- What to report
- Who should report issues?
- Common accessibility issues
- Reporting accessibility issues
- Registering an account with Fix the Web
- Alternative ways to report
What to report
Fix the Web relies on disabled web users to report sites where they find problems accessing information or features that should be available to all. Common examples of these accessibility issues are given below.
Without these accessibility reports coming in, our campaign to "fix the web" simply cannot function!
Please note, it is very important that you only report web sites for accessibility reasons. Fix the Web is not designed to take on reports relating to sites that are offensive, disturbing, pornographic, racist, or that relate to illegal activities. These sites are beyond the remit of the Fix the Web campaign, and would of course be unpleasant for volunteers to have to deal with.
Who should report issues?
It is important that disabled web users themselves report sites that are not accessible to them. So, only people facing web accessibility issues should contribute reports to Fix the Web. This will primarily be people who identify as disabled, or perhaps you might be an older person with some specific impairment. This demonstrates the reality of the barriers that are there for disabled people, or older people with specific impairments, and makes the campaign more powerful. Accessibility is not just a theoretical idea, but a real issue for equality and fairness in our society!
By contrast, anyone can be a Fix the Web volunteer... including of course disabled or older people themselves. You might begin by filing a report, then deciding to take a report forwards as a volunteer, making use of the sense of collective strength in the Fix the Web community. Together we can move from the frustration of a broken web to the triumph of real success!
Common accessibility issues
It may be helpful to have some suggestions on how to describe the accessibility issue you have encountered. The advice from the WAI is to "provide details about what you were trying to do, and why it was difficult or impossible to do it." Here is a list of example descriptions of common issues that you may be facing... or not!
- keyboard navigation - I can't get from the home page to the pages for paying my bill. I can't use a mouse so I use Tab to get to links, but I can't tab to the Pay Your Bills link.
- mouse clicking - It's hard for me to get the mouse to stop on small things. In the survey, it's hard to click the little circles. On other surveys I've used, I can click on the words as well as the circles, which is a lot easier.
- small text - I can't read the bus timetables because the text is too small. I set the text size to Larger in my browser, but the text didn't get any bigger.
- overlapping text - I had trouble reading the small text. I increased the text size in my browser, but then much of the text overlapped other text and the pictures, making it impossible to read.
- color combinations - It's difficult to read some of the product descriptions because the colors make it hard to see the text; in particular I have problems with blue/yellow and blue/orange color combinations.
- alt text - I'm using a screen reader to listen to your website. Screen readers can't read images; they read the alt text from the code. The images on this page are missing alt text. For example, I hear "240.gif" which my friend tells me is an image for Special Discounts.
- distracting animations - I found the home page very confusing and it was difficult to find the information I wanted with all the animated things all over the page. They kept drawing my attention away from what I was trying to read.
- captions - I was told your website has good video tutorials, but I cannot get much information from the videos because I can't hear them and they are missing captions.
It is really important to include this kind of information in your reports, otherwise the volunteer will not be able to work effectively with the website owner to get the issue fixed.
Reporting accessibility issues
The primary way to report an issue you have encountered is to use the report form on the front page. There are other methods you can use when you are away from this site, such as via a twitter account: see below for more information.
To use the report form on this site, simply provide the website address where you encountered the problem, and then provide a full and clear description of the problem you have found. Without these details it is impossible for the problem to be fixed.
If the problem is with the way a whole site is designed, then it is fine to give the domain name e.g. www.not-a-good-site.com. But if the issue seems to be with a specific page or feature then it is very helpful to provide the full page address, www.not-accessible.org/media/problem.html for example. If you are not able to give the page address, then give a description instead, for example:
"the Local Services page, the one with the lists of Residential Services and Business Services";
"the Confirm Purchase page after I entered my credit card information";
"the Search Results from the Services Directory Database"
(these examples are taken from the excellent WAI page on reporting accessibility problems).
This will really help our volunteers when they work with the owner of the problem website to get it fixed.
Registering an account with Fix the Web
You do not have to register an account on this site in order to file a report, but we encourage you to do so. Registering has some great advantages for you:
- It removes the need for CAPTCHA tests. (These help us to eliminate automated reporting, which is likely to be malicious).
- You can give information about any access technologies you use and the system you operate (one time only) so that volunteers have more context to help them get the issue fixed.
Other ways to report
As well as the form on this site there are three other ways you can report an accessibility problem to Fix the Web:
- Via email, by simply sending details of the issue to email@example.com. You can ask to be kept updated with progress on the issue, or not to be contacted.
Again, ensure you provide accurate details: describe in some detail what was the accessibility problem you found, and the exact address of the website or page.
- Via a twitter account.
If you send a tweet including the tags #fixtheweb #fail, the website address, and a brief description of the problem, it will be picked up and added to our list of new reports. Many sites now include twitter buttons for publicity purposes; use these instead to draw attention to the issue you have encountered! This also helps us at Fix the Web to publicise the campaign, as we can retweet your report. However it is less likely that you will receive updates on whether the issue is getting fixed.
- The third alternative way to report is to install and use ATBar into your web browser.
ATBar is a small piece of software developed by the University of Southampton that helps to make sites more accessible, and with just a click on the red heart button it creates a Fix the Web report for you... it couldn't be simpler! If you are keen to hunt down accessibility issues and you might want to report them often to Fix the Web, then ATBar might be a really useful tool for you to have.