An Investigation into the Accessibility of Web based Manifesto information of parties standing in the Scottish Parliament Elections 2003.
Authors: David Sloan, Digital Media Access Group, University of Dundee, and Martin Sloan, Brodies, Edinburgh
Publication Date: 24 April 2003
A summary follows; or read the full review, or download a PDF version of the paper.
The web sites of the main political parties standing in the 2003 Scottish Parliament elections were assessed for their accessibility to disabled web users. The study was particularly aimed at finding out how easy it was to access the information provided by on-line Manifestos.
The findings of the study suggest that access to on-line party Manifestos was likely to be in most cases frustratingly inefficient and long winded for many disabled users, including blind and visually impaired people, people with dyslexia, people with mobility impairments and cognitive impairments. In some cases manifestos and other information will be completely inaccessible to some visitors.
This inconsistency in the availability of web based information to the widest possible cross section of society suggests a worrying lack of awareness of the needs of designing for disabled web users, despite some sites stating that they had considered accessibility during design. The result is continued social exclusion, limiting the ability of many people to make an informed choice when they vote on 1st May 2003.
Many sites, including those of Scottish Labour and Scottish Conservatives, failed to comply with basic guidelines for web accessibility - guidelines that were published the day before the first Scottish Parliament election in 1999. Ironically, there is evidence to suggest that for all parties, it would not take much effort to significantly improve access to on-line Manifestos for most disabled web users, giving parties an efficient way of making policy available to the widest audience.
Specific findings included:
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The authors invite comments and feedback on this paper:
© David Sloan and Martin Sloan 2003