Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Federal Government Websites Get Highest Score in Accessibility Test

The Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille, a well-known Montreal-based rehabilitation service working with the disabled, and the Coopérative AccessibilitéWeb consulting group, have just released a study measuring how accessible websites are for people with disabilities [study in French].

The study looked at the 200 most popular websites among francophones in Canada. 85 % of those sites could not be considered accessible to the disabled population.

Regretably, nothing has changed since a similar study was conducted in 2003.

The study used the criteria developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Of all the categories defined by the authors, public administration scored the highest.

Here is a list of the 9 out of 200 sites that received a score of excellent or very good:

- Revenue Canada (Excellent)
- Government of Canada (Excellent)
- Environment Canada (Excellent)
- Public Service Commission of Canada (Excellent)
- Mozilla Organization (Very good)
- Human Resources Development Canada (Very good)
- Health Canada (Very good)
- National Research Council of Canada (Very good)
- Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services (Very good)

Since Government of Canada websites are fully bilingual, the English versions of those federal sites listed above also qualify as among the most accessible.

The major problems found in the vast majority of sites considered to be inaccessible to the disabled included:
  • bad coding and faulty cascading style sheets
  • content or functionalities that are unusable without Javascript
  • irrelevant or misleading headings
  • forms with missing labels or labels that make little sense
  • sites without textual equivalents or alt tags for image links or sensitive areas of clickable images and image maps
  • the use of absolute font values (pixels or points)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:38 pm

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