Digital accessibility for persons with disabilities: A mixed method study of websites of 15-top ranked universities of India

Akhilesh Kumar, Praveen Kumar Tiwari

Abstract

The present study was carried out using a mixed method sequential exploratory design to know the accessibility features for persons with disabilities available over the homepages of websites of top-15 ranked universities of India. The ranking used for this study was that of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) released in 2020. Initially a manual observational analysis has been done for homepages of the websites of 15-top ranked universities of India for availability of fundamental accessibility features. In second phase an evaluation was made with automated web-accessibility tool ‘koa11y’. It was observed that most of the top-ranked universities in India lacked the fundamental accessibility features screen reader access, change in font size, font colour change, text spacing and even most of them do not have an accessibility statement over their websites. The analysis through ‘Koa11y’ resulted in a mean of 50 errors, 162 warnings and 432 notices respectively indicating very poor accessibility features for persons with disabilities available on websites of top-15 ranked universities of India. The website of National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF was found having no/ very poor accessibility features. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPWD Act) 2016 has a provision of enhancing digital accessibility and National Education Policy 2020 endorses all its provisions indicating a need to implement the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPWD Act) 2016 effectively to achieve equity and inclusion in higher education as envisioned in National Education Policy 2020.

Keywords

RPWD Act, NIRF, Web Accessibility, NEP 2020, Digital Accessibility

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.26220/aca.4092

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