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***Below is a summary of UARC's accessibility evaluation. For the full report, click the pdf link in the menu on the right.*** 

MSU Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting (MSU UARC) conducted a high-level accessibility evaluation of the Chemical Abstracts SciFinder website 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 Success Criteria.

Top 3 Issues

During this evaluation, a number of issues were found that will make the site and its content impossible to use for many individuals with disabilities, and difficult to use for most others.

  1. Keyboard Navigation- Keyboard users, including screen reader users and users with dexterity impairments, will be unable to access a wide variety of site functionality. Many interactive elements (including menus and dropdowns) cannot be reached or opened via keyboard. 
  2. Focus Indicators- Many interactive elements that can be reached lack a sufficiently visible focus indicator, making it difficult or impossible for many keyboard-only users to effectively use them, as they cannot determine when they have reached the correct element. Focus order is also incorrect in places, further increasing the difficulty of using the site with a keyboard.
  3. Labels and Alt Text- Individuals with visual impairments, including those that rely on screen readers, will have additional problems. Some content is read out incorrectly, and structural information (including heading and table structure) is not appropriately conveyed to users, making it difficult to understand content organization. Some form inputs are not appropriately labeled and form instructions are not associated with inputs, making those inputs difficult or impossible to use for those that rely on screen readers. Custom elements do not correctly announce themselves to screen readers, making them difficult or impossible to understand and use. Many images lack appropriate alternative text, significantly impacting users with visual impairments.

Other issues were found that will make it difficult for users with a variety of disabilities to effectively use the system, including missing page language declarations, use of color alone to distinguish content, insufficient color contrast, and inappropriate page titles.

To improve access for users with disabilities, UARC recommends a full WCAG 2.0 AA evaluation and that the problems discovered be remediated.