WebAIM searches websites to help the disabled find what they need

WebAIM's WAVE tool helps identify parts of websites that may not be accessible to persons with disabilities.

LOGAN – Most of the websites that Utahns use to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine contain accessibility errors that could prevent people with disabilities from signing up independently.

WebAIM, a non-profit organization associated with Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities, has developed a web accessibility tool called WAVE that analyzes web pages.

WebAIM’s associate director Jared Smith explains how WAVE works.

“People with disabilities are going to use technologies such as a screen reader that would read content of a web page to someone that is blind,” Smith says. “Those technologies will look within that page for content and information that they rely on, certain structures and patterns within the page to have that content be read. Our tool looks for things that introduce barriers to those technologies.”

Smith said it is important to the disabled that these web resources work when they need them.

“Governments have an affirmative responsibility to ensure that they’re not discriminating, in that they’re providing access to resources that are accessible,” Smith adds. “Hopefully, our research provides some insight into the types of issues that are there and the types of barriers that these websites might be posing to those with disabilities.”

He said most of the pages they examined, both nationally and in Utah, are provided and administered by third parties.

WebAIM is housed in USU’s Center for Persons With Disabilities.

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