Improving accessibility at APNIC

By on 18 Aug 2021

Category: Community

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APNIC has a commitment to providing all its Members and the community with access to products and services to help ensure an open, stable, and secure Internet.

However, sometimes online products and tools can be developed without properly recognising accessibility barriers that make it difficult or impossible for people with disabilities to use.

In the 2020 APNIC Survey, 5% of respondents identified as having a disability, and with approximately 150,000 unique users visiting APNIC sites each month, that equates to almost 7,500 users who could potentially be experiencing accessibility barriers. Additionally, 16% of respondents identified improving accessibility for those with disabilities as an area APNIC should focus on to ensure diversity of participation.

To ensure APNIC’s websites and tools are able to be used by everyone, an independent audit was commissioned with accessibility experts, Intopia, in late 2020.

Although APNIC was praised for clear and consistent design for users, some problems were identified regarding how well websites worked with screen readers and keyboard navigation.

Screen readers convert text to synthesized speech and allow visually impaired users the same access content as anyone else, while keyboard access is vital for many users who are physically unable to use a mouse for navigation.

Intopia identified several 79 ‘critical’ and ‘high impact’ issues and APNIC made a commitment to resolve all these issues in 2021.

The fixes include:

  • Keyboard access to the waffle/hamburger menu on the APNIC header
  • Keyboard access to blog categories on the homepage
  • Keyboard access to APNIC Academy carousels navigation
  • Tool tips in MyAPNIC and APNIC Academy
  • Screen reader logic in APNIC website navigation
  • Missing or non-descriptive alt text in some parts of the APNIC website
  • Content overlapping during a zoomed state on the APNIC website
  • Keyboard navigation to subscriptions, authors, and tags on the APNIC Blog
  • Video caption errors and missing transcripts
  • Related checkboxes not grouped or labelled programmatically
  • Missing visible focus indicator in features on the APNIC website and APNIC Academy

APNIC is pleased to announce that we have resolved all the critical issues identified during the audit, with work on track to fix all high impact issues before the end of 2021.

However, we know this is only the beginning of the journey to improve access for all users.

APNIC is putting processes in place to ensure the lessons from the audit are applied in the design and development phase across all APNIC products and services.

Another audit will be conducted at a later date to track continued progress in addressing accessibility issues. In the meantime, we welcome comment from anyone who uses APNIC products, websites, and tools, especially when experiencing accessibility difficulties.

If you have any feedback on the accessibility of our products, please contact us.

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The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.

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