Feeds

UK's top web retailers failing the disabled

Accessibility report slaps wrist of online shops

High performance access to file storage

The UK's top 30 shopping websites exclude disabled users, new research has found.

Usability agency Nomensa tested the retail websites and found that none fulfilled the most basic accessibility guidelines.

Websites from retailers including Ryanair, British Airways, Currys, Apple Computer, and Amazon.co.uk all failed the test. Though John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and Tesco also failed, they were commended by Nomensa for showing particular consideration of accessibility.

"These research findings show that anyone with serious physical impairments, the visually impaired or even just people wearing glasses to read would encounter difficulties and in many cases would give up trying," said Simon Norris, managing director of Nomensa.

"There are over 10m disabled people in the UK and I believe that each one of those has a right to be able to buy a Christmas present online for a friend or loved one this year."

One of the cornerstones of accessibility is the provision of text descriptions for all images so that those using site-reading software know what is in a picture. Only two of the top 30 sites, those of Apple and John Lewis, provided that text for all images.

"With the online retail market apparently so flush with success, it is hard to believe that every single online retailer evaluated during this research is actively throwing money away," said the report. "There is only one conclusion that can be drawn from the results of this report. Almost without exception, online retailers are not taking web accessibility, customer experience or profitability seriously."

Nomensa has calculated that if the same proportion of disabled people shopped online as the general population, then £376m could be spent over this Christmas period by disabled online shoppers.

The company tested the home page and the terms and conditions page of each of the sites using some automated and some manual tests. They tested the sites against the industry standard Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 1.0.

Those guidelines rate pages as single, double or triple A rated for accessibility, or as failed. Only three pages tested received a single A rating, and all the others failed. There was no site where both tested pages received an A rating.

"Many of the corporations audited invest millions each year in their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes," said Norris. "I am calling on the boardrooms of these retailers to really start to take their online responsibility just as seriously."

To request the report, email info@nomensa.com or you can visit the website here

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Ex–Apple CEO John Sculley: Ousting Steve Jobs 'was a mistake'
Twenty-nine years later, post-Pepsi exec has flat-forehead moment
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.