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Accessibility Improvements to UC-eLinks

In 2012, University of California hired an accessibility consultant Jim Thatcher to review ten websites at each campus including the UC libraries’ websites, and to write a report for each campus.  UC Berkeley shared their “Thatcher” report with CDL in fall 2012. Some of the accessibility issues raised in the UC Berkeley Library’s report related to Melvyl and associated services UC-eLinks and Request.

Accessibility findings 

The Thatcher report identified four main issues with UC-eLinks:

  1. Image “alt” text missing
  2. In-page navigation needed (add headings and use roles to define content spaces.)
  3. Form navigation needed (add labels to specify fields and use roles to define content spaces)
  4. UC-eLinks button color contrast was not sufficient (change the color of the UC-eLinks button text from white to black.)

The first thing the UC-eLinks team did was to identify the fixes controlled by CDL, and those controlled by Ex Libris, who provides the SFX software that runs UC-eLinks. Most of the accessibility issues had to do with making it possible for visually impaired users to easily navigate through web pages and forms.

Ex Libris & the SFX User Community

For UC-eLinks, we asked Ex Libris to make the accessibility fixes to SFX that Jim Thatcher identified.  We also asked Ex Libris to generalize the fixes across SFX, and wherever possible to do further accessibility testing.

Yisrael Kuchar, SFX product manager wrote to us on 11/28/12:  “I very much appreciate you sharing the report [Thatcher report] as it does pinpoint specific issues and offers the way to fix them. I can confirm that we will be looking into accessibility issues as part of the roadmap in 2013, and this is a good few pointers to start with.”

In November 2012, the SFX user community ( voted for the top ten product enhancements for SFX and elected “functional accessibility of SFX public interfaces” as #2 (Mobile was #1.) Ex Libris plans to make all SFX public interfaces functionally accessible to the visually impaired and to users who cannot use a mouse beginning third quarter 2013 with the SFX menu and A-Z lists as the highest priority.

CDL fixes

Since CDL has customized the look and feel of the UC-eLinks user interface, we needed to make accessibility improvements independent of Ex Libris’ fixes to SFX in these parts of UC-eLinks:
Phase 1 (Completed)

Phase 2 (See Next Steps)

Margery Tibbetts, technical lead for UC-eLinks, completed the phase one accessibility fixes in March 2013. She tested the UC-eLinks forms and windows using these standard accessibility tools:

UC-eLinks button change

We changed the button text color from white to black to increase the contrast. This is the new button image:
UC-eLinks button


Are you using this UC-eLinks button? Here’s how you can help: If you are using this small UC-eLinks button anywhere on a website, we ask you to use this URL rather than copying the button image locally: )

Why? The UC-eLinks button URL will not change. So, if we make further changes to the button and you are using the URL, you will get the changes automatically.

UC-eLinks’ accessibility scores

Now, UC-eLinks meets or exceeds the recommendations in the Thatcher report. These are UC-eLinks’ Accessibility Management Platform (AMP) scores as of March 18, 2013:
UC-eLinks window:

  • 508.22 – 100%
  • WCAG2 A – 100%
  • WCAG2 AA – 100%

UC-eLinks window with linking within a frame:

  • 508.22 – 93% (varies with publisher)
  • WCAG2 A – 94% (varies with publisher)
  • WCAG2 AA – 100%

Citation Linker (End User form):

  • 508.22 – 100%
  • WCAG2 A – 100%
  • WCAG2 AA – 100%

Report a Problem form:

  • 508.22 – 100%
  • WCAG2 A – 100%
  • WCAG2 AA – 100%

Ask a Librarian form:

  • 508.22 – 100%
  • WCAG2 A – 100%
  • WCAG2 AA – 100%

Next steps

After UC-eLinks is moved to Ex Libris cloud hosting in summer 2013, the CDL UC-eLinks team will do additional work on the Citation Linker form for ILL staff and the Copy and Paste form. The CDL will wait for the ExLibris enhancements for A-Z ejournal lists. We will also do further accessibility testing to ensure integrated services such as Request meet or exceed accessibility standards.

For Melvyl: The accessibility issues with Melvyl (WorldCat Local) will be fixed in the coming year with OCLC’s introduction of a new user interface that combines FirstSearch with WorldCat Local. OCLC is consulting with their in-house accessibility expert on the design. In addition, CDL will change the Melvyl button color to a higher contrast dark blue.