Accessibility of the Vancouver 2010 Games site – Follow up, Part 2

Another look back on a question I posed to John Furlong (CEO of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games) as well as the current state of the official Vancouver 2010 Web site.

To review, I had a chance to ask John Furlong, CEO of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, about the current state of the official Vancouver 2010 Web site back in May of 2004. My main points to him were:

  1. Do you feel that the web site, which will be the main focus of Olympic and Paralympic information for the world, should meet at least the basic guidelines of accessibility?
  2. If your site did meet these basic requirements, what value would you find in promoting an accessible friendly web site?

To paraphrase from the last article;

"…Mr. Furlong’s assured me that the web site will certainly lead an example to the rest of the world. [O]nce a team is in place to look after the related tasks, certain guidelines will be followed. The site that you see right now will definitely change as the Olympics draw near."

from Crazy Bat Designs – News item of 20 May 2004

With one year passing since my last review of the site, I figured that there would have been some improvements made, in terms of standards-based approach. Unfortunately, the news is not so good.

First, a comparison of the "Good" items from 27 February 2006 with today’s observations:

The Good

CSS validates
Same result as of today
Primary language is defined for both English and French versions of the site.
Same result as of today
One Accesskey is in use (It’s ’13’ though)
Same result as of today, so this is now being moved to the "bad" section
A text-only version of the site available
Same result as of today.
Alternate CSSs are available at the top and the bottom of the document. (Not on the home page, oddly enough)
Same result as of today.
RSS feed available (Doesn’t validate as of yet)
Same result as of today.
Alternate content for those with JavaScript disabled
Same result as of today.

Next, a comparison of the "Bad" items from 27 February 2006 with today’s observations:

The Bad

22 validation errors on the home page. (Including No DOCTYPE defined)
Same result as of today.
One CSS for all media, which results in content being cut off when printing
Same result as of today.
Heavy dependency on JavaScript (Although the user is given a message and a link to the text version of the site, it’s still not the most usable)
Same result as of today. (And to clarify, this dependency is with the site’s main navigation on the home page which would force a non-JavaScript user through an extra level of navigation)
A few form elements are missing their respective labels
Corrected. A label is now matched up with it’s appropriate input.
Some inline styling
Same result as of today.
Non-breaking space abuse
Same result as of today.
Semantics aren’t the greatest. (Example: Heading 2 is used for a title in the content area, but also for a ‘More Featured Stories’ link and a survey question within the heading 1 for ‘Upcoming Events’. No lists are used for main navigation.)
Results are worse than before.
Meta data for the English page indicates that it is the ‘Version Francais’
Same result as of today.
The home page itself is a little plump at over 100k
Results are worse than before. (Approximately 180k)
Some words that precede the "more" link don’t make sense. (Example: ‘announcemen’)
Corrected. (But, reading the lead-in text in context could still be confusing.)
Scripts could probably use some consolidation
Same result as of today.
CSS selectors could be a bit more semantic (Example: .leftContent, .small, .strong. What if .leftContent is moved to the right? What if .small is big? What if .strong is not so strong?
Same result as of today.
Most title elements on the site are the same.
Corrected.
Absolutely no title attributes
Somewhat the same results as of today. (There is only one title attribute and it’s for "Bell Canada")
One Accesskey is in use (It’s ’13’ though)
Moved from the "Good" category, as this accesskey assignment is useless.

Finally, some more disturbing items that weren’t picked up with the last review:

The Disturbing

  • Tables are used for some parts of the site’s layout
  • The site doesn’t pass WAI-A. (Failure on 2 automated and 3 manual checkpoints)

Last year, I had stated that there was improvement with this site, based on a snapshot of the site in February of 2006. Today, there has been virtually little improvements with the site, in terms of a standards-based design. In fact, aside from the points that were addressed, it seems to be in a worse state then before.

So, I’ll reiterate John Furlong’s comments:

"…never good enough."

John Furlong, CEO of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games – 19 May 2004, Morgan Creek Golf and Country Club. Surrey

With three years to go until the games, how much longer until this site will meet the basics of web and accessibility standards?

I wouldn’t want to wait too long, lest history will repeat itself.

References