[Accessibleweb] RE: UW accessibility ranking
ghills at uw.edu
Tue Oct 12 08:37:47 PDT 2010
I sat through a demonstration yesterday of a web tool that checks links, spelling, accessibility and other things near and dear to our hearts. (Blind, non-weighted testing like the Illinois study.) The demo examined the first 2,000 pages on www, and on the accessibility front, it was like 80 percent fail. (I suspect similar results on depts and other servers around campus.) The presenter correctly pointed out that in a place like a university where there are thousands of page owners, you're bound to have people who don't know that alt tags aren't optional, for example.
What I found useful about this site-checker is that it points specifically to what on the pages isn't accessible (or misspelled or has a bad link etc.) and gives you advice on fixing it, plus it gives you links to relevant tutorials and such. I think one of our greatest challenges with the bazillion pages on the UW Web is the fact that ownership constantly changes, many light users don't have a clue about accessibility or good web coding, and finding problems is like looking for a needle in a haystack. It struck me that this tool might help us finally start getting a handle on bad links, spelling, css, accessibility etc. I'm going to see if I can get a presentation for the next Web Council or some other venue so more of the UW Web community can review the possibilities. Perhaps through some campus partnerships we could come up with some money to finally start identifying -- in real time on real pages -- where we need work.
From: accessibleweb-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu [mailto:accessibleweb-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Terrill Thompson
Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 6:17 AM
To: 'accessibleweb at u.washington.edu'
Subject: [Accessibleweb] UW accessibility ranking
I'm here at EDUCAUSE where Jon Gunderson of the University of Illinois is unveiling his annual rankings of colleges and universities, overall and by conference, on web accessibility, as determined via an automated analysis using the Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE).
The UW didn't do so well. We're ranked 113th out of 183 schools:
And in the Pac 10, well, let's just hope we do better at football:
Keep in mind that FAE is an automated tool, so it doesn't take into account issues that can only be evaluated manually, and it has no way of prioritizing its various measures, so issues that really aren't a big deal in context end up getting the same weight as issues that present major barriers. These same problems though are true for all schools, so it's hard to argue that they affected our ranking.
Regardless of whether we have full confidence in the methodology, I think the takeaway is that we may have some problems with our web accessibility. People on this list have demonstrated an interest in and commitment to accessibility, but that alone may not have resulted in a university website that is accessible to all students. The question is: What more is needed? How can we improve accessibility of *all* UW web pages?
Technology Accessibility Specialist
DO-IT, UW Accessible Technology
UW Information Technology
University of Washington
tft at uw.edu | 206/221-4168
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