[Irl-dean] A Comparative Investigation of the Accessibility Levels of Irish Websites

Colm McBarron colm.mcbarron at iqcontent.com
Mon May 15 09:13:08 IST 2006

Hi Vivienne,

I'd like to get a digital copy if possible as well :)


On 14 May 2006, at 16:42, vivienne trulock wrote:

> Hello :)
> I am printing my dissertation on Tuesday, the topic of which is "A
> Comparative Investigation of the Accessibility Levels of Irish
> Websites". If anyone would like a copy please forward your name and
> address before then, so I know how many to have printed. The abstract
> is below.
> Vivienne
> Abstract
> The importance of access to the world wide web cannot be
> underestimated. This is particularly so for those individuals who are
> disabled in such a way as to render access to traditional media
> difficult to attain or to use effectively. Online accessibility has
> recently become a focus of both EU and Irish legislation. A
> communication from the EU Commission in September 2001, proposed an
> initiative dedicated to achieving accessibility of both public and
> private Web sites during the European Year of Disabled, 2003.
> In 2002, Dr. Barry McMullin carried out the Web Accessibility
> Reporting Project (WARP), a baseline study of the accessibility of
> Irish websites (McMullin, 2002). This dissertation uses the same
> sample of websites and assesses their accessibility and compliance
> levels in 2005. In addition, the research addresses the limitations of
> the WARP study by examining the 'manual checks'. Verification by
> disabled users is also a priority. The research includes building an
> AAA accessible dynamic website whereby disabled users can comment on
> and rate the websites which claim to be accessible. The results will
> be made available as an online resource. The findings of the research
> are summarised below.
> Accessibility levels have increased among the 152 sites tested in 2002
> during the WARP study. This is clearly indicated by the automatic
> testing compliance results, attained using WebXact online, which have
> risen from the 2002 levels of 6.3%, 0% and 0% respectively for
> Compliancy Levels A, AA and AAA to 36.2%, 8.6% and 3.3% in 2005.
> Further manual checks on the same sites indicate that the actual
> compliance levels for 2005 are 1.3%, 0% and 0% for A, AA and AAA
> Compliance Levels respectively. While over a third of web developers
> know about accessibility (as indicated by the 55 sites which are
> compliant with the automatic checks at level A), the automatic checks
> have become the standard, and fully testing the sites against the WCAG
> 1.0 guidelines is generally not done.
> Of the sites which claimed accessibility, either by displaying a W3C
> or Bobby compliance logo, or in text on their accessibility statement
> page, 60% claimed a higher level than their automatic testing results
> indicated. When these sites were further manually checked it was found
> that 100% of sites in the sample claimed a higher level of WCAG
> compliance than was actually the case.
> Most sites in the sample were not compliant with the WCAG 1.0 for the
> entire set of disabilities. However, the concept of 'partial
> accessibility' was examined by analysing which websites complied with
> subsets of the guidelines particular to different disabilities.
> Some disability types fared worse than others, in particular Blind,
> Mobility Impaired and Cognitively Impaired each had full support from
> at most 1% of the websites in the study. Other disabilities were
> better supported, including Partially Sighted, Deaf and hearing
> impaired, and Colour Blind. Support was available from 11%, 23% and
> 32% of the websites, respectively.
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