Accessibility problems in Efiling website, Income Tax Department of India

It’s the time of year to submit your tax returns. After filing my income tax last week, I have posted the same on face book Maxability pageExternal Website stating the website is not so accessible. One of my friends requested to provide a quick review of the website of Income Tax DepartmentExternal Website for filing tax returns.

Wave External Website Accessibility tool found 7 general accessibility errors and 15 color contrast errors with efiling website of Income tax department External Website. On further investigation, below are few accessibility violations I have found on a quick scan.

Quick Scan of WCAG 2.0 violations

Accessibility standard Explanation Issue found Recommended Solution

The alternate text for images such as logo, Language & font selector, Quick links are not appropriate. Read more on 1.1.1 Non-text content

The current alternate text of logo is “efiling Logo”. The alternate text for logo can be more appropriate with the terms such as “efiling Income Tax Department”. The word logo is not really not necessary though no harm in using.

The alternate text for images such as logo, Language & font selector, Quick links are not appropriate. Read more on 1.1.1 Non-text content

The alternate text for images “Language & font selector”, quick links” is read twice while navigated with NVDA screen reader. Ensuring that the screen reader announces appropriate alternate text is important to help blind / visually challenged computer users.

Providing hierarchical heading structure on a web page is very vital while navigating with screen readers which is not followed in the website. Read more on 1.3.1 Info and relationship (future link)

The current page has 8 level one headings. This structure is not hierarchical. No web page should contain more than two level one headings. Remove heading at “I am”, “New to e-filing”, Registered User”, “Need assistance”. Convert “Services”, “News and updates” and “Downloads” to level 2 heading.
For every form element a label should be available and the label should be associated with the form element. For form buttons the value should intimate the action associated. Read more on 1.3.1 Infor and relationships (future link). The only form element in the page search text field does not have any label. Provide label for the search text field and associate the same with the for and id attributes.
For every form element a label should be available and the label should be associated with the form element. For form buttons the value should intimate the action associated. Read more on 1.3.1 Infor and relationships (future link). The search button after the search text field is just announced as button to the screen reader user. The action associated with this button is not intimated. For all the form buttons providing appropriate value is important. The value attribute helps to identify the action associated with it. Provide value as “search” for this button.
Links that open files other than HTML needs to be intimated to the user along with the link description. Read more on 2.4.4 Link description (in context) (future link) The PDF files that are available in the news section of the page “[Refer Notification No:32/2014 dated 23/06/2014].” Target to a PDF file but no intimation is provided to the user. Ensure that the links that opens as PDFs, mp3, office documents etc are intimated to the users in clear text and if possible as icons.
Every actionable element of the page should be navigated and activated with a keyboard alone. Read more on 2.1.1 Keyboard The elements such as “Language & font selector”, Play/ stop in news section should be able to navigate to the web page and can be activated using keyboard alone. Provide an anchor tag or button element to “Language & font selector” and button for play/ stop functionality so that the user can navigate to them with a keyboard.

The above findings are documented on July 6th, 2014 using NVDA 2014.2 screen reader on Windows 7 operating system with Mozilla Firefox version 31.0 and waveExternal Website online tool by web AIMExternal Website .

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