Blog » Accessibility
This posting summarizes some detailed research into the state of government accessibility standards around the world, as of June 2015. Usually these evolve fairly slowly, although the Jodhan vs. Attorney General of Canada case may change that (governments don’t like being successfully sued by their citizens).
This post is a compilation of disability statistics from government agencies and researchers in the US, UK and Canada. The statistics shown have most impact on website use, and help assess the impact of accessibility problems, in terms of numbers of people affected, and likely commercial impact.
Search engines can’t see and can’t click, so there’s a big overlap between making sites accessible and making sites perform well in search engines. Social media also uses several features that improve accessibility.
The W3 ARIA recommendation specifies new HTML attributes (like "aria-describedby") to help screen readers identify relationships between elements. These new attributes tell screen readers about relationships that can't be derived from existing HTML semantics, and usually only obvious from the position of items on screen (e.g. a paragraph of help text next to a form field). Most people who've tried adding ARIA attributes to HTML have noticed that documents don't validate unless the HTML 5 DOCTYPE is used: <!DOCTYPE html>.
This post follows on from the one on Disability Statistics, and shows how the most common disabilities affect website use.
Well, it’s that time of year again. While I consider myself one of life’s formidably organised Christmas present buyers (I started in August) I seem to fall sadly short when it comes to finding the time to write and post my Christmas cards. I know that to many, card writing seems an outmoded way of sending Christmas greetings, but for many of my ageing relatives, some of whom now live alone, a hand written card arriving in the mail is still much appreciated.
Today is World Stroke Day, which aims to raise awareness of the condition. Earlier this week I saw a conference keynote speech by Clayton Christensen, author of The Innovators Dilemma and a Professor at Harvard Business School. He introduced himself by apologizing for hesitating while speaking because he'd suffered a stroke a few months earlier. In spite of this he was an engaging speaker - much better than the other professional conference speakers.
The Design for All Research Group at Middlesex University have produced a report called Declaring conformance on web accessibility asking the question: can website accessibility declarations be trusted? Sadly the conclusion was no, for both self-declared and third-party certifications, confirming the findings of earlier studies. Using a sample of 100 European government and commercial sites claiming accessibility standards conformance, more than 95% were found to have accessibility issues. The study used our automated tool, SortSite, in conjunction with manual testing performed by the accessibility group at the Shaw Trust (see the report for details on methodology).
A few days ago I attended a presentation given by some UK Government departments - the main topic was providing equality of access to government contracts. There was the usual torrent of PowerPoint slides filled with facts, figures and addresses of websites which publish government contracts. At the end of the presentations the question and answer session started: Chief Official: "Does anyone have any questions?" Lady in Audience: "Will any of the slides be available after the meeting?" Chief Official: "We'll consult on that afterwards."