Accessibility of Political Parties Websites in India
Given the impending elections in India across April and May 2014, a test was conducted to determine the accessibility of websites of the Election Commission of India, the Parliament and some key political parties in India. This report summarises the results of the test.
The Internet has rapidly become a preferred medium for accessing information on various topics, ranging from politics, news, governance, recreation, business, education and carrying on social interaction. While this was initially a trend found more in urban areas, with the proliferation of the mobile phone, there is an ever expanding number of rural, elderly and illiterate persons accessing and downloading content from the Internet.
The focus shift of the government to carrying on administration and governance through electronic media and to enable G2C transactions over the Internet underscores the absolute necessity of ensuring that information and communications technologies realise their full potential as a tool for inclusion and participation. Even policymakers and parliamentarians have started using it as an effective medium to engage with the public. The Government of India has made some efforts in this direction, since it formulated Guidelines for Indian Government websites and also the recently notified National Policy on Universal Electronic Accessibility. Both of these require all Government websites and those of other entities such as essential service providers, research and academic institutions and other stakeholders to conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, the universally accepted standard for measuring web accessibility formulated by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Since inaccessibility of websites impedes access on all platforms, it is one of the most important domains of electronic accessibility.
- 41 websites were tested
- 13 websites failed to open or had no official website address / URL
- Most of the remaining 28 websites have some accessibility barriers, with only 2 websites having no known accessibility errors
- The average number of errors per homepage across all tested websites is 91, with around 10 websites having more than 100 errors.
- 28.5% of homepages have over 500 cumulative errors
- 21.4% of websites have no alternate text for non-text objects
- 21.4% of the websites have no navigation-markup
- Only 1 website has a colour change option
- Around 50% of the web pages have form links of which only 50% were accessible
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