Riding the WAVE of Accessibility (Results)

Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE)
The  Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE) tool is a fantastic resource for testing your websites, as we discovered last time.

We put a string of our own and client sites through the WAVE tool to see what it would find. It got ugly.

Site  Errors  Contrast  Alerts
Catling Mindswipe (Blogger)   35 175 139
Catling Mindswipe (Blogger new)   29   3  63
CatlingonFilm     (WordPress.com)    3  90  15
Robin Catling     (WordPress.com)    3   3  15
West Devon Swords (WordPress s/h)   10   0  15
Proactivity Press (WordPress s/h)    4  35  60
Okehampton Flyers (WordPress s/h)    1   0  20
OCRA              (Wordpress s/h)    0   0  47

Blogger - Catling Mindswipe
The worst report of all came from our own Blogger site. This is no surprise. It has always performed poorly in accessibility tests.

It's quite a damning report. Our blogger template is one of the pre-built free frameworks that Blogger provides. It's quite old, but has been updated behind the scenes at least twice, the last time that we know of in 2018. Disappointingly it is an accessibility shocker. 35 markup errors, 175 contrast errors (my accent colour) and 139 alerts for poor practice.

Blogger is the free service (with paid options) from Google. It offers a limited set of templates with huge range of custom options inside a page-builder tool. You have control of page elements and colours, but not of the code used to structure and markup those things.

Hold onto this thought. The report was so bad, we revamped the site with a new Blogger theme and re-ran the report. See the dramatic difference in the line Blogger - new. More on this in the next post.

We tested two sites on free WordPress plans using free themes. The creative writing site had a revamp this year and changed to an established template. Overall these rated well with low markup errors and alerts. Our film site's Parament theme performed poorly for contrast. It's a dark theme, on which NOTHING can be done to the basic colour settings.

Of our WordPress self-hosted sites (s/h), our choice of templates is apparently not egregious (love that word).

West Devons Swords' dark, almost monochrome theme has no contrast errors AT ALL, only 15 alerts, but still 10 markup errors in the way it has been coded.

Proactivity Press' new theme, ColorMag by Themegrill, gets few markup errors. The contrast errors are entirely down to the choice of accent colours which is our fault, already spotted and already fixed. 60 alerts doesn't look good, though.

Okehampton Flyers' Onepress theme by Fame Themes does well, having 1 markup error, no contrast errors, 20 alerts.

Sports charity site OCRA does very well, no markup errors, no contrast errors, but still 47 alerts. This is using a child theme of the WooCommerce Storefront theme, in OCRA's branded colour scheme.

Results analysis

The combination of platform, theme, plugins and hosting plan clearly determines what you can and can't fix.

We'll consider this in the next post. RC