Political parties excludes persons with disabilities

Ahead of the parliamentary elections in Sweden, Funka has examined the parliamentary parties’ websites. Most do not comply with international standards on a number of basic points, and thus risk obstructing or completely excluding some users.

It is a democratic scandal in a country like Sweden comments Susanna Laurin, CEO of Funka. Major parties generally seem to go for cool design, which can impede accessibility. Among other things, we found really poor contrasts that cause problems for both visually impaired and many elderly.

A majority of the parties violates the international guidelines of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines that the public sector in Sweden should comply with. There are fundamental problems, which might create difficulties for persons with for instance dyslexia, motor disabilities or cognitive problems, to independently form an opinion of what the parties stand for. In technical terms this means deficiencies in the markup of various items such as headings, forms, and images. For persons that use some kind of assistive technology to browse the web, it becomes difficult or impossible to access the information.

Large groups affected

Several of the parties depart from standards and make up homemade solutions. But the more they develop inhouse, the greater the risk of unknowingly creating obstacles for the users. Technology inexperienced visitors and people with difficulties in concentrating often have a great need for consistency in order to feel confident about the content.

Many parties' websites also have more general UX issues, not least with navigation concepts. A few have chosen unusual concepts (the Centre Party, the Left Party), some use mobile navigation even on desktop (the Social Democratic Party, the Swedish Green Party) and others works poorly with touchscreens (the Sweden Democrats, the Christian Democrats).

- A positive thing is that the transition to responsive websites usually means that magnification works well, says Hampus Sethfors, accessibility expert at Funka, who conducted the review. Some of the parties are also investing a lot in films, which is great for many users. The Centre party also subtitled many of their films, which is very important for the hearing impaired.

Hampus Sethfors and Andreas Cederbom conducted the survey during two weeks in August 2014.

Funka’s review of the accessibility of the parliamentary parties' websites in 2014 (in Swedish, pdf 3,2 MB), opens in new window

Article about Funka’s review in Computer Sweden (in Swedish), Terrible ratings for parties’ websites, opens in new window

Interview in Region Skåne’s talking newspaper with Funka CEO Susanna Laurin on the review (in Swedish, Mp3), opens in new window


Susanna Laurin

Title: Chief Research and Innovation Officer

susanna.laurin@funka.com (Susanna Laurin)

+46 8 555 770 61 (Susanna Laurin)