WEB ACCESSIBILITY POLICIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
This article describes a study to assess the web accessibility polices of the contents concerning the web sites of 100 universities as ranked by Webometrics. The accessibility assessment has been carried out to verify compliance with the guidelines of accessibility to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The main goal of this study is to determine if universities with higher academic prestige are concerned of providing information about the university through their websites, so that everyone can access them, even by people with disabilities.
The policies are an increasing concern for organizations that are operating a web site. Examples of policies are relevant in the domain of the Internet issues such as privacy of personal data and accessibility for the disabled. Policies of Web Accessibility are cross cutting concerns that have to be addressed and implemented at different levels. For web sites, policies are also reflected in the legal statements that the web site posts, and in the behavior and features that the web site offers to its users. In the evaluation it was tested if the website account with a policy of web accessibility, the version, the level, the contact for complaints, if it has a conformance logo, if it contains educational information, and if it provides help and support.
The method used was to select the top 100 universities according to the ranking of webometrics. From the results, it was concluded that the majority of tested websites do not have web accessibility polices; the universities with greater academic prestige have not been concerned to provide accessible information about the university through its website so that everyone can access it, regardless if the user has any disability. Although law and regulation describe the rights for vulnerable people to access many different formats of information technology, the assurance of Information and Communication Technologies, and services have not been guaranteed.
Finally, it is clear that this analysis is not sufficient to assess the entire web accessibility statement. In this analysis, the results show reached global values according to the importance given in each phase of the evaluation. By performing the evaluation of polices of web accessibility in the universities websites, we have identified that there are major barriers to a large number of users. We hope that this article will contribute to the development of more accessible websites, and to achieve awareness among web developers of that is important that a website apply policies for web accessibility.