Public transport apps and websites fail to meet needs of passengers with disabilities, review finds

A review of major transportation companies’ websites and apps rated them poorly for not meeting the needs of users with disabilities who have sight problems or other challenges.

he National Disability Authority (NDA) report, required by EU rules, found that many sites are partially compliant but have persistent issues that need to be addressed to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities. visual or cognitive impairment.

This includes adequate layouts, text size and color contrasts compatible with technologies such as screen readers.

The study selected seven sites and apps for in-depth reviews and conducted 50 “lightweight reviews” of sites from state departments, transportation services, and nonprofits.

He looked at the online presence of some of Ireland’s transport services, assessing their functions for buying tickets and checking information on departure times.

The TFI Real Time Ireland app provides up to date information on transport services including Dublin Bus and Luas. The report says the app has “a number of critical accessibility issues.”

The NDA said important on-screen elements did not receive the correct focus when a user moved up and down in the app. This makes it difficult for screen reader software to interpret the information, making it difficult for the visually impaired to use the app.

A National Transport Authority (NTA) spokeswoman said the current version of the app was being replaced.

“The new TFI app is in the final stages of development and has undergone an accessibility audit which has been carried out by an independent party,” she said. “The NTA has engaged with the NDA following its review and the NDA has kindly agreed to re-verify the new application before it is released to the public in the coming months.”

The report states that Bus Éireann’s web pages have “a low level of accessibility on critical elements of site functionality such as ticket purchase, fare search and real-time information features”.

Bus Éireann said it was working with a third party to audit its website. “After receiving this review and depending on the availability of funds, we will develop an action plan to be discussed with relevant stakeholders,” he said.

Of all the in-depth reviews, the Irish Rail app received the most positive rating, with a “high level of accessibility” and some minor errors.

Other government sites were found to have an accumulation of several small errors, especially with color contrasts, which would hamper a person’s experience.

The website for the Department of Social Care, which is responsible for welfare payments, had a “large cumulative number of errors”. PublicJobs.ie had “a number of accessibility issues” which may impede users’ ability to navigate the site.

The department and PublicJobs.ie said reviews and updates to their sites were underway.

The HSE website was found to be widely accessible, with pages for essential functions like registering for a Covid-19 vaccine having a “good level of accessibility”.

A large number of errors were found on the website of the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), which is responsible for providing special needs education.

The NDA said a “significant number of accessibility issues were recorded on all pages reviewed.” The NCSE said the site was being updated.

About Stuart M. McFarland

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