excited to have a look with fresh eyes to see where accessibility fits in and how we can support the ongoing efforts.

Until then, we want to send Danny, Jan, Matt, Mike, Rachel and Tiffany an enormous: high 5, you rock! 


Written by: Sebastiaan Janssen
Published: May 6, 2024