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Most Common Web Accessibility Issues In New Zealand and How You Can Fix Them

Written by Putti Author

October 29, 2021
how to fix web accessibility image

Earlier in our blog, we briefly talked about accessibility and why it is important so you can reach and communicate with the world’s largest minority.

There are many accessible web initiatives across the globe. Here in New Zealand, there is a standard that defines how to make sure websites are accessible and usable by everyone – even government websites have to comply to the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and the Human Rights Act 1993.

 

Accessibility Affects Everyone

WebAIM recently published a study that analysed one million home pages checking for accessibility issues and detected 51,379,694 distinct accessibility errors – with an average of 51.4 errors per page. In a world with over 1.1 billion people living with some disability, 15% of the world’s population, these results are not acceptable.

Using the AQA Accessibility Management Platform automation tool in partnership with Usablenet, we randomly selected a few websites in different industries across New Zealand, and we found out that most websites have medium to high accessibility issues:

 

Marketplace – NZ Websites
Accessibility detailed report
Issues breakdown by severity
low medium high Total
1 – Marketplace Website A, user flow, 1 step 0 6 0 6
2 – Marketplace Website B, user flow, 1 step 0 5 0 5
3 – Marketplace Website C, user flow, 1 step 0 40 7 47

Total

0 51 7 58

Telecom – NZ Websites

Issues breakdown by severity
low medium high Total
1 – Telecom Website A, user flow, 1 step 0 10 26 36
2 – Telecom Website B, user flow, 1 step 2 23 13 38
3 – Telecom Website C, user flow, 1 step 0 5 4 9

Total

2 38 43 83

News – NZ Websites

Issues breakdown by severity
low medium high Total
1 – News Website A, user flow, 1 step 0 149 0 149
2 – News Website B, user flow, 1 step 3 80 80 163

Total

3 229 80 312

University – NZ Websites

Issues breakdown by severity
low medium high Total
1 – University Website A, user flow, 1 step 0 6 12 18
2 – University Website B, user flow, 1 step 1 7 1 9
3 – University Website C, user flow, 1 step 1 8 2 11

Total

2 21 15 38

Technology – NZ Websites

Issues breakdown by severity
low medium high Total
1 – Technology Website A, user flow, 1 step 0 11 9 20
2 – Technology Website B, user flow, 1 step 0 11 3 14
3 – Technology Website C, user flow, 1 step 0 11 0 11
Total 0 33 12 45

 

Sadly, this is not good news.

Because of the Web’s multimedia nature, visually impaired people are the most affected when a website is not accessible. Still, Web Accessibility has an impact on everyone because:

  1. Blind people may not be able to see your content.
  2. Deaf people may not be able to hear your videos and audio.
  3. People with reduced motor abilities may not be able to use a mouse.
  4. Older people may not be able to read small fonts.
  5. People from rural areas may not have the bandwidth to download big images.
  6. Users from developing countries may not have access to all resources.

Often, developers forget about the needs of people with disabilities because we don’t identify or relate to them; however, we know a fraction of the audience could benefit from Web Accessibility.

 

Accessibility – Core Principles

Accessibility is easy to implement, and your website will be as pretty as you design it to be (accessible or not). All you have to do is to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and techniques based on four core principles collectively known as POUR:

Perceivable – Available through sight, hearing, or touch.
Operable – Compatible with keyboard or mouse.
Understandable – Easy to comprehend.
Robust – Works across browsers, assistive technologies, mobile devices, old devices/browsers, etc.

Many of the critical points to Web Accessibility don’t require complicated structures, and they are relatively simple to integrate. Sometimes, they are not even related to development but to content generation.

Remember these five key factors that would improve accessibility considerably on any website:

  1. Adding Alt attribute to images.
  2. Having well-organized and structured headings.
  3. Ensuring good color contrast between content and background.
  4. Having meaningful and complete links.
  5. Using semantic HTML.

Correcting these five-issue types would fix most of the Accessibility problems detected, but what if you have ten or more pages on your website?

 

We Can Help

Our digital accessibility solutions can help you identify accessibility issues and preview how your site and app work to improve usability and ensure compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG). From finding, fixing, and reporting on accessibility violations, we will assist you in developing a long-term plan for maintaining accessible experiences for your audience.

Improving Web Accessibility can be challenging and time-consuming, but it is not as complicated as it seems, and every improvement, even the tiniest one, counts.

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