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ScienceDirect Platform


This report reflects the findings of a high-level assessment of Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform for
its conformance with the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 (WCAG 2.1). There are very few WCAG 2.1 compliance issues with the platform, and the few that are present are programmatic in nature and should be relatively easy to fix. However, creating an accessible platform is a constantly moving goalpost, so it is important to keep in mind that there are continual updates to the WCAG standards that may require more work in the future. Below are the most critical issues to focus on correcting to improve access for all potential users of the system.

Top 3 Issues:

  1. Compatibility: There are very few issues with this system overall and the only compliance issue that stands out is around the use of unique id’s. This is a relatively minor issue and is primarily programmatic and should not cause a serious problem with usability or accessibility. For an in-depth guide to ARIA implementation, please see the WAI-ARIA Authoring Best Practices Guide from W3.
  2. Keyboard Accessible and Navigable: Overall, the site does an excellent job of supporting users that require the use of keyboards to navigate, but the tables within articles do not seem to follow a standard behavioral pattern for navigation. Keep in mind that standard HTML tables are compliant.
  3. Color Contrast: There are a few minor contrast issues that were flagged by software analysis and one that was flagged by expert review. Manual review is recommended to check hex codes to ensure color compliance, especially for the focus ring. Consider reviewing the WCAG 2.2 Draft for upcoming guidelines on focus rings.