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Media:How is your web? Accessible? Readable?

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 07:35:07 -0400
Message-ID: <004d01c38422$3ddd3e90$6501a8c0@handsontech>
To: "wai-ig list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

I've placed the article below the uri because the article is short and the
uri is long.
http://www.gcn.com/cgi-bin/udt/im.display.printable?client.id=gcndaily2&story.id=23678
Government Web sites struggling to be accessible
images/gcn_logo
images/clearpixel

Government Web sites struggling to be accessible
09/25/03
By Jason Miller,
GCN Staff
An analysis of more than 1,600 state and 60 federal Web sites found the
number of online services has jumped by 21 percent in the past year, but
accessibility
remains a lingering problem.

Researchers from Brown Universityís Taubman Center for Public Policy earlier
this week released their
fourth annual survey
of federal and state Web sites. They discovered most sites are written at a
level too high for the average American and most do not meet accessibility
standards.

Using the Flesch-Kincaid testóa standard reading tool used by the Department
of Defenseóresearchers found 68 percent of state sites read at a 12th-grade
level compared to 63 percent of all federal sites. National literacy
statistics indicate that half of Americans read at an eighth-grade level.

Examiners also found federal and state Web sites missed the mark in meeting
disability accessibility standards. Forty-seven percent of federal sites
meet
the World Wide Web Consortium standard, and 22 percent meet Section 508
standards. States fared worse, as 33 percent meet the W3C and 24 percent
meet the
508 requirements.

One of the biggest improvements is the number of Web sites with foreign
translation tools or offering publications in foreign languages, researchers
said.
The percent of Web sites catering to non-English speakers jumped to 13
percent from seven percent among all sites. Forty percent of federal Web
sites offer
foreign-language translation compared to 12 percent of state sites,
researchers found.

Among federal sites, the General Services Administrationís FirstGov portal
received the top score of 84 points. Sites received points in the ratings
for
features such as accessibility, readability, database access and fees. The
Federal Communications Commission, Social Security Administration, IRS and
Library
of Congress completed the top five federal sites. Last year, the FCC was
ranked highest.

Massachusetts received the top score among all states with 46.3. Texas,
Indiana, Tennessee and California rounded out the top five.

Researchers recommended that state and federal webmasters should:

Strive for clear and simple language
Pay more attention to disability access
Verify claims of accessibility-standard compliance regularly
Issue easily accessible privacy statements
Design sites to include logical navigation, easy-to-find clusters of
services and improved search functions.

© 2003 PostNewsweek Tech Media, a division of Post Newsweek Media
Received on Friday, 26 September 2003 07:35:58 GMT

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