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This research aimed to address the challenges faced by persons with disabilities when accessing government websites and digital services in Kenya.
The research employed a mixed approach and utilised three methods for data collection. First, a web scanning was done to identify the indicators for each of the POUR principles (a method of assessing web accessibility by categorising it into four major aspects: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust). Secondly, the researchers carried out an ethnography to score the websites as per the indicators from the website scan reports. Lastly, the findings from these reports informed part of the discussion in the focus group discussion composed of stakeholders and persons with disabilities, to explain the data from an experienced perspective.
On average, most public websites achieved a moderate level of compliance with international accessibility standards. Approximately 71.1% of websites scored between 50-59 out of 100, while 20% scored above average with a range of 70-100. Only 8.9% scored below average.
While this suggests a positive trend in improving accessibility for persons with disabilities on government websites, there are still significant barriers to accessibility, most of which emerge from lack of alternative texts and errors in labelling alternative texts where they exist.
The National Council for Persons with Disability (NCPWD) website emerged in top place, scoring 80 across all indicators. Nonetheless, there is a concern regarding websites that contain critical information for all citizens, such as the National Transport and Safety Authority Website and Ministry of Health websites, as they scored below average.
The study recommends that respective government websites address the challenges of perception and functionality by regularly updating their websites and fostering consultations between developers and individuals with diverse disabilities, beyond visual disability. The government should have in place a National Accessibility Committee comprising the National Council for Persons with Disability, the Ministry of ICT and Digital Economy, and relevant stakeholders to expedite the implementation of accessibility for government websites and services for persons with disabilities.
In conclusion, the study highlights the need for improvement and growth to ensure that no one is left behind in accessing public digital content and services. It emphasises the collective responsibility of all stakeholders to make digital platforms and services accessible to everyone. Accessibility is a continuous process that requires active listening and learning.
This publication was produced with the support of an APC subgrant, made possible by funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
Read the full report here.