Feeds

UN reports on dismal state of web accessibility

97% of websites fall short of guidelines

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Ninety-seven per cent of websites fail to achieve a minimum level of accessibility, according to the first ever global web accessibility survey. A new UN convention aims to change that.

UK-based web accessibility agency Nomensa released its report today based on research commissioned by the United Nations.

Using a combination of manual and automated testing against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Nomensa examined the leading website in five different sectors in 20 countries, including its Head of State and leading airline, bank, newspaper and retailer. In all, the survey tested 100 websites.

Only the websites of the German Chancellor, the Spanish Government and the British Prime Minister met WCAG Level A, the minimum recognised level. No site met Level AA or higher.

"Performance across the different sectors was varied, with central government, retail and banking offering the strongest accessibility performances across all countries," said Simon Norris, managing director of Nomensa. "While only three websites made it onto the first rung of the accessibility ladder, many websites were in grasping distance of achieving minimum levels of accessibility."

Sites from Australia, Brazil, China, India, Russia, South Africa and the United States were among the others examined.

Sunday was the UN International Day of Disabled Persons, this year dubbed E-Accessibility Day. Secretary General Kofi Annan said the day "reminds us of the need to make the internet available to everyone".

"Slowly, governments and the private sector have been recognising the economic and social benefits of making websites fully accessible, and have been putting place changes involving software and hardware alike," he said in a statement.

"The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is expected to be approved by the General Assembly later this month, can give additional impetus to this trend."

The Convention specifies that measures should be introduced to eliminate obstacles and barriers to information and communications, and to promote access for persons with disabilities to information and communications technologies, including the internet.

States that choose to become party to the Convention will commit themselves to taking steps to provide "information intended for the general public to persons with disabilities in accessible formats and technologies appropriate to different kinds of disabilities in a timely manner and without additional cost." The Convention urges private businesses and mass media to do the same with their services.

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

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

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.