Six epic fails: Rio 2016 Olympics website misses accessibility medals


AbilityNet's accessibility team, which works with top companies and organisations to ensure websites and apps meet accessibility requirements, has given some of the main pages on the Olympics website a 'fail'. They found a host of issues which limit the accessibility and inclusivity of the website for users with sight loss and other disabilities. It's common for large public and corporate websites to fail in these areas, as we have regularly discussed.

Here are just a few issues we would like to see rectified. Ideally in time for the Paralympics 2016.


Gold, Silver or Bronze? We can't tell

Table columns are not labelled within the site, so for example in the top five countries' table, the column titles denoting the colour of the medals aren't labelled. It means people using a screenreader don't know what medal Usain Bolt and other champions are winning.

Medal and scoring info unclear  
Data on the site is presented in non data tables – including information on medal count and schedule, meaning the information was read out in a jumbled order by our screenreader.

Unclear carousel content
Like many homepages, the has a revolving carousel of news and content on its homepage, but once again, poor labelling in the Content Management System (CMS) means people with sight loss will struggle to know what's going on the page because it's read out in a jumbled order. 

Poorly labelled / unlabelled images
The olympics' web team has not labelled, or hasn't properly labelled, the detail in photos and images, so those with sight loss are unclear who is in photos or what the photos depict.

Poorly labelled buttons
Our accessibility team used Jaws screenreader to check the Olympic site's homepage. They found the screenreader read out 'cancel' and 'ok' buttons, but it was not obvious what these buttons referred to. Other buttons were not read out at all.

Missing invisible menu bar
Some sites have an 'accessibility page' – usually linked from the homepage - where a visitor will be told how the site can be accessed for people with disabilities. The Olympics' site mentions an invisible menu bar for people with disabilities, but does not explain what this menu is for so our tester was left in the dark. 

A number of top companies and organisations use our disability and accessibility testing service. Find out more here.