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Building Accessible Applications

Updated on September 14, 2020
Note: This article is not compatible with Pega Platform™ 8.1 and later.

Process Commander Version 5.3SP1 supports accessibility features and controls following the guidelines established by Section 508 of the United States Rehabilitation Act, the Web Accessibility Initiative, and the Disability Discrimination Act. This is accomplished through enabling technology that provides the constructs to design and build accessible applications.

NOTE: Accessibility capabilities have been extended and enhanced in subsequent releases. See About the Accessibility Framework for related articles.


Supported Features

When you install or upgrade your system to Version 5.3SP1, the following features are provided as default behaviors that are immediately available to the accessible-enabled user. 

  • Text equivalents for images via ALT tags
  • Data table formatting via table row, data and header tags for repeating layouts and list view reports
  • Form controls explicitly associated with labels via Label tag and For attribute
  • Frame navigation support
  • Descriptive titles for frame identification and page navigation
  • Visual focus indicator
  • Shortcut keys
  • Shortcut key to the first control in the tabbing sequence
  • Auto expansion of collapsed headers in the harness and gadgets on the portal
  • Accessible style sheet
  • Accessible formatting controls for entering Dates, Date Times, and Text Area input fields
  • Accessible error handling to support screen readers and keyboard only interface
  • Accessible History/Attachment window


Enabling Accessibility

Accessibility features and controls are enabled by granting user access to the PegaWAI RuleSet, Version 05-03-11. This RuleSet is installed and supported in Version 5.3SP1.

To grant user access:

Add the RuleSet and Version PegaWAI:05-03 to the access group of users that you want to use accessibility features and controls.

For an application upgraded to Version 5.3 SP1:

If you have an application built on a previous release that you want to make accessible, it is necessary to use the Revalidate and Save tool to update your harness, section, flow action, and list view rules. This process re-generates the HTML to include additional markup language to support accessibility requirements.

  1. From the Tools menu, select the Revalidate and Save option for the following rule types:


  1. For more information about how to use the Revalidate and Save tool, see the Administration and Security Guide section on Revalidating Rules

Configuration Options

The PegaWAI RuleSet contains four controls that provide you with configuration options for disabling specific elements of accessibility support. The controls are shipped enabled to provide the respective support without the need for additional configuration. They are configured in the form of WHEN rules that, when disabled, remove the option as an accessible user feature. 

Control Options

Error Handling Control — Rule Instance:[email protected]

This control enables the following accessible error handling features:

  • Client-side validation that displays validation error messages in a popup confirmation box
  • Error messages displayed at the top of the form with “Error Occurred” text added to the window title
  • The red X error indicator (with hover over error message) is replaced with the error message displayed next to the field
  • Shortcut key ALT/E that places focus on the error field and moves through the errors in field order sequence         

Style Control — Rule Instance: [email protected]

This control enables the accessible style sheet.

Date Control — Rule Instance: [email protected]

This control enables accessible Date and DateTime formatting.

Frames Control — Rule Instance: [email protected]

This control enables the display of action frames without the use of iframes and provides accessible alternatives for the take action drop-down box.

Disabling Control Options
  1. To disable a control option, copy the When rule for the option to your application RuleSet.
  2. On the Conditions tab, change the defaulted when condition from true to false.
  3. Save your change.


Guidelines and Design Tips

Follow the guidelines and design tips below when building applications that comply with accessibility standards:

  • Do not use px or px-fixed layouts — These layouts fix the width on pages
  • Do not use inline styles — These styles fix fonts, colors and other style attributes
  • Do not use tabbed headers — these require the use of a mouse
  • Do not use the deferred load feature
  • Avoid the use of AJAX-based displays — these typically require use of the mouse. Features to avoid include: conditional hide and show displays, onscreen calculations, and hover-over displays on worklists and harnesses.
  • Previous topic Adding browser plug-ins to accessible applications
  • Next topic Choosing a flow action with a shortcut key

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