The Center for An Accessible Society Disability Issues Information









Government websites still have access problems, says report

Sept. 30, 2003 -- The fourth annual survey of federal and state websites by Brown University's Taubman Center for Public Policy finds that fewer than half the federal websites meet World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards on web access. Less than a fourth meet the federal requirements for access under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

State websites, said the report, were even worse when it came to access: Only a third meet W3C standards.

"This year, we altered our test of disability access by examining the actual accessibility of government websites, not just claims of accessibility," said resesarchers. In the past, said researchers, they had relied on agencies' own claims on their websites that they were accessible -- but this year, they "used the online 'Bobby' service at to test actual accessibility."

"There are some agencies that indicate on their website that they are in compliance with the Bobby standard yet do not pass the test," said the researchers. "These agencies include the South Caroline Dept of Education, the North Carolina Division of Aging, the Delaware Dept of Revenue, the Georgia Dept of Education, and the North Dakota's Governor's office. It is possible that these sites were in compliance at one point in time, but that later changes to the site removed them from compliance. As we suggest in our conclusion, it would be useful for agencies to list the date of Bobby compliance so visitors know when the site passed the test."

Yet North Dakota -- and Kansas -- ranked highest among states with accessible government websites; New Jersey, says the report, has no accessible government sites.

The report also looked at websites' usability and functionality for all visitors; they found most sites are written at a level too high for most Americans' reading comprehension.

Read the Taubman Center report

W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

Section 508

EXPERTS IN web access:

The Georgia Institute of Technology's Center for Assistive Technology & Environmental Access formed the Information Technology Technical Assistance & Training Center to promote the development of accessible electronic & information technology. Reach them at 1-866-948-8282 (Voice/TTY) or by email at

Judy Brewer
Director of the World Wide Web Consortium
Web Access Initiative

Brewer's group develops web guidelines, conducts education and outreach on Web-accessibility solutions.

Kate Vanderheiden
Trace Research and Development Center
at the University of Wisconsin/Madison

Pam Gregory
Disabilities Issues Task Force
Federal Communications Commission
202/418-2498 or 202/418-1169 (TTY)



The following sites contain information that may be of interest. Please bear in mind that the information at these sites is not controlled by the Center for An Accessible society. Links to these sites do not imply that the Center supports either the organizations or the views presented.
One of the best overviews of the issue of web access we've found is the article "Locking Out the Disabled," from PC World magazine's September, 2000 issue. Lots of good links, too.

Learn how Georgia Tech's Center for Rehabilitation Technology's site was made accessible at

Judith M. Dixon, Ph.D., Consumer Relations Officer for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has written "Levelling The Road Ahead," a set of "Guidelines For The Creation Of WWW Pages Accessible To Blind And Visually Handicapped Users" -- online at

A rather comprehensive set of links for accessible website authoring can be found at

All of Camera Obscura's index of academic and scholarly resources are either easily navigatable with speech or have been extensively re-indexed so that the information they contain is easily and immediately accessible via speech-synthesis and/or text-based access. This document also contains speech-friendly submission forms for many standard reference works, as well as telephone and address directories and resources which are easily navigated using speech-synthesis and a text-based browser.

"Designing a More Usable World for All," from the Trace Center

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Fact Sheet for "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0"

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Web Content Accessibility Guideline Checkpoints

"Advocates of People With Disabilities Take Online Stores to Task" from the Jan. 1. New York Times

Story about new guidelines from The Associated Press.

The Digital Divide and People with Disabilities

Quick tips on making websites accessible from the Web Access Initiative







Expert sources

The Digital Divide

Section 508

The Web Access Initiative


About The Center for An Accessible Society