***Below is a summary of UARC's accessibility evaluation. For the full report, click the pdf link in the menu on the right.***
Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting (UARC) conducted a preliminary accessibility evaluation of ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global to evaluate its conformance with WCAG 2.0 AA Criteria. This evaluation did not include all functionality or content of the site or all WCAG 2.0 AA Criteria.
During this evaluation, a number of issues were found that will make the site difficult or impossible to use for some individuals with disabilities.
Critically, some PDFs have not had optical character recognition (OCR) performed, preventing screen reader users from accessing content (users cannot use Adobe Acrobat Professional to perform OCR because pages do contain text: a watermark and copyright statement). PDFs that have been OCRed have not been tagged (impeding usage, and forcing users to rely on automatic tagging processes that are not consistently accurate) and contain a number of minor OCR errors.
Screen reader users will find some interactive elements difficult to use, due to missing or confusing labels, instructions, error information, alternative text, roles, and values. All keyboard users (including screen reader users and individuals with dexterity impairments) will also experience difficulties due to non-standard keyboard usage and full-page refreshes when values are changed. Incorrect focus order and insufficient focus visibility will also negatively affect these individuals.
A number of other issues were found that will make it difficult for users with a variety of disabilities from effectively using the system, including improperly structured headings, lack of PDF document titles, and missing language declarations for non-English words.
To improve access for users with disabilities, UARC recommends a full WCAG 2.0 AA evaluation of ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global and that the problems discovered be remediated by ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.