For this exercise it was recommended that we looked at a website with the WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation) tool.
It sounded simple enough, but I ran into a bit of a problem with my first choice of site…. it didn’t have that much wrong with it.
Serves me right for choosing my workplace as a first point of call I guess.
That’s right, the University of Edinburgh’s core website was my first stop and other than a few minor flags for having things like the name of the University several times in a row when using site reading tools.
So I took a step back and wondered what sort of site would be less likely to be fully accessibility compliant. My answer? Webcomics.
My favourite webcomic came crashing in with major errors, a number of alerts and no less than 38 contrast errors for visibility. It is a mess for people who cannot see properly. At least it couldn’t fail on sound and video though! So there is a small silver lining….?
One thing working with tools like WAVE is teaching me is that producing accessibility friendly content for the web requires time, effort and care. Gone are the days where you could bang out a website using fancy colours and subtle effects, the less fortunate be damned. We need to look at what it is we produce and ask, “In a web that is now reaching out everybody regardless of their needs, are we making things as easy as we can for less able users?”
I fear the answer may still be “no” more often than it should.