Site Check: New Durham Region Transit Website Not Accessible Despite Claims

Posted under:Articles,Info & Communications,Site CheckbyGeof Collison November 16, 2012

The headline read “Durham Region Transit launches new accessible website“, not one to take these statements lightly I had to look into it further.

One of the first things in the article that made me realize something was amiss was the following statement:

The website applies the Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level A, the internationally accepted standard for web accessibility developed by the World Web Consortium (W3C).

This statement is not correct, first the Internationally accepted standard is WCAG 2.0 Level AA and more importantly, so is the Level for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) which the Durham Region Transit site does not pass, even if you only judge at Level A until 2016 as the AODA unfortunately allows.

When I did a preliminary Audit using Total Validator desktop version I came up with the following errors:


Page checked: 
Total errors found: 86 (Parsing: 11, HTML: 68, WCAG v2 A: 7)
Total warnings found: 17 (WCAG v2 A: 16, WCAG v2 AA: 1) (
X)HTML used for this page: XHTML 1.0 Transitional

These findings should be of concern for a number of reasons.

We are now migrating to new HTML standards to keep up to changing technologies and this site is using old coding practices, something that will have to be addressed in the future, why this was not taken into account when building a new site is baffling, Taxpayers will take a hit in the years to come as they attempt to bring it up to AODA standards.

Even though they didn’t get it right the first time, there is no reason why this site could not have been developed at Level AA and not play the AODA’s silly game of lenient timelines.

Ironically there was a Poll on the Durham site asking if the site was easier to navigate, when checked at this writing it was 43% yes and 57% no.

It is very disappointing that an Organization with such good intentions such as The Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES) would post an article with misleading information without checking the site first so I decided to Audit them as well.

I am sure they are a well meaning Organization but a quick Audit tells that their own website is no beacon of Accessibility either, they claim on their About page:

To date there has been no worldwide accessibility news service, this is the reason the Global Accessibility News is created. It is also one of the few websites that is fully accessible to all persons with disabilities as well as many of today’s emerging technologies.

I have to take exception to the first part of this statement, Accessibility News International while not as comprehensive has been around since 2008 and their own site is not accessible to everyone if they are going by WCAG 2.0 standards, without even Auditing the site it gave my screen reader trouble.

Using the same Tool as above I found the following errors:

Page checked:
Total errors found: 91 (HTML: 5, WCAG v2 A: 86)
(X)HTML used for this page: XHTML 1.0 Transitional

It is unfortunate that Organizations that claim that Accessibility is at the root of their existence dont make sure their own house is in order before they endorse others. We need them to lead by example and due their due diligence if we are to become Globally Accessible.

Without any real Enforcement websites like Durham Region Transit can put up inaccessible websites with no repercussions, so much for an Accessible Ontario by 2025.


For the Audit files as of this writing go to Durham