SpringerNature

Summary

***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 SpringerLink 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.

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 some others.

Critically, no means to pause, stop, or hide the banner ad rotators on the Home and Search Results pages is provided. Rotators that cannot be stopped create significant issues for individuals with cognitive and visual impairments, as well as for screen reader users. Issues of this type can interfere with the ability to use any part of a page for some users.

Keyboard users, including screen reader users and users with dexterity impairments, will not be able to use some site content. Most importantly, a some content cannot be reached or operated via keyboard. Focus order is also incorrect in some places, further increasing the difficulty of using the site with a keyboard. Some interactive elements lack a sufficiently visible focus indicator, making it difficult for many keyboard-only users to effectively use them, as they cannot determine when they have reached the correct element.

Individuals with visual impairments that rely on screen readers will have additional problems. Many images have missing or inappropriate alternative text and custom elements do not correctly announce themselves or provide appropriate feedback to screen readers, making them difficult to understand and use. Many form inputs are not appropriately labeled, making those inputs difficult or impossible to use for those that rely on screen readers. Some content and structural information is not appropriately conveyed to users, making it difficult to understand content organization.

While text in PDFs is provided to screen readers, PDFs have not been tagged for accessibility and no structural information is provided to assistive technologies, making them extremely difficult to use and navigate for users with disabilities. Additionally, PDFs do not have a title or language set.

Other issues were found that will make it difficult for users with a variety of disabilities to effectively use the system, including images of text used in place of styled text, insufficient color contrast, inconsistent navigation and identification, no means to bypass repeated navigation, and language changes not being properly documented in the code.

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