Evaluating the accessibility of higher education institution websites in the State of Kuwait: empirical evidence

Zainab AlMeraj, Fatima Boujarwah, Dari Alhuwail, Rumana Qadri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The objective of this study is to evaluate the current state of accessibility of higher education institution websites in the State of Kuwait. Using a quantitative approach, websites of higher education institutions were evaluated for their conformance to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) standard. A total of 41 higher education homepages and college landing pages were evaluated. The following software conformance tools and metrics were used: AChecker, Total Validator, WAVE and HTML/CSS/ARIA. The evaluation was followed by a systematic analysis of the results, a comparison to other areas of accessibility research, and putting forth a set of recommendations for the improvement in higher education website accessibility. None of the higher education websites fully conformed to the WCAG 2.0 Level A standard across all tools used. The lowest ranking pages (24% of all pages) had an error rate above 35% across all aspects of the WCAG 2.0 guidelines. The majority of errors, at both WCAG 2.0 levels A and AA, fell under the perceivable criteria. Overall, the analysis suggested that accessibility was not accounted for during the website development and that careful re-design and repair of current issues should be a top priority. There is an urgent need to solve accessibility violations in higher education institution websites in Kuwait to support people with disabilities. Educational institutions should develop and enforce policies and laws as well as increase awareness of the WCAG standard amongst IT managers and developers. The institutions should also invest in their developers’ accessibility training and research as well as account for routine reviews of their web pages by people with disabilities and experts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalUniversal Access in the Information Society
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Higher education
  • Kuwait
  • W3C
  • WCAG 2.0
  • Web
  • Web accessibility
  • Web evaluation tools

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