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Accessibility Check: updated website – Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Government of India

We have noticed Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Government of India has re-designed their website and we took a quick look from accessibility prospective.

Compare to the earlier website, new website has a better look, more usable. However, considering department itself work in the area of people with disabilities, it’s important, their website must be fully accessible and set themselves as an example. Here is a list of a few accessibility issues that we have noticed. Please note that this is not a exhaustive report.

  • Search button does not have an accessible name
  • Alternate text for font resize icons is inappropriate
  • Deprecated mark-up “marquee” has been used on the page
  • Text alternative for department’s logo is inappropriate
  • Navigation menus do not have visible focus indicator when they receive keyboard focus
  • Navigation: Schemes appears and functions like a menu but marked up as a link
  • Tenders / Procurements, RTI and Contact us elements are visually not available
  • “What’s new” section has a scrolling content with no mechanism to pause / stop
  • Under Latest tweets section, dummy text is placed
  • Under Important links, active links do not have text alternatives
  • Important links section uses a scrolling content with no mechanism to pause / stop.
  • Visitor count informaiton is not read by screen reader
  • Scroll to top link is not available in tab order
  • Menu items are read twice by screen reader
  • Who is Who page: Table – data cells do not have association with their header information.
  • Organization Chart page: Contents of this page is not accessible to screen reader users. There is no text alternative to the chart

We have tested only a few pages. Overall, it’s a good beginning but it’s important that this website is fully accessible to set an example to other departments and organizations. Please spread the word.

Revised Guidelines for Indian Government Websites and Apps has been published – Accessibility related sections

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has published revised Guidelines for Indian Government Websites and Apps. Ministry has published first version in January, 2009 and after 9 years, Ministry has now published second version to align with current technologies. These guidelines are adopted by Department of Administrative Reforms and public grievances, Ministry of Personnel, public grievances and pension, Government of India. Revised guidelines not only has guidelines for websites but also for mobile applications.

Following sections are related to Accessibiility:

  1.  1.8 talks about Web Accessibility 
  2. 11.4 talks about Mobile Accessibility Guidelines
  3. Compliance matrix has specific set of guidelines for accessibility both for websites and mobile applications

It’s great to see that guidelines are developed based on international standards including ISO 23026, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 (India) etc., 

Guidelines are made into three categories; i.e Mandatory, Advisory and Voluntary. 

  • Mandatory: The usage of the term ‘MUST’ signifies requirements which can be objectively assessed and which the Departments are supposed to mandatorily comply with. It is anticipated that there will be no exceptions for a Department not complying with these. In the case of any Department, these guidelines shall apply to all the WebPages/websites under the ownership of that Department. The websites will be checked against these guidelines when audits for compliance are undertaken or for the purpose of quality certification. It is the responsibility of each Department to address and bring into compliance, any non-compliant issues found in any website under their ownership.
  • Advisory: The usage of the term ‘should’ refers to recommended practices or advisories that are considered highly important and desirable but for their wide scope and a degree of subjectivity these guidelines would have otherwise qualified to be mandatory. Departments are, however, expected to comply with these advisories.
  • Voluntary: The usage of the term ‘may’ refers to voluntary practice, which can be for Indian Government Apps & Websites

Guidelines for Indian Government Apps and Websites has adopted Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and document clearly explains principles of WCAG. 2.0. With having accessibility guidelines in places, GIGAW aims to address the needs of persons with disabilities and ensure that websites and applications are compatible on all major browsers and platforms. One good thing is that accessibility guidelines are embedded into the chapters and not provided as a seperate guidelines. Advantage of doing this is less chances that users do skip these guidelines. Accessibility related guidelines can be found under following sections:

  • Chapter 2 (Indian Government Identity) – guidelines 2.1.6.
  • Chapter 5 (Quality of content) – guidelines 5.3.7, 5.4.2, 5.6.1, 5.6.3, 5.6.4.
  • Chapter 6 (Design) – guidelines 6.2.1, 6.4.5, 6.5.1, 6.5.4, 6.6.1, 6.6.3, 6.7.2, 6.7.3, 6.8.2, 6.8.8, 6.9.1, 6.10.1.
  • Chapter 7 (Development) – guidelines 7.5(a) to 7.5(j), 7.5(m) to 7.5(q).
  • Chapter 11 (Mobile App Guidelines) – most of the guidelines under section 11.4.

Read the full guidelines

I-STEM hackathon, Blind World Cricket Cup, Ola App, First women… a historic weekend!

January 20 & 21st 2018 remains historic. Series of amazing things took place in India. To begin with, Inclusive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) – a forum of a few individuals with disabilities who are graduated / studying at IITs, IIITs etc., have organised an unique hackathon where participants consist of coders of both mainstream and visually impaired. It was hosted by International Institute of Information Technology, co-organized by VisionEmpower, Vision Aid, XRCVC. There were 12 teams who have worked on fantastic ideas including detecting and narrating objects around you, Currency identifier cum cash management wallet, game similar to snake and ladder (which can be played by mainstream and visually impaired people together) etc.,

Indian defeated Pakistan in the Blind Cricket World Cup. Celebration took placer all over social media and it was amazing to see appreciation from almost everyone in the country including the Prime Minister, BCCI, etc., Now there is no reason for BCCI not to recognize and support Cricket Association of the Blind in India and Blind Cricket as a sport.

A friend of us have reported Ola cabs app has now became more accessihble and a visually impaired user could be able to use it independently.

There was a recognition for women who have happened to be first in their field. Glad to see Rajani Gopalakrishna from Bangalore, who happened to be first blind women to become Chartered accountant.

In the other news, it is noticed, Government of India is taking initiative to make their websites more accessible.

Way to go!

Judges panel at I-STEM Hackathon consist of George, Srinivasu and Prof. Srikanth
Judges panel at I-STEM Hackathon consist of George, Srinivasu and Prof. Srikanth

Accessibility Review: Home page of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

Noticed that Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India has re-designed its website and here are list of quick accessibility findings. Note that this is not a complete assessment report.

  • Slider images do not have appropriate alternate text. They are provided something like “Slider 1, Slider 2 etc.”
  • Page has about 11 color contrast issues
  • Main navigation menus are operable using keyboard; however, menus gets automatically expanded and user is forced to navigate through all menu items.
  • Under important links section, there are several menus but not operable using keyboard
  • Under “What’s new” section, role of “play” and “stop” elements are not defined.
  • Redundent information is provided for links under What’s new section. Information is provided as text as well as alternate text for PDF image and also provided using ti
  • “New” image does not have appropriate alternate text. also, it’s flashing.
  • Links provided at right side e.g. Prime minister’s relief fund, e-Gazette etc., exposes redundent information to screen readers due to use of title attribute.
  • Several images have additional alt text like Digital graphic
  • Logo has marked up as a heading but there are no headings defined on the page
  • Due to use of title attribute for several links with text “link” – redundant information is provided to screen readers

Related reading: Developer resources would be of help to resolve accessibility issues.