Disability and access to courts: Assessing the accessibility of U.S. federal judiciary homepages thirty years after the ADA
Using basic accessibility standards, the presence or absence of essential usability features, and site accessibility statements, this study evaluates the accessibility of the home pages of the federal judiciary — those of the U.S. district, Appellate and specialty courts, the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts (AO), the Federal Judicial Center (FJC), and the main homepage of PACER, the federal judiciary’s e-filing and e-records access system. Software evaluations reveal detected instances of a narrow set of accessibility issues, including scripts with no accompanying functional text, images/server-side image maps with no text equivalents/descriptors, and inaccessible forms. Manual evaluations of Web sites show a high proportion (about 67 percent) of the home pages provided skip navigation links, whereas smaller proportions provided direct or indirect links to accessibility information — about 15 percent and 12 percent, respectively, as well as controls for manipulating font size (about 12 percent). Notably, a sizeable proportion (about 45 percent) of home pages provided direct or indirect links to a “BrowseAloud” explanation and download page, apparently in lieu of information on accessibility. Finally, content analysis of existing Web site accessibility pages and policy statements show a high degree of variation, with some being exceptionally detailed and informative, and some less so.
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