This post is the first one of many as I have gathered a lot of data and insights and need to break everything down into multiple parts.
I’ve had some off-work and off-duties time in the Easter period and instead of reading/watching traditional Easter crime (peculiarly Norwegian phenomenon where crime stories in various genres are linked closely to Easter) I decided to do a short accessibility analysis of municipal websites in Norway.
Motivation, methodology and preparation
After my reflection about WebAIMs Million project I was thinking about how to collect better data about accessibility, taking into consideration the whole Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), not just the parts that can be tested automatically.
Then I remembered the centralized and uniform solution for accessibility statements for public sector websites here in Norway.
Web Accessibility Directive (WAD) is encapsulated into Norwegian laws from 2nd of February 2023, and that means all public sector websites need to have accessibility statement. In other countries that have WAD from before the statement template isn’t very closed-defined. Statements have to include necessary info but that is it. In Norway on the other hand it was decided to centralize all public sector accessibility statements and not only centralize but all have to use same format.
This makes it easier for me to process the accessibility statements automatically or at least semi-automatically. And with limited time on my hands I decided to check how accessible are Norwegian municipalities. Accessibility statements are perfect source of data as they aren’t only including automatically caught WCAG failures but also manually tested ones. So all I needed was a list of website addresses for all Norwegian municipalities (opens in new window) and some fun with reusing and extending my automatic accessibility testing tool aXeSiA.
I could automate a lot of things but some pages were more difficult, so I also had to check for accessibility statements manually. I’ve also discovered some interesting facts and will present them in later posts, but I can just say that I envy the accessibility authorities having all the data available for them in their database. I can hope that the data will someday be openly shared with the public, if even anonymized. That kind of analysis would be much more valuable, at least when all of public sector will fill out their accessibility statements (2100 public organizations have filled out their accessibility statements but there are still 550 that haven’t even logged in to the accessibility statement generator).
550 of more than 2650 public sector organizations haven’t even logged in to the accessibility statement generator tool yet.Official accessibility authority on 22th of March 2023 (opens in new window).
In next part I analyzed all the provided, official, accessibility statements I could get my hands on. Part 2, Accessibility of municipal websites in Norway after Web Accessibility Directive – statements analysis.