This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Time for a Response: Responsive Design, Accessibility, and University Websites




Estes, Matthew

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




The purpose of this research is to investigate the connection between responsive web design, web accessibility, and university websites. The study examined 100 of the top university websites, based on U.S. News and World Report Rankings, investigating how well each one of them used suggested responsive web design principles, as well as how well each one observed WCAG 2.0 and Section 508 Accessibility standards. Scores based on a 20-point codebook were gathered regarding responsive web design scores, and the researcher used ATRC AChecker to investigate accessibility compliance. The goal was to find out if the top universities are adopting responsive web design and accessibility standards, as per the Diffusion of Innovations Theory. The study found no connection between responsive web design and tuition costs, total enrollment, acceptance rate, or geographic area. However, it did find a correlation between total enrollment and accessibility standards. The conclusion is that top universities are early adopters of responsive web design, and the smaller universities will likely follow the pattern given enough time.