At Least They Tried: Accessibility and the Georgia Tech OIE Homepage
In order for any content to be accessible, it must be perceivable for all its users. In the case of a website, there are several Web Content Accessibility Guidelines relating to perceivability that help clarify how accessible a website is. By analyzing the Georgia Tech Office of International Education website with regards to these guidelines, I hope to convince you that the page is almost (but not technically) sufficiently perceivable.
The first Guideline in question states that websites should provide text alternatives to non-text media. In the homepage for the Office of International Education (which I’ll call OIE from now on), the non-text items that appear are the logo, the scrolling links pane, an embedded video, and three images. The logo has alternate text that can be read out by a text to speech system, the video has captions and a link to read more, and two of the other images can be selected as links and have descriptions directly above them. The third image, however, contains important text about the times of study abroad meetings without any alternative text that a text-to-speech system could use. Other images in the “Student” and “Parent” tabs of the home page also have no perceivable text representation, and together, these cause a failure in perceivability.
The OIE site does an acceptable job at the other three perceivability guidelines. For one, an alternative is provided for the time-based media on the site, namely the captions for the video. Second, the content adapts to any window size more readily than most websites do. However, there is no option to simplify the page structure, such as viewing the OIE, Student, and Parent tabs on one page instead of clicking between them. This is a minor drawback to the overall accessibility. Finally, the foregrounds and backgrounds are clearly distinguishable from one another, the worst being white text on a medium-gray nonuniform background.