Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Accessible Politics

Wouldn't it be great to have at least one campaign website that meets accessibility standards?

It must be exceedingly annoying to people with disabilities, particularly those who use assistive technology, when it comes to politics on the Internet. In the last election, I sent out several e-mails to candidates and the state Democratic Party asking them to make their website accessible. At first there was the customary, "Oh thank you ... so nice to hear from you..." followed by implications that they would be taking my advice and getting right to it. And this would inevitably be followed by abandonment.

In all fairness, I'm sure there was some poor unpaid intern reading and responding to my e-mail and they had no time or power to effect any of my suggestions. But you would think they would have thought about this before the election process started.

So on this date, I did a little testing and looked at most of the people already running for president.

Now, before you jump all over me, I will admit that this was not a very scientific study and I merely used one on-line tool (The WebAIM Wave) to test ONLY the home page of each of these candidates. And in some cases, these were still sites for "exploratory" activities. So, things might change....

Anyway here is the score; the number of accessibility errors showing on each site.

Now, I would encourage you to do your own testing and see if there are things that I am missing. And, I would challenge the accessible web community to raise their voices on this one.

Oh, and BTW, the most common area where accessibility errors were found were in the labeling of the input boxes - you know those places where you write down how much money you are going to send to the campaign and where you enter your e-mail address so they can send you propaganda for the next 22 months....

~john b


Anonymous said...

By John S. Britsios on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 10:57 PM
Don't politicians want votes of people with disabilities? That is very weird. Don't you think?

john eric said...

By john b on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 9:40 AM

You would certainly think so, John B 2. At the very least, you would think that some smart politico would figure out that being accessible would be a great marketing strategy.