JIRA and Confluence updated

Tony Atkins tony at raisingthefloor.org
Wed Nov 23 09:42:48 UTC 2016

Hi, All:

I took a few minutes to try out the new versions, to see what if anything
has changed, especially with regards to keyboard navigation, and wanted to
summarize my experiences.

First, the new version of JIRA added a wysiwyg editor, which was a red flag
to me, as I remember the transition Confluence went through.  There, they
ultimately removed support for inputting wiki markup as plain text in favor
of a completely inaccessible wysiwyg editor.

The good news is that the editor in JIRA is merely a toolbar to assist in
inputting the correct markup, and not the editor used in Confluence.  We
can safely continue entering wiki markup as plain text in descriptions and
comments.  The rest of the changes are largely cosmetic, and keyboard
navigation works as well as it did before.  There is at least some way of
performing common actions.  For example, although their inline editing
controls are only available when hovering and clicking with a mouse, you
can still edit all content in the (non inline) editing interface.  However,
any fields that are "evolved" into clickable lozenges (components, labels,
versions, etc.) are not accessible.  There is an open issue for that
<https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/JRA-63091>, I'd urge anyone interested
to vote for and follow the issue.

Confluence, on the other hand, still has a long way to go. Although more
things seem reachable with keyboard navigation, I encountered numerous bugs
when attempting to actually select an item from a dropdown menu (it appears
that the menu heading is selected instead).  The editor itself has made
some improvements, as every control is now keyboard accessible.  However,
it is hugely impractical to use, as there is no means of switching between
the toolbar and the part of the page you're attempting to edit.  Editing
content is not itself a tab trap, but any use of lists creates a tab trap,
as you will either indent or unindent the current list item if you hit tab
or shift+tab within a list.  They also have numerous glaring problems with
nearly all of their widgets, including something as simple as the "status"

So, it's possible to do more now, but it would still be a stretch to say
that it's at all usable for viewing, and it's nearly impossible to edit an
existing page.  It's possible to leave simple comments using just the
keyboard, but even editing your own comment afterward is hugely difficult.
There are a host of open issues related to Confluence accessibility in
their bug tracker, but this issue
<https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/CONF-14249> seems the best one to vote
for and follow.

Anyway, I only used the shallowest of criteria (keyboard navigation) to
look into this.  Please do comment if you see other problems (or
improvements) in the new versions.  I can't speak for anyone else, but I
always value hearing from the wider group, it helps broaden the set of
patterns (and antipatterns) that inform my own work.



On Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 5:08 PM, Tirloni, Giovanni <gtirloni at ocadu.ca>

> Hello,
>   JIRA has been updated to v7.2.5 and Confluence to v6.0.1
>   https://confluence.atlassian.com/jirasoftware/jira-
> software-7-2-x-release-notes-826896227.html
>   https://confluence.atlassian.com/doc/confluence-6-0-
> release-notes-844235309.html
>   Please report any issues here.
> Regards,
> Giovanni
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