No Accessibility Benefit To Google Analytics Asynchronous Tracking

For years, I have used the Google Analytics JavaScript snippet to track Web page usage.  The problem for Web sites is they do not track visits by assistive technology (AT) users who, for accessibility reasons, have JavaScript turned off in their Web browsers.  The problem for AT users, particularly screen-reader users, who keep JavaScript enabled, is they are warned a JavaScript element is present, but it serves no practical value for them.

On December 1 of this year, Google introduced asynchronous tracking for its Analytics program.   It’s purpose is to speed the loading of pages.  What interested me was that it required the JavaScript snippet to be moved from the body of the page to its header.  I speculated that if it were located in the header, screen-reader users would not receive a warning about it.  I implemented the move, and found I was wrong.

In this WAVE accessibility evaluation report of the Clear Helper home page, the little yellow icon at the top, center, clearly shows a JavaScript warning.  Ultimately, this is not a problem for experienced AT/screen-reader users because they encounter such JavaScript all the time and know to ignore it.  For people with cognitive disabilities and others who do not use AT, it poses no problem at all.

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