Web Accessibility Report

Paul Boag

Life continues to be maniacally busy with a trip to the states and more work than you can shake a stick at (what a ridiculous phrase). However probably the biggest project for me of late has been the launch of a report into accessibility in Higher Education.

You may remember that a while back I published an article on Higher Education and Web Accessibility. Well this combined with a report I found on Accessibility on Council Web Sites made me decide to undertake a little research project of my own.

In short I reviewed over 400 UK university and college web sites and checked their homepages to see what level of accessibility they achieved. More than 39% of Universities and 54% of colleges failed to meet even the most basic level of accessibility laid out under the WAI guidelines. In reality this figure was probably even higher because I only checked the homepages using an automated tool called Bobby which does not check for the more "subjective" guidelines.

Considering educational institutions are obliged under both the Disability Discrimination Act and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act to ensure that they do not discriminate against a disabled person in relation to the services they provide, it is amazing that so few have probably addressed the accessibility of their web sites.

If you have a few minutes check out the site at www.headscapeHE.co.uk. Even if you are not involved in Higher Education it is worth visiting the site to see how I have solved the problem of making it accessible while still ensuring it is visually appealing.