Website Accessibility: a Comparative Analysis of Australian National and State/Territory Library Websites
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Computer and Security Science
This paper assesses the accessibility of the websites of the National Library of Australia, and those of each of the State/Territory Libraries. The analysis has been conducted using expert manual evaluation, automated tools and users with disabilities to identify both the Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) Version 2 compliance as well as the chief accessibility barriers identified by users with disabilities. While the results from the different aspects of the hybrid testing methods differ considerably in their ranking, the quantitative data suggest that at the time of writing, none of the libraries assessed meet WCAG 2.0 Level A compliance. Unfortunately, it follows that people with disabilities would have problems accessing materials from the websites of all of the nine libraries tested. In view of the fact that one in five people have a disability that places restrictions on their mobility, employment and/or education, this is understandably significant. Despite the issue of non-compliance, however, many libraries had clearly considered and implemented elements of WCAG 2.0 and would only require minimal improvements to reach the web standard, while others have considerable work to do before they meet the required inclusive website design advocated by both Australian and international standards.