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The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) released a formal accessibility review of one thousand UK websites today. Their findings paint a bleak picture: in their automated tests, 81% of the sites tested failed to reach the minimum standard for accessibility; additionally, 585 accessibility and usability problems were uncovered in user testing of a hundred web sites from that group.

However, the study makes specific mention that nearly half of those problems were not in violation of the WCAG checkpoints — implying a shortcoming in the guidelines themselves:

Compliance with the Guidelines published by the Web Accessibility Initiative is a necessary but not sufficient condition for ensuring that sites are practically accessible and usable by disabled people.

Disability Rights Commission, The Web: Access and Inclusion for Disabled People

The W3C promptly issued a response to the DRC‘s findings. While applauding the report and its recommendations as largely useful and informative, the statement directly addresses potential misunderstandings about W3C‘s WAI Guidelines introduced by certain interpretations of the [DRC's] data.

The Register has in-depth coverage of the report.

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