Web site accessibility: what logo will we use today?
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act has amended the Disability Discrimination Act and requires that students with a disability not be discriminated against or substantially disadvantaged by establishments of further and higher education.
Academic web site developers must take steps to ensure that their sites fulfil this requirement, and guidance on compliance is provided by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative's (WAI) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which offer three levels for assessing accessibility. Tools which give developers feedback on their site are available, but following their recommendations alone will not guarantee SENDA compliance.
An audit of UK academic web sites has shown discrepancies between the level of compliance that sites are claiming and that which has been achieved. This would seem to demonstrate that there is a misunderstanding of the requirements necessary to create accessible web sites.
This problem is exacerbated by the academic sector's widespread reliance on software accessibility tools, the use of which tends to lead developers to rely on the tools’ quantitative approach when what is required is the inclusion and development of a more qualitative view which prioritises inclusive design from the outset.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2004