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Are The 2020 Presidential Candidate’s Websites ADA Compliant?

The 2020 election is quickly approaching & as I was researching the candidates that are currently running, I noticed that some of them lacked basic web accessibility compatibility. I thought it would be fun to take an objective look at all candidates running & give them a grade on how their website stacks up against a few of the guidelines from WCAG 2.0 A – do keep in mind that WCAG 2.0 AA is the standard in the industry.

The candidates below are being rated on the following guidelines:

  • Ability/ease of use alternative navigation tools (ie. Keyboard only, voice activation)
  • Proper alt-tags for all images on the website
  • Captions on videos (if applicable) – YouTube’s auto-captioning is only 60-70% accurate according to University of Minnesota Duluth.
  • A logical website structure & content is presented in a meaningful order
  • Is there an accessibility statement?

Again, this is a totally objective look at the candidate’s website & the grade is no way reflective of how I or Atilus feel about their policies. To achieve a rating of A the candidate’s site must successfully meet the guidelines above.

Since there are so many candidates currently in the running this will be broken into three parts & I will be providing an alphabetical list of candidates regardless of party affiliation.

 

Candidate #1 – Michael Bennet – Grade:D Blue background with the letter D in white

https://michaelbennet.com/

When you first visit Bennet’s site there’s a popup to donate to his campaign & I immediately got stuck on the popup – there were no obvious highlights for any of the buttons. This means if I were unable to use a mouse, I would need to trial/error a way out of the popup to continue to the site.

  • Ability/ease of use alternative navigation tools (ie. Keyboard only, voice activation) – very poor, lack of proper highlights to show where the tab cursor is
  • Proper alt-tags for all images on the website – No
  • Captions on videos (if applicable) – no, captioning was not provided by Bennet’s campaign. Relying on YouTube auto-captions.
  • A logical website structure & content is presented in a meaningful order – Yes
  • Is there an accessibility statement? – No

 

Candidate #2 – Joseph Biden – Grade: B-

Blue background with the letter B- in white

https://joebiden.com

  • Ability/ease of use alternative navigation tools (ie. Keyboard only, voice activation) – Reasonably good. The highlight for the cursor got lost a few times. Skip to main content button is available for screen readers but not for users using tab only.
  • Proper alt-tags for all images on the website – not all images had proper alt-tags
  • Captions on videos (if applicable) – no, Biden’s campaign did not provide subtitles. Relying on YouTube’s auto-captioning.
  • A logical website structure & content is presented in a meaningful order – Yes
  • Is there an accessibility statement? Yes

Candidate #3 – Cory Booker – Grade: D

Blue background with the letter D in white

https://corybooker.com/

Similar to Bennet’s site the popup pretty much prevented me from entering the site sans mouse.

  • Ability/ease of use alternative navigation tools – moderate I was able to follow along with the cursor after about 8 clicks (I have 0 clue where the first ones were).
  • Proper alt-tags for all images on the website – no
  • Captions on videos (if applicable) – captions were embedded within the video in a stylistic way, but the contrast needed was lacking on a consistent basis so words would get lost.
  • A logical website structure & content is presented in a meaningful order – no
  • Is there an accessibility statement? Yes

Candidate #4 Steve Bullock – Grade: B+

Blue background with the letter B+ in white

https://stevebullock.com/

  • Ability/ease of use alternative navigation tools – Great! This is the first candidate website I’ve reviewed with an accessibility plugin.
  • Proper alt-tags for all images on the website – Yes
  • Captions on videos (if applicable) – No, the video was using YouTube auto-generated captions.
  • A logical website structure & content is presented in a meaningful order – Yes
  • Is there an accessibility statement? – No

Candidate #5 – Pete Buttigieg – Grade: A

Blue background with the letter A in white

https://peteforamerica.com/

  • Ability/ease of use alternative navigation tools – Absolutely wonderful. I did not have any issues navigating
  • Proper alt-tags for all images on the website – Yes
  • Captions on videos (if applicable) – Yes, properly embedded within the video itself.
  • A logical website structure & content is presented in a meaningful order – yes
  • Is there an accessibility statement? – yes

Candidate #6 – Julián Castro – Grade: B+

Blue background with the letter B+ in white

https://www.julianforthefuture.com

  • Ability/ease of use alternative navigation tools – Yes, utilizing accessibility plugin.
  • Proper alt-tags for all images on the website – Most, banner images are missing alt-text
  • Captions on videos (if applicable) – Yes, all videos with audio include captions
  • A logical website structure & content is presented in a meaningful order – Yes
  • Is there an accessibility statement? – Yes

Candidate #7 – John Delaney – Grade: D

Blue background with the letter D in white

https://www.johndelaney.com/

  • Ability/ease of use alternative navigation tools – Moderate
  • Proper alt-tags for all images on the website – No
  • Captions on videos (if applicable) – Inconsistent. The main campaign video is relying on auto-generated captions, but the Q&A video has captions provided.
  • A logical website structure & content is presented in a meaningful order – No
  • Is there an accessibility statement? – No

There you have it a quick overview of the first 7 candidates running in the 2020 election. Of these candidates, only one candidate received a grade of A. Three of the seven received a failing grade.

What are your thoughts? Do you think candidates should focus their time/efforts on web accessibility? Let me know down in the comments!

Be on the lookout for parts 2 & 3 coming in the next few weeks!

 

Valerie Baker
Valerie Baker
Valerie is the Support Lead here at Atilus. Her background includes digital marketing and web development. She takes amazing care of our clients and assists with overall website updates and development.

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