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Tiny’s involvement in web accessibility research project, We4Authors Cluster

Ben Long

October 19th, 2020

Written by

Ben Long


World of WYSIWYG

Accessibility is a high priority for both our customers and our team at Tiny. We’ve worked hard to improve our products so that the content creation experience is accessible - and that content created in our editor is also accessible to readers. 

This has become increasingly important with the EU Web Accessibility Directive. We recently discussed this new law and what it means for developers of website, app, and platform developers, as well as content creators. But this is really only the start - as our knowledge and understanding of accessibility evolves, accessibility standards around the world will also change.

Our Sweden-based Tiny team has recently joined a research project about web accessibility. This project, the We4Authors Cluster, in conjunction with Swedish company, Funka, has the potential to impact accessibility standards in the coming years. We chatted to our Swedish team to find out a bit more about what’s going on behind the scenes.

What is the We4Authors Cluster project?

A couple of years ago, the European Commission funded a pilot project called We4Authors. This project aimed to “stimulate the market, creating new expectations and healthy competition for web authoring tools…[and] incorporate accessibility features by default to meet the growing demand set by the new EU regulations.” Objectives also included “planning to provide good practice and concrete guidelines for the whole community, as well as intensive networking activities among the key stakeholders involved in the authoring tools accessibility aspects.”

Based on this initial pilot, which ran from May 2018 - November 2019, the project manager, Funka, as well as their partners, are working together on a new project. This is known as the We4Authors Cluster

In the words of our Principal Designer, Fredrik Danielsson,“The We4Authors Cluster project follows the We4authors pilot project and aims to actively research and prototype accessibility improvements of common features found in web authoring tools.

“The goal is to demonstrate and inspire creating more accessible content by default. The findings will be released for free for anyone to use to improve their content authoring tools.”

Following the release of the results, we hope to see better accessibility support in content management systems and other online tools (with a particular focus on tools used by public sector agencies in the EU, since they’re impacted by the Web Accessibility Directive). As a result, more people with disabilities will be able to access and use websites, apps, and platforms.

Why is Tiny involved in the project?

Two of Tiny’s Sweden-based team members, Fredrik Danielsson and Joakim Lindkvistare, are acting as observers and advisors on the project. Joakim is one of the founders of TinyMCE and he has decades of experience in web authoring. Fredrik is the Principal Designer and is responsible for many of the elements that make TinyMCE accessible. The purpose of their involvement in the We4Authors Cluster is to help CMSs produce more accessible content.

“TinyMCE is one of the most used WYSIWYG editors in content authoring tools, thus we play a big part in helping authors create and publish more accessible content,” said Fredrik.

“We’re both strong advocates of accessibility and everyone’s right to access and use the internet.”

Other organizations and experts involved in the project include:

  • Funka - A Swedish company that does a lot of work, testing, and research around digital accessibility
  • SiteVision AB - A Swedish company that develops SiteVision, a leading portal and web publishing platform that’s popular in the Swedish public sector
  • Kitconcept GmbH - A German-based open source solution provider that supports many organizations with implementing websites, portals, intranets, and apps
  • OpenConcept Consulting - An agency specializing in digital accessibility and Drupal, with 20+ years experience building websites
  • IAAP - A not-for-profit organization that focuses on accessibility skills certification, training, and strategies

How’s the research project progressing so far?

The We4Authors Cluster Project is still in the early planning stages. Right now, participants are working on developing prototypes and coming up with ideas. The next steps will involve user testing with web authors to check that new accessibility features in the prototypes are working well and easy to use.

“The project is scheduled to begin in late Q3 and continue into Q1 2020, so it will be a while before we will see any results,” said Fredrik.

We’re going to check back in with the team as the project progresses to find out how it’s going and what results they’ve uncovered. So, stay tuned for an update!

How might Tiny’s products change as a result of the project?

Screenshot showing TinyMCE

Tiny’s products are already designed with accessibility in mind, building accessibility into apps, websites, and platforms across millions of customers worldwide. We’re particularly proud of how our features (like our Accessibility Checker) enable content authors to effortlessly create accessible content, even without training and experience in accessibility.

That said, we’re always keen to learn and build on the products we’ve created. We can always do more to improve accessibility and make it possible for more people to create content and access content on the web. And we’re hoping that the We4Authors Cluster project will help us take our TinyMCE editor and plugins to the next level of accessibility.

“Hopefully the We4Authors Cluster project will come up with some novel ideas and concepts around improving accessibility for common every-day tasks web authors face. Then we can implement these improvements in TinyMCE for the benefit of our customers and end-users,” said Fredrik.

Find out more or be part of the project!

You can learn more about the We4Authors Cluster project on the website. Because the project hasn’t officially kicked off yet, now is the perfect time to see what’s planned and even get involved. 

If you’re a web author interested in contributing to better accessibility support in authoring tools, you can sign up to participate in the user testing, which starts from October 2020. Contact the project lead, Jakob ( for more information.

Learn more about web accessibility

For more info on web accessibility, check out our previous articles:

And be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for future updates and accessibility news.

byBen Long

Computer scientist, storyteller, teacher, and an advocate of TinyMCE. Reminisces about programming on the MicroBee. Writes picture books for kids. Also the wearer of rad shoes. “Science isn’t finished until you share the story.”

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