Most South Korean websites have designs that are too complicated for disabled people to navigate, a government study showed Monday, despite mounting calls for the government and companies to ensure equal access to internet use.
According to research by the Ministry of Science and ICT on 1,000 websites operated by private entities in 2018, about 75 percent of them failed to meet the government’s standards for web accessibility.
The standards aim to remove barriers for disabled people when they access websites to search for information. The average score for web accessibility among the surveyed websites was 66.6 points, about 9 points short of being classified as “normal.”
“Social attention and efforts are badly needed to ensure those with little access to information have wider access to various websites,” said Oh Young-soo, who deals with information protection policy at the ICT Ministry.
The government said visually impaired people may have suffered the most from the poorly designed websites because most of them were found to lack functions that could help such people understand the content.
The surveyed websites scored an average of 1.99 points in terms of whether they provided alternative content for the disabled. For instance, visually impaired people understand content via audible text, but most websites did not offer video content in formats comprehensible to those with such disabilities.
Those with physical disabilities were also likely to have problems navigating websites in Korea, as most of the surveyed websites did not allow for web surfing via only the keyboard.
“By launching consulting services for web accessibility and various programs for websites in social welfare and public health, the government will continue to improve web accessibility for the people,” said Oh.