Winter Olympics Web Site Not Accessible

On February 12, Jebswebs and I twittered that the Vancouver Winter Olympics web site is not accessible. Jebswebs reported 58 errors on the home page alone using the WAVE tool. (View the re-tweet from Jennison.) I listed examples such as several navigation issues and Flash and JavaScript issues.

Ten days later, Joe Clark published an excellent article Vancouver Olympics Web sites are inaccessible to disabled people. He first points out that John Furlong (CEO of VANOC) broke a promise to make the web site accessible. (Even after a a blind man in Australia won a human-rights case against the Sydney Olympic organizing committee and IBM for an inaccessible web site.) Joe provides a report on the inaccessible content and also publishes responses from the VANOC and his replies.

home page of Vancouver Winter Olympics web site

It doesn’t take an expert to find areas where the Winter Olympics site needs improvement. Even for alternative text, one of the most basic and important guidelines for web accessibility, the site is lacking. This includes inadequate alternative text for Flash content and the fact that many images do not have alternate text.

In addition, the following points are for navigation only!

  • Dropdown menus require JavaScript.
  • Redundant title attributes
  • No skip-to links
  • No focus state on links (only mouse-over)
  • No ARIA
  • No menu heading

My suggestion for those who need more accessibility? Try Yahoo’s Vancouver Winter Olympics coverage.

This post is sponsored by: Dedicated Web Server

9 comments

  1. Joe Clark

    “Redundant title attributes” and :focus are not really accessibility problems. Skip-to-content links are unnecessary with well-structured content, which I’m not saying this is. ARIA is much too new to be reliably used. And “no menu heading” on what? (You pretty much can’t use the menus anyway.)

  2. Dennis at Web Axe

    Thanks for commenting, Joe. Since the site does not implement proper headings nor ARIA, skip-to links would be beneficial. “Redundant title attributes” may get in the way of screen readers by content being read twice; it’s also a usability nuisance, which is inherently part of accessibility.

  3. Anonymous

    I would like also to add as a deaf user that none of their audio and video content is accessible to those who cannot hear or have no audio.

  4. Garen

    The sad thing is they probably paid a pretty penny for that site to be developed. One thing that kills me because I know how powerful social networking is, but they don’t have their facebook and twitter links at the top. Would it kill them to at least put them at the top if they are already going to make so many errors with the design?

    But then again, my sites are not perfect by any means so it is easier to judge rather than do it myself.

  5. No Pun Intended

    Its a shame that it isn’t accessible, I personally think it was a well designed site and actually enjoyed using it, I missed Seth winning the gold and was able to check it out on the site.

    I agree that handicapped folks should be able to do the same which is a shame if they can’t but. If I compare the Winter Olympics site to yahoo I say there is no comparison, the winter olympics one is way much cooler than yahoo’s…

    Thanks and Regards

    Noel for Nopun.com
    a graphic design studio

  6. Joe Clark

    ARIA just isn’t applicable and I simply don’t agree that “redundant title attributes” are any problem whatsoever.

    You’ve got so much else to choose from in terms of Web inaccessibility here; don’t hitch your wagon to a donkey.

  7. Nikki Barnard

    I do agree that handicapped people should know how to do the same which is a disgrace if they can’t. If I compare the Winter Olympics site to yahoo I say there is no comparison, the winter olympics one is way much cooler than yahoo’s…

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