Some Accessibility Progress but Work Still Needed in CBS Sports All Access Site and use of Silverlight

I’ve blogged several times about my desire to see improved accessibility with the All Access site from CBS Sports used by the University of Wisconsin to stream audio and video for Badger athletic events. Wisconsin is just one of dozens, if not hundreds, of universities that use this service.


Earlier today, contacts at the University of Wisconsin informed me that CBS indicated the accessibility issues with the All Access site were fixed with an update last week. While I have not had an opportunity to do extensive testing, I can say my preliminary explorations have yielded mixed results. I tried the site with a range of screen readers including JAWS, Window-Eyes, NVDA and System Access. I also tried accessibility verification tools such as Inspect and UI Spy that verify exposure of accessibility info, independent of a screen reader.


Perhaps the biggest issue thus far is that I was not able to successfully register for an account using any combination of the aforementioned tools. Some of the controls required to complete registration seem to either be missing necessary accessibility information or not read reliably by the various screen readers. Most notably were some combo boxes needed to complete details around birth date.


After further exploration, the real issue with the controls in question seems to be that for accessibility purposes the controls are reported as combo boxes. Traditionally alt+down arrow should expand such controls. However in this case it would seem that one must use space to expand the combo boxes. I am not certain if this is a limitation of the site or the control used at this point.


It is clear that CBS has done some work here. Many of the controls now provide names for accessibility. I am also able to launch content that does not require an account, that is the free content.


Although it is less than efficient, keyboard access also seems to have been addressed to at least provide some level of access. Still I found myself having to tab numerous times, sometimes 15 or 20, to reach a control after making a selection. And according to a sited colleague, visual focus when I was tabbing wasn’t obvious and at times appeared as if I was tabbing to items that were not visible.


Thus far my results seem mixed at best. Over the next few days I’ll try the site further and report here with more comprehensive and concrete details. From Twitter and e-mail comments I know others have tried to use All Access. You may want to try it again and see what mileage you have. If you do give it a try, leave a reply in the comments here so we can gather some collective experiences.

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