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I have just finished testing both the Australian and New Zealand web sites for accessibility. The Australian client is the NSW Disability Discrimination Legal Centre Inc., which assists people with disabilities with their legal rights. The New Zealand client is Rainbow Youth, which assists queer youth and their families in Auckland.

The testing process

Due to the severe time constraints (only two hours to test two sites), I concentrated on finding accessibility errors. I did this using both manual and automated testing, although I only used one automated testing tool: WAVE. I tried some basic user techniques, such as turning style sheets off, turning images off and increasing text size. I also checked ALT attributes (although both sites were quite low on images), heading levels, use of JavaScript, style sheets, text links, field labels and use of PDFs.

NSW Disability Discrimination Act (Australian team)

http://test.fcp-aussie.com/

The biggest problem with the site is that increasing the text size kills the navigation. As the text size increases, the Search box begins to overlap the right hand side of the horizontal navigation. With images turned off, the Search disappears entirely.

There is a field l

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abel on the Search but it is incorrect, therefore the field label is not associated with the Search field. Field labels were also a problem on the Membership page.

Unfortunately the link text is very small. This problem is compounded by the link hover colour which is a yellow and difficult to read on the white background.

I was pleased to see that the site functioned correctly with style sheets disabled, and that all PDFs had Word equivalents. The site also used skip links on every page. There were also accesskeys, which are a bit of a no-no nowadays due to conflicts with screen readers, however I didn’t take off points for that. Headings were used appropriately but navigation sometimes wasn’t consistent.

Rainbow Youth (New Zealand team)

http://fcp-nz.com/

The biggest problem with the site is that both the navigation and the footer disappears when images are turned off.

Small text was used in the navigation, and some links were not unique (“Read more”). The links to Flickr, Twitter and Facebook on the homepage use JavaScript to open in a new window. There is no warning that the links will open in a new window, however they do work properly with JavaScript disabled.

As with the Australian example, the site functioned correctly with style sheets disabled. All fields had appropriate field labels. This site also used skip links on every page. Headings were used appropriately and navigation was consistent.

Conclusion

Both teams lost many points for their navigation issues, however in total, the New Zealand site fared better in accessibility stakes. This tallied with the final decision as the Code Blacks (the New Zealand team) won!

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