Feeds

UK's top web retailers failing the disabled

Accessibility report slaps wrist of online shops

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.