The new year has brought all kinds of excitement about accessibility. January marked the latest standard in AODA coming into operation. Because of this, and because the web community at Carleton is committed to making their websites as accessible as possible, many people are asking Web Services to run accessibility assessments of their websites.

We have a couple of ways we look at sites to determine if there are any accessibility issues. We use a technical application based on Accessibility In Mind‘s WAVE tool to spot any clear breaches of WCAG 2.0 web accessibility standards. These are the standards upon which AODAs

In the next few weeks, we are going to take a look at the main issues that come up when assessing websites. These are

  1. Linked image missing alternative text
  2. Empty heading
  3. Empty Link
  4. Missing or uninformative page title
  5. Missing form label 

These are the top 5 items listed by the application we use. But not all accessibility blockers are spotted by assessment tools – even the best ones we employ. Therefore, we look through websites page by page when we create a report.  Here are the top five items we have noticed looking at the front end of a site or the code forming the content:

  1. Images being used to convey messaging with lack of transcription, e.g., diagram or infographic
  2. Lack of page hierarchy (H3s are not nested within H2s, etc.)
  3. Images with no alt text attribute
  4. Decorative images with unnecessary alt text
  5. Tables being used for display, not data 

If you would like a report on your website please let us know. We have many hundreds of sites to scan but we can always prioritize the keeners among you!

The last thing to say is that these are assessments made by software applications and by people who are not living with disabilities and accessibility challenges. Nothing is a replacement for the lived experience of a person with disabilities. It is worth taking the time to view videos on the web of people talking about their experiences, both of how bad web content impacts their access to information and also how skillfully they deal with these. I highly recommend watching this video if you are a user who does not access websites with a screenreader. I promise the first minute will astound you as to what the human brain can do.

For more information about accessibility, visit our accessibility training: