On Friday, April 7, 2017 at 9pm EST we will deploy the AMP 8.0 release to all SSB-hosted production systems. You can expect an outage of up to 6 hours at that time.
AMP 8.0 is a major release that includes some much-requested features, and brand new products and feature sets. Key areas of focus were toolbars, analytics, PDF testing, and development operations improvements that will make it easier for self-hosted customers to deploy new versions of AMP.
ACCESS Assistant 2.0
In recent months a number of browser updates have forced a few changes in the AMP Toolbars. In the last AMP release some improvements were made to the Access Assistant 1.7 version to enable usage while we worked on a brand new implementation of the AMP Toolbars. We are now happy to introduce our customers to Access Assistant 2.0, a more robust toolbar with an updated testing engine and a unified cross-browser experience.
Some key improvements made in this new version of the toolbar include:
- ACCESS Engine: Use of a new and improved accessibility testing engine -- ACCESS Engine. This new engine is currently in use by the Access Analytics and Continuum products, and it will soon be used by AMP and all other related testing products. The end result will be test parity between all products in the AMP product suite. This testing engine incorporates even more automated tests and has greatly improved accuracy and performance.
- Updated User Experience: The new user experience makes the testing and remediation process more user-friendly, walking non-expert users through the testing process but allowing expert users to jump ahead to the functionality they are looking for. There are also more connections to AMP, allowing developers and other users to open existing projects, reports and modules and pick up where testers last left off.
- Improved Module Capture and Testing: Users can capture either an entire page or a component within a page as a module, saving these modules and their relevant details in AMP. The entire process has been improved so testers don’t need to look at source code at any point in this process.
- Unified Cross-Browser Experience: The toolbar architecture has been redesigned and rebuilt from the ground up, so the toolbar experience is the same across any of the supported browsers. Additionally, it is now much easier to extend toolbar functionality and release new versions of the toolbar independent of AMP releases. In the 2.0, the latest versions of Firefox and Chrome will be supported. Shortly thereafter, with the next patch release, an Internet 11 plugin will be released.
Important Support Note: The new ACCESS Assistant toolbar is intended to replace all prior toolbar versions, including the AMP Toolbar for Firefox which can only be used in Firefox versions prior to Firefox 48. As such, all earlier versions of the toolbars will be fully deprecated at the end of May 2017 for all SSB-hosted customers after the AMP 8.1 release. Please take measures to familiarize your users with the new toolbar before the older versions are no longer supported.
See the latest product documentation on the AMP Support site for more details on the new toolbar.
Introducing ACCESS Analytics
ACCESS Analytics is the latest SSB product that helps our customers streamline their accessibility programs and policy. With this new product, organizations can track what technologies their users are using to access their web sites and applications, and they can test pages accessed by their users for accessibility with each page load. Access Analytics aggregates this data and provides organizations with insights that help them focus remediation efforts on the areas where risk will be most greatly reduced. Furthermore, organizations can get a better sense of how their compliance rates are improving over time and how effective their accessibility policies and programs, and remediation work has been.
Bug Fixes and Enhancements
A number of smaller bug fixes and enhancements were made, including:
- A new Report Violations by Severity widget has been made available for the Report Dashboard. This widget allows you to see the total number of violations in the report grouped by severity.
- AMP users were previously allowed to select to test PDF documents when PDF testing was disabled in the organization testing control. User are now informed when PDF testing has been disabled in these cases, so it is clear why PDF documents are not tested.
- A new filter option has been added to the Best Practices tab to allow users to filter Best Practices down to those that are mapped ONLY to selected standards. For example, if this filter option is selected along with the WCAG 2.0 AA standard, only those Best Practices that are solely mapped to WCAG 2.0 AA will be displayed.
- A number of report copy defects were resolved.
- A “Created Date” column was added to the All Users admin report in AMP. Note that this a system admin feature only.
For more details, review the Detailed Release Notes attached to this article.
Opt-In for Product Emails
In late 2016, a new policy was implemented requiring users to opt in to receive product announcement emails. If other users at your organization have not opted in and wish to receive these emails, including release announcements, please have them do so, as follows:
- Navigate to user preferences in AMP and select the “Email Preferences” option.
- Select the checkbox and Make it Happen. If you later wish to unsubscribe, simple deselect that checkbox.
If your organization hosts your own AMP instance and you wish to opt in one or more users, email AMP support at email@example.com and let us know. We will add them to the list.