Accessibility monitoring of public sector websites and mobile apps 2020-2021

The Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) issued an accessibility monitoring report detailing the work they have undertaken in 2021 testing public sector websites.

There’s a huge amount of information included in the report which makes for very interesting reading. As well as quite detailed information about the monitoring process and which websites and mobile apps were tested and how, there is also some feedback about the most common issues found.

Section 4 onwards gives examples of the types of issues that occur frequently; 2.4.7 Focus Visible being one of the top issues which we can definitely confirm from the findings of some of the audits we have undertaken. Other noticeable issues were 4.1.1 Parsing, 4.1.2 Name, Role, Value and 1.3.1 Info and Relationships. These three issues accounted for 53% of the issues discovered and relate to writing code in a robust way and ensuring that the visual and programmatic elements of a site are consistent.

Online forms also featured as a troublesome area. Manual tests seem to reveal far more errors (especially when using a keyboard) than automatic checks. The report states that this is more than likely due to the forms mechanism being outsourced to third parties. This is a warning to everyone to be careful when procuring new third party services, making sure you mandate for accessibility in the procurement process.

Make sure to read to the bottom of the report where the Appendices Section 12 gives some good information about what will be covered in a simple and in a detailed test. This may help you focus on specific areas to address where the impact of failing may be more serious and ultimately more detrimental to the user’s experience.

If you would like any help in working through any issues that might have become apparent by reading this report, please contact us and we can offer you support.