Commitment to Accessibility

Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)®

A Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)® reports on the accessibility of a digital product or technology. Our most recent VPAT can be found below.

  • VPAT Version 3, October 2021 (docx file) (pdf file) – What has changed: Following a redesign of the HathiTrust book viewer, we conducted another round of accessibility testing. The redesign addressed several accessibility problems, including keyboard scrolling and contrast issues.
  • VPAT Version 2, January 2020 (docx file) (pdf file) – What has changed: At the end of 2019, we fixed the following problems:
    • Reflow (the page changing to accommodate higher levels of zoom so the user doesn’t have to scroll horizontally across the page) is only supported in text-only view, not any other pages. Reflow is a feature that is helpful to users with low vision to be able to zoom in on a page and not have their browsing interrupted by having to scroll horizontally as well as vertically (this can also be particularly difficult for users with low vision who also have a motor impairment). (WCAG 2.1, Level AA criteria 1.4.10 Reflow)
    • Most errors and alerts are read to screen readers but there are a few that aren’t: in PageTurner and search results, “you must select a collection” and “item added” alerts. ((WCAG 2.1, Level AA criteria 4.1.3 Status Messages)
  • VPAT Version 1, 08/2019 (docx file) (pdf file)

Following is a list of the exceptions that are noted in the VPAT.

Partially supported:

  • Contrast issue: most of the site has sufficient color contrast for users with low vision but there is one exception. Suggested text in text input fields is faint gray text on a white background.
  • Error identification and suggestion issues – several issues with errors not being properly identified or not having clear suggestions for correction (mostly around special characters used in searches).
  • Font type can be modified with browser extensions on most of the site, except for text in dropdown form fields.
  • The About dropdown menu links cannot be accessed by screen readers.
  • Tooltips are not dismissable without moving the cursor or keyboard focus.

Not supported:

  • Language HTML tagging when parts of the page (e.g. book text, metadata info) are in a language different from the site default (English) is not supported. This means that screen reader users wouldn’t be able to read books and info in non-English languages unless they manually change the language in their screen reader settings.

Accessibility Review Process

We reviewed the accessibility of the HathiTrust Digital Library using the following methods.

  • Checked the website against the main website accessibility guidelines, notably:
  • Conducted manual keyboard checks to make sure all features are accessible using only a keyboard without a mouse.
  • Tested color contrast with the ColorZilla Chrome extension and the WebAIM Color Contrast Checker.
  • Tested the site’s compatibility with NVDA (in Firefox) and VoiceOver (in Safari) screen readers.
  • Tested various operating system and browser settings to ensure that the site preserved user determined settings (color contrast, overall zoom, text zoom, font type, text spacing).
  • Tested downloadable PDFs with NVDA and VoiceOver.
  • Evaluated the consistency of navigation and layout of analogous pages.
  • Evaluated the accuracy and understandability of error identification and suggestions for correction.

ARIA markup

We’ve marked up the digital library following the Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) protocol. Using this standard helps screen readers and other assistive technology better understand different features and functions of our site and gives users the ability to navigate dynamic content much more effectively.