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Accessibility Report for World Book Online

    Creator: National Network for Equitable Library Service

    Date Updated: March 29, 2024


    The World Book Online provides K to 12 students with educational resources like dictionaries, games, and encyclopedias. All of these resources are available for free through most public library cards. This summary is for accessibility professionals who are already familiar with advanced terminology.

    The information on this page is summarized from the Accessibility Report for World Book Online.

    Quick Facts

    Although World Book Online could be useful for those with print disabilities, the resource has significant accessibility barriers that stop screen reader users and those using magnification from enjoying the content. We will discuss some big accessibility barriers for those with print disabilities.

    • Better contrast needs to be maintained throughout the pages, especially in headers and footers. This makes content hard to read or sometimes even hard to find for those with low vision.
    • Inconsistent heading structure on most pages confuses screen reader users.
      • It is common for websites to use a heading level consistent with visual size characteristics instead of the semantically correct headings one through six.
    • Video content has substantial problems with navigation. Including but not limited to:
      • Incorrectly/unlabelled buttons for video playback options.
      • There is no audio description for video content.
    • No games are accessible.
      • Images are used to represent text.
      • There is no keyboard navigation.
      • Artistic fonts used for the quitting menu make it hard to read.
    • The kids’ area has extremely poor accessibility.
      • There are no landmarks for search, navigation, or main content.
      • There are no headings.
      • Image content is described twice within the image’s alt-text.
      • Lots of “clickable” items, which are styles like links and open new pages, do not use the link (`<a>`) tag.
    • Timelines are actually good?
      • There is a mode to view a timeline in table format. This view is highly usable for screen readers!
      • It is not the default way to view the timeline content, and the default is not accessible.
      • The default view uses images of text with alt-text labels. In addition, since the text is not any kind of landmark, there is no easy way to jump between items for a screen reader user.

    We conclude that the website developers must do a lot of work to make the World Book content accessible. With various issues on all pages, this will require much work and effort to bring it up to WCAG 2.2 standards.

    Visit to read the entire World Book Online report.


    Centre for Equitable Library Access. (2024). What is a print disability?.  

    National Network for Equitable Library Service. (2022, May). Accessibility Report for World Book Online.

    Schfr, J. (2023, November 15). Accessibility testing with Chrome DevTools. DEV Community.

    The A11Y project. (2022, July 17). Use Firefox for accessibility testing. The A11Y Project.

    W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). (2024, March 7). WCAG 2 Overview. Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).