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Saturday, September 21 • 11:43am - 12:15pm
Does Accessible Design Benefit General Users of E-Government? Examining the Relationship between Website Usability and Accessibility

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Although the rapid development of e-government has greatly facilitated the access to critical information and public services, it also creates a significant challenge for government to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities that often impede their access to information and services online (Sachdeva et al. 2015; Duplaga, 2017). In the United States, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that federal government agencies provide online services accessible to people with disabilities, and strongly recommends such initiatives for government at all levels (Youngblood, 2014). However, many studies which examine the accessibility of government websites suggest that severe accessibility issues still plague the e-government portals of governments at various levels (Potter, 2002; West, 2008; Youngblood & Mackiewicz, 2012).
Several studies have explored why the government is slow in implementing the accessible design for e-government portals (Berry, 1994; Velleman, Nahuis & van der Geest, 2017). However, a critical issue is often overlooked: only 30% to 57% of the population with disabilities are in fact Internet users (Rubaii-Barrett &Wise, 2008; Pew Research Center, 2017).
Given that 12.7% of Americans have some form of disability (Centers of Decease Control, 2015), it can be estimated that Internet users with disabilities constitute only 6% - 11% of the online population. Since many disabled individuals are not even Internet users, it is questionable whether the government would have enough motivation to invest in accessible design of the online portals. Therefore, although improving the design of e-government portals for the benefit of people with disabilities should remain an ultimate goal to achieve, it would be necessary to provide the government with more incentives to invest in website accessibility.
By analyzing the relationship between the accessibility of websites and the evaluation given by users without disabilities, this study seeks to investigate whether e-government portals with higher accessibility also improve the online experience for general users without disabilities. The finding of the study offers a different perspective from which to view the issue of website accessibility and provides a potential incentive for government to invest more in the accessible design of e-government portals.
The paper is structured as follows. In the next section, existing studies about web accessibility, usability and the relationship between the two concepts are reviewed. The third section introduces the data and the analytical method employed in the study, followed by the results of the empirical analysis. The main findings and conclusion are summarized in the last section with the discussion of the implications of the study.


Jennifer Manner

EchoStar Corporation


Bumgi Min

The Pennsylvania Stae University

Yang Bai

The Pennsylvania State University

Jenna Grzeslo

State University of New York New Platz

Krishna Jayakar

Penn State University

Yang Wang

The State University of Pennsylvania

Saturday September 21, 2019 11:43am - 12:15pm PDT
NT07 WCL, 4300 Nebraska Ave, Washington, DC