Home

Plans & Pricing Get Started Login

What We Can Learn from the WCAG 2.0 Failures of 3 National Institutions

  • What We Can Learn from the WCAG 2.0 Failures of 3 National Institutions


    Nowadays, a web page is like a window to a company’s soul. Web pages are information machines that companies create to inform their prospects, customers, and advocates on who they are.

    So, having an informative, engaging, and relevant web page has become ever more important. But what about an accessible website?

    Websites Should Be Both Attractive and Accessible

    Unfortunately, for many companies and institutions, adding accessibility features to their websites is not part of their checklist.

    Today more than 27 million Americans have a disability affecting computer and internet use, making web accessibility all the more important.

    So, how come even those dedicated to policing the web accessibility of others fail when it comes to basic WCAG 2.0 standards?

    About the study

    From a webinar entitled, Where Do We Go From Here? Web Accessibility Across 3 National Systems, Cyndi Rowland and George Joeckel from WebAIM presented their results from a surprising study on web accessibility.

    They sampled three types of organizations nationwide, beginning with University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs).

    UCEDDs are policy advancement groups and interdisciplinary resource centers that work with people with disabilities, their families, plus state and local governments to help build the capacity of communities to sustain all their citizens. Every state has at least one UCEDD.

    Next, they looked at the host institutions, or universities, that host UCEDDs. Lastly, they looked at several state government websites.

    In total, they had a sample size of 176 websites.

    Then they formulated 3 research questions:

    1. To what extent are the UCEDDs, their host institutions, and the state governments using web content that conforms to current accessibility guidelines?
    2. Are there relationships between the web accessibility of the UCEDDs, their host institutions, and the governments?
    3. Do UCEDDs, host institutions, and state government failures in a subset of Success Criteria suggest any patterns of accessibility errors?

    For their analysis they used open source, no cost tools like WAVE and WebCrawler, specifically chosen to show other organizations how easy it is to test webpage accessibility.

    The test criteria was based on the seven basic WCAG 2.0 standards highlighted below.

    Use the infographic below to familiarize yourself with the basic WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards, or use the quiz, “Does My Website Meet Basic WCAG 2.0 standards?” to see how you compare to the results of the study.

    The standards tested

    Download the PDF version!

     SEVEN BASIC WCAG 2.0 STANDARDS  1.1.1 Non-Text Content states Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language. Must be included in A DATA CHART AUDIO RECORDINGS ANIMATIONS PHOTOGRAPHS SOUND EFFECTS LINKED IMAGES INFOGRAPHICS. 1.3.1 Information & Relationships states Information, structure, and relationships conveyed through presentation can be programmatically determined or are available in text. must be included in forms, tables, text documents and lists. 2.2.2 Pause, Stop, Hide states A user can pause, stop, or hide any moving, blinking, scrolling or auto-updating information on a website. must be included in animations, games, advertisements, form prompts, loading animations, carousel slides. 2.4.2 Page Titled states All web pages have titles that describe the topic or purpose of the page. must be included for html web page, document titles, appendix titles, web applications. 2.4.4 Link Purpose states The purpose of the link can be determined through the link text alone.  must be included in description of info, titles, read more links, referenced material, social media icons. 2.4.6 Headings and Labels states As with page titles, headings and labels must describe the topic or purpose of the page. must be included in articles, guides, forms, subheadings, sidebar widgets, search boxes, tables. 3.1.1 Language of Page states The default human language of the page can be programmatically determined. WEBSITE HAS LANGUAGE ASSIGNED TO IT. Free tools to access web page accessibility  Use the following tools in conjunction with a human check. WAVE: wave.webaim.org Accessibility Valet Demonstrator: valet.webthing.com/access/url.html and AChecker: achecker.ca/checker

    Please contact us for an accessible version of this infographic.

    The results

    The unsettling reality is that all three institutions missed basic errors that affect accessibility at large. Even though UCEDD’s core focus is accessibility, they were not necessarily more accessible than host institutions and state governments.

    In terms of the three research questions proposed, the results were as follows:

    1. To what extent are the UCEDDs, their host institutions, and the state governments using web content that conforms to current accessibility guidelines?
      1. Fail. 81% of the pages in the study had at least one error.
      2. Overall, 80% of the UCEDD’s pages failed the test. State governments performed a little bit better with 1% fewer failing pages than UCEDDs and 6% fewer failings than host universities.
    2. Are there relationships between the web accessibility of the UCEDDs, their host institutions, and the governments?
      1. Fail. There was a week relationship between all three groups. All performed poorly in equal measure.
    3. Do UCEDDs, host institutions, and state government failures in a subset of Success Criteria suggest any patterns of accessibility errors?
      1. Pass. There was a pattern identified between the errors found in all three institutions. This pattern was that all failed in several tests against the seven WCAG 2.0 standards tested.

    Where do we go from here?

    The results in this study are certainly alarming, but they help shed light at the necessary need for other institutions to evaluate their accessibility measures, even those that focus on accessibility.

    Luckily, the researchers in this study used tools and techniques anyone can implement. Why not try accessing your web pages?

    The accessibility measure tested in this study are not difficult to implement. Integrating them to your content workflow will save you time and future headaches.

    The content you create and share should be made accessible for all audiences. Accessibility online is more than just adhering to the laws, it’s about creating equality online and ensuring everyone can enjoy the content you and others put out.

    Now it’s your turn

    Take the quiz to see how accessible your webpages are!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *