Skip to page content or Skip to Accesskey List.


Main Page Content

Olympics Heading For New Accessibility Suit

Rated 3.72 (Ratings: 4)

Want more?

  • More articles in News
Picture of MartinB

Martin Burns

Member info

User since: 26 Apr 1999

Articles written: 143

As previously reported, the organising committee for the Sydney 2000 Olympics were successfully sued by Bruce Maguire over the official Sydney Games site being inaccessible to users with disabilities. That action only cost AU$20,000 in fines (plus legal costs), but caused a great deal of PR damage to the Games and the Olympic movement.

It would seem that the organisers of the Salt Lake 2002 games are heading for the same fate.

A quick and dirty analysis shows that the site fundamentally depends on Javascript to display content to the user, from the opening page (and note that this is the full HTML):



<script language=javascript>

document.write("<title>" + (("nbcolympics")>-1) ? "NBC Olympics" : "Olympics") + "</title>");



<script language=javascript src=/x/inc/get_guid.asp></script>

<script language=javascript src=/x/js/xtd_funct.js></script>

<script language=javascript src=/x/js/stdframe.js></script>

<noscript><p>Javascript must be enabled to view this site.</noscript>


To the link to registration (It's a Javascript popup):

<a class="yblnk" href="javascript:OCW('','','');">

<img border="0" src="/c/0/32/468/oly_ss_huetgeneric_table.jpg" alt="Image: Register and receive free screensaver" />


Even more worrying is that the link to the Paralympic Games - yes, the games exclusively for disabled athletes - is also only accessible with Javascript.

This is a pretty clear breach of one of the Priority 1 WAI guidelines:

6.3 Ensure that pages are usable when scripts, applets, or other programmatic objects are turned off or not supported. If this is not possible, provide equivalent information on an alternative accessible page. [Priority 1]

For example, ensure that links that trigger scripts work when scripts are turned off or not supported (e.g., do not use "javascript:" as the link target). If it is not possible to make the page usable without scripts, provide a text equivalent with the NOSCRIPT element, or use a server-side script instead of a client-side script, or provide an alternative accessible page as per checkpoint 11.4. Refer also to guideline 1.

Still, at least they've remembered to add ALT attributes.

Martin Burns has been doing this stuff since Netscape 1.0 days. Starting with the communication ends that online media support, he moved back through design, HTML and server-side code. Then he got into running the whole show. These days he's working for these people as a Project Manager, and still thinks (nearly 6 years on) it's a hell of a lot better than working for a dot-com. In his Copious Free Time™, he helps out running a Cloth Nappies online store.

Amongst his favourite things is ZopeDrupal, which he uses to run his personal site. He's starting to (re)gain a sneaking regard for ECMAscript since the arrival of unobtrusive scripting.

He's been a member of since the very early days, a board member, a president, a writer and even contributed a modest amount of template code for the current site. Above all, he likes to do things because it knowingly chooses to do so, rather than randomly stumbling into them. He's also one of the boys and girls who beervolts in the UK, although the arrival of small children in his life have knocked the frequency for 6.

Most likely to ask: Why would a client pay you to do that?

Least likely to ask: Why isn't that navigation frame in Flash?

The access keys for this page are: ALT (Control on a Mac) plus: is an all-volunteer resource for web developers made up of a discussion list, a browser archive, and member-submitted articles. This article is the property of its author, please do not redistribute or use elsewhere without checking with the author.