Feeds

UN reports on dismal state of web accessibility

97% of websites fall short of guidelines

Application security programs and practises

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.

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.