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Disabled users struggle to access FTSE 100 sites

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Nine in ten of the UK's top companies are failing to make their Web sites accessible to people with disabilities.

A study by Web accessibility consultancy Nomensa found that many FTSE 100 companies simply fail to consider matters of accessibility when creating their corporate Web sites.

It found that almost 90 per cent of sites failed basic levels of accessibility making it difficult - or even impossible - for some people to access information on these sites.

A Web site is deemed "accessible" if anyone can use it regardless of their abilities or the technology they use.

For instance, the most common type of technology for visually impaired users is a software application called a screen reader, which works with the person’s operating system and applications, such as a browser, to convert what is displayed on the screen into synthesised speech or refreshable Braille.

However, according to the report many people with disabilities are unable to access much of what is on the Web because sites aren't up to scratch.

Said Accessibility of FTSE 100 Company Web Sites: "The report strongly suggests that accessibility and usability are not considered during the formulation of web strategy for many companies. With nearly 90% of sites failing basic levels of accessibility when checked against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, significant proportions of users are likely to find it difficult, even impossible, to access information.

"Aside from the cognisant few, the vast majority of FTSE 100 company's web sites evaluated faired poorly in this review."

It hasn't been a great couple of weeks for the UK's top companies. Earlier this month another report into FTSE 100 home pages found that a third of sites "still do not get it", with companies showing "little ambition to get it right". ®

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