Monday, August 18, 2008

Beijing 2008 Olympics Website Accessibility Problems

The E-Access Bulletin reports that Henny Swan from UK Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) says the web site for the Beijing Olympics website has several problems making it difficult for people with a disability.It will be interesting to see how the London 2012 Olympics does.

The item mentions the accessibility case for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. My expert witness statement assessing the accessibility of the Sydney Olympic Web Site for the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission hearing is available online (8 August 2000). A decision was delivered 24 August 2000 and $20,000 damages were awarded. BOCOG invited me to Bejing to talk about that case and what was needed for Making an Accessible and Functional Website for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The website for the Beijing Olympics is not accessible to people with disabilities, a leading accessibility expert has told E-Access Bulletin.

With the games in full swing this month, their official website which include a full results service could be among the most visited sites in the world ( But Henny Swan, senior web accessibility consultant at the RNIB, said the service is inaccessible in a number of key ways.

"There text alternatives for multimedia which means many people, including mobile users, will be locked out of content. New windows also seem to open from within Flash movies, which is not only an accessibility but also a usability issue." Other findings include instances of animation that fails to stop moving after three seconds, she
said. "This can be a distraction for people with reading problems or people with low vision.

Last year Swan undertook an initial advance study of the accessibility of the Beijing Olympics site, then still under development. While the findings of her work were not all negative, the indications at that time were that various improvements were needed before the website would meet even the basic level of compliance with international Web Content Accessibility Guideline.

Returning to the site this month, she said there had been some improvements, although "where one issue may have been fixed, others have taken its place." Overall her findings indicate that the organising committee for the Beijing games seem not to have developed a clear accessibility plan for the website.

Olympic websites have a mixed history in terms of accessibility. The site for the 2004 games in Athens raised few complaints, but the organisers of the 2000 Sydney Olympics were successfully sued for failure to make their website comply with accessibility standards.

NOTE: For our full report on the accessibility of the Beijing 2008 Olympics website see section three, this issue.

From: Beijing Games Website Inaccessible On Multiple Counts, E-Access Bulletin, ISSUE 104, Headstar, August 2008

I ran a quick automated TAW Test which reported:

Test summary outcome

AutomaticHuman review
Priority 1275
Priority 27182
Priority 3019

The two Priority 1 issues were:

Found issues:

Priority 1[WAI] Priority 1 accessibility issues. A Web content developer must satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it impossible to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint is a basic requirement for some groups to be able to use Web documents. 2 automatically detected problems and 75 problems that require human review have been found.

6.2 Ensure that equivalents for dynamic content are updated when the dynamic content changes.

  • Missing accessible alternative content in the body of IFRAME (1)
    • Line 222 ...

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