Following the completion of the JISCPress project, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, requested an accessibility audit of the digress.it plugin.
BIS wants to enable stakeholders, citizens and businesses to comment on the detail of policy papers and consultation documents easily, in line with government strategy on digital engagement and moving services online. BIS commissioned an accessibility audit of the digress.it online commenting tool to establish to what extent it could help meet this requirement, and to support the development of this open source project.
We’ve just received the completed report [PDF], which is incredibly helpful; something we never managed to address ourselves during the project.A very condensed summary of the audit is:
Overall the Digress-it plug-in did not perform well in terms of accessibility. Nine Single-A and four Double-A accessibility issues were identified which failed to meet the requirements set by the WCAG 2.0.
However, many of the Single-A issues, such as the lack of alternative text and skip links should be straight forward to address. Achieving Single-A accessibility should be part of a quick win strategy.
By far the biggest issue to address relates to the accessibility for keyboard users. Several elements such as the commenting icon and add/expand comment icon elements were not keyboard accessible which means it would be very difficult for a keyboard user to access the content and post their reply.
We’re waiting to hear from JISC about whether we’ve been successful for applying for further funds, which will be used to address the accessibility of digress.it, as well as produce better supporting materials for administrators and users.