Feeds

UN reports on dismal state of web accessibility

97% of websites fall short of guidelines

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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.