Is E-thesis accessible?
The service doesn't meets all of the A and AA level accessibility requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. The accessibility deficiencies identified are described in detail below.
For the time being, the website does not meet all relevant requirements. The E-thesis repository contains thousands of PDF files stored before 23 September 2020. There are no resources available for converting them to comply with the relevant accessibility requirements. In the future special attention will be given to the accessibility of any theses stored in E-thesis. Students writing their theses are instructed in creating accessible files. Currently, accessible PDF files cannot be obtained from theses files made with the LaTeX typesetting system, because they do not have code markings. The problem has been recognized worldwide, but so far there is no fully functional solution available. Thesis files stored in the E-thesis repository can be browsed at Helsinki University Library premises using the library terminals. Their accessibility is currently being investigated. The accessibility of the thesis files to be stored in the publication repository is described in the accessibility statement of Helda, the open access repository of the University of Helsinki (in Finnish only).
If you notice accessibility issues on the website, please give us feedback:
By email: email@example.com
It may take up to 14 days to receive an answer. If you are not satisfied with the answer or do not receive an answer within two weeks, you may file a complaint with the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland. The agency website has detailed instructions (in Finnish and Swedish only) on how to file a complaint and how the issue will be handled.
Contact information of the supervisory authority
Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland
Accessibility supervision unit
Phone +358 2950 16000 (switchboard)
Non-accessible content in the service
- A lot of weak contrast is displayed on the pages.
A lot of weak contrast is displayed on the pages. The contrast between characters and the background significantly affects how well visually impaired users are able to read text. (WCAG 1.4.3 Contrast)
- Form fields are unnamed.
Users relying on assistive technologies cannot directly move between individual form fields by pressing the tabulator key. This makes filling the fields of submission and assessment forms complicated when using a screen reader. (WCAG 1.3.1 Info and Relationships, 1.1.1 Non-text Content)
- Search fields and input fields are not separated.
The search field available on the website is not specified as a search field, which makes assistive software describe the search field as a regular input field, which is not accurate. (WCAG 1.1.1 Non-text Content)
- Font size cannot be increased using a browser.
Font size cannot be increased using a browser. When zooming the page over 175% in Chrome or over 200% in Firefox, part of the page is not displayed and the user has to scroll across the page horizontally. This may prevent some relevant information from being found.
In the Android version of the Chrome browser, only the font size of the link list changes when zooming to 200%, with the rest of the text remaining in the original size. This is a substantial deficiency, particularly to visually impaired users.
On mobile devices, most of the search result list is not visible when zooming the page, as either the top or bottom of the page uses a large amount of space.
At 150% zoom in Firefox and 100% in Chrome, the chart is illegible to visually impaired users. Parts of the black text have a dark background, making the contrast non-existent. This is a substantial deficiency, particularly to visually impaired users.
(WCAG 1.4.4 Resize text)
- The table in the assessment form is missing information.
Users using assistive software perceive the table in the assessment form as speech but are unaware of the cell associated with the value given. (WCAG 1.1.1 Non-text Content, 1.3.1 Info and Relationships)
- Instructions are displayed incorrectly.
The instructions for the input fields of the submission forms are displayed after the fields, which makes them difficult to complete for users using assistive technology. (WCAG 1.3.1 Info and Relationships)
- Submission forms contain repetitive information.
When using a screen reader to submit a thesis, the submission forms contain unnecessarily repeated information. (WCAG 1.3.1 Info and Relationships)
- Captions are missing (macOS and Chrome).
When theses stored in the E-thesis repository are browsed using a screen reader, with macOS as the operating system and Chrome as the browser, the front pages include two unidentifiable image files, one in the top left-hand corner and the other in a footnote. Information associated with the images is not conveyed to screen reader users. (WCAG 1.1.1 Non-text Content)
- Notification of approved assessment is hidden from screen readers.
When thesis examiners store and confirm their assessments in E-thesis using a screen reader, the notification of a successful submission is displayed above the h1-level heading. This makes screen readers ignore the notification. (WCAG 1.3.1 Info and Relationships, 1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence, 1.4.11 Non-text Contrast)
- Notification of approved assessments is disrupted when using the TalkBack screen reader on Android.
When examiners approve their assessments using TalkBack on Android, a warning message concerning the approval is displayed. TalkBack reads the heading of the message, after which the focus moves to the browser bar, with the screen reader reading the message as a whole only after that. (WCAG 1.3.1 Info and Relationships)
- Pagination element buttons are unnamed.
Button functions remain unclear when using a screen reader. Experienced computer users are able to determine their function, but the elements should be named more clearly for the sake of users using assistive technologies. (WCAG 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks)
- Assistive technologies have not been taken into consideration in the labelling of information required in the submission forms.
The input fields of the submission forms lack semantic information on the fields’ compulsory nature or form requirements. Therefore, information on the compulsory nature of certain information is not conveyed to users using assistive software. (WCAG 3.3.2 Labels or Instructions)
- Certain content is expressed in hybrid language.
For users using screen readers, various options are expressed in hybrid language, for example, ‘Valitse choose tai export’. (WCAG 3.1.2 Language of Parts, 3.2.4 Consistent Identification)
- The description of stages displayed at the top of the thesis submission form [LV1] is unclear.
Submission forms that contain several pages are used to store theses in the E-thesis system, with a description of the process stages displayed at the top of the forms. These stages also serve as buttons. By clicking one of the buttons, the active page is refreshed, which confuses the user, as they are no longer certain of the current stage of the process. (WCAG 3.2.3 Consistent Navigation)
- Relevant information is missing from buttons (only in macOS and Chrome).
When storing theses using a screen reader, with macOS as the operating system and Chrome as the browser, buttons in the submission forms lack semantic information. For example, the ‘Add’ button does not tell what should be added. (WCAG 4.1.2 Name, Role, Value)
- PDF file names associated with theses are not displayed.
When browsing theses stored in the E-thesis repository, screen readers do not read PDF file names. The file is displayed in a summary at the bottom of the record page, but users cannot be sure the file has been successfully downloaded. (WCAG 4.1.2 Name, Role, Value)
Support for using the service
We are committed to improving the accessibility of digital services. Critical and easily implementable accessibility improvements will be made in late 2020.
We offer support to users for whom the digital service is not accessible
Users for whom the system or the files it contains is not accessible can request support from the service address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information on accessibility
- Accessibility guidelines for members of the University of Helsinki community (Helsinki.fi)
- Accessibility of the University’s digital services (on Flamma, requires login)
- Website on accessibility requirements (in Finnish and Swedish)
- Act on the Provision of Digital Services (in Finnish and Swedish; English translation coming to https://www.finlex.fi/en/laki/kaannokset/2019/en20190306)
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1