One in five Ukrainian state websites now sufficiently accessible to people with disabilities

Web accessibility of government online resources is gradually increasing

February 29, 2024
Photo: Andrii Krepkykh / UNDP in Ukraine

Kyiv, 29 February 2024 – The web accessibility of state online resources has increased for the second year in a row, with one in five sites now judged sufficiently accessible to people with disabilities. In 2023, 22% of the government websites analysed were found to be sufficiently and highly accessible. Compared to 2021, this was a rise of 9%.

The results are from the annual monitoring study of the basic accessibility of 100 state websites, which was conducted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine in partnership with the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine with the financial support of the Government of Japan at the end of 2023. This is the third year in a row this kind of study has been conducted within the framework of the DIA Support Project, which UNDP implements with funding from the Government of Sweden.

In 2023, 4% of government websites demonstrated a high level of basic accessibility (up 1% compared to 2022), 18% showed a sufficient level (also up 1% from 2022, and up by 6% on 2021). The number of sites with an average level of accessibility decreased by 2% over the year to 51%. At the same time, the number of sites with a low level of web accessibility has not changed – 27% (in 2021 it was 39%).

The Diia.Barrier-free portal, as well as the websites of the Vinnytsia, Lviv, and Kharkiv regional administrations, have a high level of accessibility. At the same time, the websites of the Vinnytsia, Lviv, Poltava, and Volyn regional administrations, the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, and the Electronic Cabinet of Persons with Disabilities demonstrated the greatest progress in improving their basic accessibility over the year.

The monitoring study of 100 websites of the executive authorities indicates how the situation with the accessibility of Ukrainian web resources in the public sector is changing, said Deputy Director of the Department for the Electronic Services Development at the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Valeriia Tkach.

For the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, it is important that all citizens can use the digital tools that we create,” Tkach said. “That is why for several years, with the support of our partners, we’ve been working to stimulate an increase in web accessibility in Ukraine, and in the public sector in particular. This year's results, indicating an increase in site accessibility, show that our solutions are gradually producing progress. However, there is significant potential for development, so we’re continuing our work to make all state online resources in the country accessible to all citizens.”

The study is based on a specially developed methodology that tracks ten basic web accessibility criteria. Thanks to this, public managers can independently analyse their electronic resources and correct accessibility errors – solutions are also offered in the report, noted UNDP in Ukraine’s digital accessibility consultant and author of the monitoring study Dmytro Popov.

Making a digital product web-accessible doesn't require complicated manipulations or a lot of effort,” Popov said. “Often, it’s enough for the developers to make minor changes, like making the font colour more contrasting or adding an alternative description of the photos on the site. It doesn’t require a lot of time or money, but rather the awareness of site owners about web accessibility and the importance of ensuring it. It’s much easier to consider web accessibility requirements at the stage of product development than to fix existing errors.”

This year's analysis found that the most common errors on government websites include the lack of a mechanism to quickly jump to the main content, low contrast of text, no visible focus indicator when navigating with a keyboard, no text for hyperlinks, and errors in the page code. This list has not changed over four years of observation.

In 2023, state websites improved the fulfilment of two web accessibility requirements the most – regarding the presence of text labels for form fields and all buttons (86% and 66%, respectively). A total of 23 sites improved their basic accessibility over a year.

At the same time, compared to two years ago, the vast majority of the analysed sites improved their positions according to all evaluation criteria. In particular, the greatest progress is being seen in the improvement of such components as “sufficient text contrast” (which more than doubled – from 16% to 33%), “the presence of accessible text for all hyperlinks” (from 21% to 35%) and “a coded definition of the main language of the webpage” (from 39% to 56%).

The study clearly showed the most accessible websites (or those that increased their accessibility the most) were the websites of those authorities whose representatives underwent specialized training or who sought advice, said the manager of UNDP’s DIA Support project, Volodymyr Brusilovskyi.

Dissemination of knowledge about web accessibility and the training of civil servants is one of the areas of joint work to promote digital accessibility in Ukraine, on which UNDP, with funding from Sweden, has been working closely with the government for a long time,” Brusilovskyi said. “In the last three years alone, about 800 public servants from the central and regional levels of government have completed specialized training. We’re happy to see that this work is producing positive results. So it’s important to continue and to scale up these efforts so that even more people know how to apply web accessibility in practice, and thereby more and more web products become accessible.”

As reported earlier, a new state standard on web accessibility came into force in Ukraine on 15 June 2022. From July 2023, it became mandatory for the executive authorities to implement it – in accordance with Government Resolution No. 757. Both documents were developed by the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine with the support of UNDP and Sweden. In addition, the international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1.), on which the state standard is based, were also officially translated into Ukrainian for the first time.

In 2023, with the support of the Government of Japan, a series of regional trainings on web accessibility were held for representatives of local government bodies and regional administrations. Previously, UNDP in Ukraine also created an online course on web accessibility for the Diia.Osvita platform.

Media inquiries

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