Evaluating the accessibility of online library guides at an academic library
Keywords:Online accessibility, universal design, Americans with Disabilities Act
AbstractThis article describes an exploratory research study assessing the level of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance and general accessibility of online information resources at a mid-sized, 4-year, public institution in the state of Ohio. A rubric, available freely online as a living document, was developed based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and web design best practices. From 2015-2016, the authors used the rubric containing 14 criteria (12 criteria from the WCAG 2.0, a criterion from Section 508, and a criterion related to universal web design best practices) to assess a random sample of online library guides (18 guides) at this institution.The authors found that the template developed by the administrator and used by all library guides at the study institution caused 70% of the applicable criteria to fail. The content contributed by individual library guide authors did not pass all of the criteria, but generally performed better than the template. Library guide author contributed content failed an average of seven rubric criteria. Many of the common library guide author errors in this study coincide with those reported by other institutions.Combining the WCAG 2.0 criteria with additional universal web design best practices criteria within the rubric eliminated most of the universal accessibility concerns that remained after applying the WCAG 2.0; a concern that had been identified in previous literature examining WCAG 2.0 applications to online information resources. It was concluded that the rubric was sufficiently comprehensive and that further exploration of its utility was warranted. This includes asking a heterogeneous group of users to assess the usefulness of the rubric by applying it to library guides outside of this study.
American Library Association, Americans with Disabilities Act Assembly. (2001). Library services for people with disabilities policy. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/ascla/resources/libraryservices
Anderson, E., DeBold, V., Featherstone, D., Gunther, L., Jacobs, D., Jensen-Inman, L., … Walter, A. (2010). Interact with web standards: A holistic approach to web design. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.
Caldwell, R. (2006). Web accessibility, e-learning, and academic libraries. International Journal of Public Information Systems, 2006, 1-9. Retrieved from http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:389637/FULLTEXT01.pdf
Carlson, L. L. (2017). Higher ed accessibility lawsuits, complaints, and settlements. Retrieved from http://www.d.umn.edu/~lcarlson/atteam/lawsuits.html
Centre for Excellence in Universal Design. (2014). The 7 principles. Retrieved from http://universaldesign.ie/What-is-Universal-Design/The-7-Principles/
Comeaux, D., & Schmetzke, A. (2013). Accessibility of academic library web sites in North America. Library Hi Tech, 31, 8–33. DOI: 10.1108/07378831311303903
Cunningham, K. (2012). Accessibility handbook. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly.
DeMaine, S. D. (2014). From disability to usability in online instruction. Law Library Journal, 106, 531–562.
Educause. (2017). Badging. Retrieved from https://www.educause.edu/badging
Fadel, L. M., Kuntz, V. H., Ulbricht, V. R., & Batista, C. R. (2016). Information and universal design in online courses. In A. Marcus (Ed.), Design, user experience, and usability: Technological contexts (Vol. 9747, pp. 167-177). Basel, Switzerland: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-40355-7_16
Green, R. A., & Huprich, J. (2009). Web accessibility and accessibility instruction. Journal of Access Services, 6, 116–136. DOI: 10.1080/15367960802247825
Horton, S., & Quesenbery, W. (2013). A web for everyone: Designing accessible user experiences. Brooklyn, NY: Rosenfeld Media.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines, 82 Fed. Reg. 5790 (January 18, 2017) (to be codified at 36 C.F.R. pts. 1193, & 1194).
Kelly, B., Sloan, D. Brown, S., Seale, J., Lauke, P., Ball, S., & Smith, S. (2009). Accessibility 2.0: Next steps for web accessibility. Journal of Access Services, 6, 265-294. DOI: 10.1080/15367960802301028
Lush, B. (2015). Managing accessible library web content. In B. Wentz, P. T. Jaeger, & J. C. Bertot (Eds.), Accessibility for persons with disabilities and the inclusive future of libraries (Vol. 40, pp. 169–189). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. DOI: 10.1108/S0065-283020150000040017
Power, C., Freire, A. P., Petrie, H., & Swallow, D. (2012). Guidelines are only half of the story: Accessibility problems encountered by blind users on the web. In proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems (pp. 433-442). New York: Association for Computing Machinery. DOI: 10.1145/2207676.2207736
Poore-Pariseau, C. (2013). Universal Design in assessments. In S. Burgstahler (Ed.), Universal design in higher education: Promising practices. Seattle: DO-IT, University of Washington. Retrieved from www. uw.edu/doit/UDHE-promising-practices/ud_assessments.html
Raue, K., Lewis, L., & Coopersmith, J. (2011). Students with disabilities at degree-granting postsecondary institutions. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2011 (NCES 2011-018). Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2011/2011018.pdf
Rao, K. (2013). Universal instructional design of online courses: Strategies to support non-traditional learners in postsecondary environments. In S. Burgstahler (Ed.), Universal design in higher education: Promising practices. Seattle: DO-IT, University of Washington. Retrieved from www.uw.edu/doit/UDHEpromising-practices/uid_online.html
Rosenthal, D. (2016, April 28). Are your LibGuides 2.0 (images, tables, & videos) mobile friendly? Maybe not, and here’s what you can do about it. Retrieved from http://acrl.ala.org/techconnect/post/are-your-libguides-2-0-images-tables-videos-mobile-friendly-maybe-not-and-heres-what-you-can-do-about-it
Seale, J. K. (2014). E-learning and disability in higher education (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Solovieva, T. I., & Bock, J. M. (2014). Monitoring for accessibility and university web sites: Meeting the needs of people with disabilities. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 27, 113–127. Retrieved from http://www.ahead.org/publications/jped
Southwell, K. L., & Slater, J. (2013). An evaluation of finding aid accessibility for screen readers. Information Technology and Libraries, 32(3), 34–46. DOI: 10.6017/ital.v32i3.3423
U.S. Department of Education. (2014a). U.S. Education Department reaches agreement with Youngstown State University to ensure equal access to its web sites for individuals with disabilities [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-education-department-reaches-agreement-youngstown-state-university-ensure-equ
U.S. Department of Education. (2014b). University of Cincinnati, U.S. Education Department reach agreement to ensure equal access to UC's web sites for individuals with disabilities [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/university-cincinnati-us-education-department-reach-agreement-ensure-equal-acces
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Fast facts: Students with disabilities. Digest of Education Statistics, 2014 (NCES 2016-006). Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=60
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2014a). Table 311.10: Number and percentage distribution of students enrolled in postsecondary institutions, by level, disability status, and selected student characteristics: 2007-08 and 2011-12. In U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (Ed.), Digest of Education Statistics. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d14/tables/dt14_311.10.asp
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2014b). Table 311.22: Number and percentage of undergraduate students taking distance education or online classes and degree programs, by selected characteristics: Selected years, 2003-04 through 2011-12. In U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (Ed.), Digest of Education Statistics. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d15/tables/dt15_311.22.asp
U.S. Department of Justice. (2016). Miami University agrees to overhaul critical technologies to settle disabilities discrimination lawsuit [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/miami-university-agrees-overhaul-critical-technologies-settle-disability-discrimination
Vojtech, R. (2016). Digital barriers in educating students with visual impairment. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 217, 935-940. DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.02.058
Web Accessibility In Mind. (2017). WebAIM: Site evaluation and reporting. Retrieved from http://webaim.org/services/evaluation/
World Wide Web Consortium. (2016). Web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 – Understanding conformance requirements. Retrieved from https://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/conformance.html
World Wide Web Consortium. (2008). Web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Retrieved from http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/
How to Cite
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share or adapt the work with an acknowledgment of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. Use of the work for commercial purposes are not allowed.
- Authors are able to publish the journal's published version of the work in other media (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as far as they inform the Journal of Accessibility and Design for All of that fact. When publishing their work in other sources, authors must mention the name of the Journal of Accessibility and Design for All, its ISSN, the number and issue in which the article was published and a link to the main page of the Journal of Accessibility and Design for All. Optionally, they can also include a link to the article published in the Journal of Accessibility and Design for All.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website), as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.