This page records some of the more significant accessibility barriers still found throughout the site. It isn't comprehensive, but should give an idea of the sorts of issues users may face when visiting the site. We are actively working to correct these issues, and it hopefully won't be too long before this page is unneeded.
Improvements this month:
- The Ask a Librarian form is now easier to navigate by keyboard. Tabbing takes you through the page in a sensible order.
- Favouriting and ordering icons on the search results page are now available to keyboard users, where they previously required a mouse.
- Pages of search results now have different titles showing what page the user is on. Previously, all search result pages were identically titled.
Improvements this month:
- We have removed the site-wide Feedback links which made keyboard interaction very difficult and had poor colour contrast
- The homepage has been updated to remove the four-panel feature box on the homepage which was not keyboard accessible
Improvements we made in October 2012:
- The Guides page, and all the individual guides within that section, all now have different page titles
- We've moved the 'skip to main content' link to be the first link on every page
- Changed the breadcrumbs to be an ordered list to provide more semantics
- Removed unneeded "nav" tags from the footer
- Changed the alt text for the Natlib logo in header and footer to include all the text from the image
Improvements since this site was launched:
- Titles on individual Collections pages were identical, causing confusion about what page the user was on. These have now been differentiated.
- Many text input fields, checkboxes, and radio buttons did not have explicit labels, potentially causing problems for users of assistive technologies. Most of these have now been updated.
Still to do
The placeholder text in several text entry fields, including the main search box, has a similar problem has poor colour contrast making it difficult for some users to read.
There are a few minor problems that make text illegible or confusing when resized to 200%, including the radio buttons on the Advanced Search page.
There are several issues with using keyboard navigation on the site.
- Most links on the site don't give any indication of focus, making it extremely difficult to use keyboard-only navigation. A few links and buttons do indicate focus, but it is not very strong, and is still not very useful.
- The date selection widget in the Ask a Librarian and Send an Enquiry forms are not keyboard accessible. However, dates can also be manually entered.
- Hovering over some icons and buttons with a mouse makes tooltips with extra information appear. These tooltips are not keyboard accessible, and cannot be activated by keyboard.
- The extra information (including the object title) available in the Gallery view is only accessible by hovering over the image with the mouse.
- Moving focus out of the sorting dropdown box on the search results page makes the page automatically reload with the new sort, without the express action of the user. The same automatic reload happens when changing the settings of the A-Z, Z-A, Oldest first, or Newest first radio buttons.
When an error interrupts the submission of a form, it may not be clear to visually impaired users that anything has gone wrong.
Many images have alternative text (using the alt attribute) that simply repeats the associated text without adequately describing the image itself. This can leave users who can't see the images at a significant disadvantage.
Icons are used to identify certain passages of text as purely informational. They are loaded as CSS background images on empty, generic HTML elements. This mean they have no text equivalent and are therefore imperceptible to users who cannot see the images.
Links to external sites include a small indicative image showing that the link takes you off-site. This image is a CSS background image without a text equivalent, meaning these links are not properly identified as external.
The various filtered search pages (such as by manuscripts, only 18th-century material) all have the same title.