Friday, March 27, 2009

ABC Mobile Web site continuing problems

During Mark Scott, Managing Director, ABC, talk at the Innovative Ideas Forum 2009, I did a quick check and the ABC's new mobile web site which showed accessibility and HTML validation problems. Mr. Scott said he thought the accessibility problems had been fixed and he would go back to the office and check. To assist, here are some details on the test results.

I ran a TAW (Web Accessibility Test) based on the W3C - Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG 1.0). This reported 0 Priority 1, 14 Priority 2 and 1 Priority 3 automated test problems. While there were no Priority 1 automated errors, manual inspection requests were flagged, such as:
  • Human review required Suspicious text equivalent for image, can not be file name or file size or placeholder text (1)
    • Line 32: 'image'
In this case the alternate text for someone who can't see images is the word "image". This is not useful text and appears to have been inserted so as to trick the automated test process. Other inappropriate ALT text appears to be honest mistakes by an inadequately trained web designer:
alt='White Space'
The W3C Markup Validator reported 79 errors. Many of these errors were due to unencoded ampersands and are not serious problems and easily fixed. More serious is that no "Doctype" is specified so it is not clear which particular HTML standard is intended. The document seems to be a mix of different pieces of HTML pasted from different sources. The validation assumed XHTML 1.0 Transitional, but I was unable to find any setting for which the code passed validation.

Most desktop web browsers will accept invalid code most of the time. However, mobile phone browsers tend to be more sensitive and may produce no useful display. Adaptive technology used by people with a disability will tend to be more sensitive and so may not work.
Also it is not a good idea to hope the web pages will display correctly when communicating emergency information.

The ABC should be using tools to check the web pages are technically correct. They should also ensure the staff using the tools are trained in how to design web pages.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but your own website falls far short of those standards. You obviously don't validate either your HTML or your CSS, or run TAW tests, on your own blog.

Or even check your spelling.

Joe said...

I hate to be so petty as to point this out, but your own website falls a long way short of the high standards you expect from others.

You obviously don't run validation checks on your HTML or your CSS, and you obviously don't run a TAW test either.

Or even check your spelling.

Tom Worthington said...

prepositionjoe said March 30, 2009 11:07 AM:

"... your own website falls far short of those standards. ..."

Blogger Joe said March 30, 2009 11:09 AM:

"... You obviously don't run validation checks on your HTML ... Or even check your spelling. ..."

Yes, there are flaws in my web site. However, I am just one private citizen. If my web site does not work properly it does not much matter. In contrast the ABC is a national organisation funded to provide a community service and has committed to provide emergency warnings. Therefore I suggest the ABC should be held to a higher standard.