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World Scientific


***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 World Scientific platform to evaluate its conformance with WCAG 2.1 AA Criteria. This evaluation did not include all functionality or content of the site or all WCAG 2.1 AA Success Criteria.

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

Critically, some interactive elements interfere with the use of assistive technologies. Users that rely on assistive technologies like screen readers, including individuals with visual and reading impairments, must be able to use those technologies without interference.

Keyboard users, including screen reader users and users with dexterity impairments, will find it impossible to access or use a significant portion of site content. A variety of content throughout the site cannot be reached or operated via keyboard, making it impossible to use for those that rely on keyboard access. Focus order is incorrect in some places, increasing the difficulty of using the site with a keyboard, and most 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 who rely on screen readers, including many users with visual, reading, and language impairments, will have problems using the site. Significant content is not read out at all or is not read correctly, and structural information (including headings and lists) is not appropriately conveyed to users, making it difficult or impossible to understand content and organization in places. Form inputs are not appropriately labeled, 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 to understand and use. Many images have inappropriate alternative text, significantly impacting users with visual impairments.

The PDF has not been tagged for accessibility and no structural information is provided to assistive technologies, making it extremely difficult to use and navigate for users with disabilities. Additionally, no title or language is provided to assistive technologies.

Other issues were found that will make it difficult for users with a variety of disabilities to effectively use the system, including insufficient color contrast for text and meaningful visual elements, use of color alone to distinguish content, images of text being used instead of styled text, content unexpectedly changing when keyboard focus shifts, inappropriate labels, inappropriate page titles, content being removed when the viewport or text size is changed, and inability to bypass repeated navigation.

To improve access for users with disabilities, MSU UARC recommends a full WCAG 2.1 AA evaluation and that the problems discovered be remediated.