A friend recently asked me about the accessibility of a new US government website he'd seen. He knew I'd been following the various discussions about federal government accessibility. Like others I've looked at, IT Dashboard doesn't do very well.
At first glance, you might think it was going to be accessible. Nice clean layout in a modern style... it should be accessible too, right? You might think that, but you'd be disappointed. Let's take it from the top.
- First thing I noticed while testing is that it seems to be forcing compatibility mode in Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) As of this posting it's not yet on the IE8 Compatibility View Blacklist
- Skip links: present, but invisible and don't work for me in Internet Explorer 8. (compatibility mode?)
- Text resizing: Nice clean text resizing links at the top of the page, but they don't seem to work in Internet Explorer or Firefox. I can see a refreshing of the screen, but I can't see any text changing.
- Page headings: Should have at least one H1 heading. It has none. The home page has one H2 heading.
- Default language: not defined
- Alternative text: Purely decorative images are given alt text, they should be put in the CSS.
- OnClick handler does not have focus-able element
- Color contrast: with a 4.5:1 ratio being a minimum value for AA rating this site has links with a 2.35:1 ratio. Unacceptable.
- Screen refreshing: There is no means that I can see to stop the screen from refreshing whenever the home page graphs reload. While this isn't particularly noticeable in normal browser viewing, my testing software resets about every thirty seconds. I have to think that accessibility software and add-ons would do the same.
While this is by no means a complete evaluation, it does show an alarming number of problems, some of them quite serious. My final problem with this site is the accessibility page. In my opinion this is the place where you explain how to use the accessibility features of a website. This is not the place to make political statements. This site's page begins with:
The Obama Administration has a comprehensive agenda to empower individuals with disabilities in order to equalize opportunities for all Americans.
It's only in the eighth paragraph that actual web accessibility features are mentioned. These three sentences are two little, and they are seven paragraphs too late. This is as good a summation of my opinion of the site as I could write.