Retail websites lack accessibility

UK retailers aren't meeting basic web accessibility criteria, according to online usability expert Nomensa.

A study of the top 30 British retailers discovered that not one of them is up to scratch when it comes to achieving the minimum legal requirement in this respect, Single-A compliance.

The research tested sites against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 1.0. It found that nearly all of the sites (29) had graphical text that would prove troublesome for people with vision problems, such as glasses wearers.

Apple Computer

John Lewis

Marks and Spencer and Tesco were also given notable mentions for their efforts to make their sites more accessibility. But there is still more work to be done.

To redress the balance, Nomensa is demanding that boardroom executives adopt online social responsibility (OSR) policies.

"Many of the corporations audited invest millions each year in their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes," added Norris.

"Today I am calling on the boardrooms of these retailers to really start to take their online responsibility just as seriously."

As well as excluding people with disabilities by not meeting these basic requirements, the organisations concerned could be losing out financially to the tune of 376 million this Christmas.

"There are over 10 million 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," said Simon Norris, managing director at Nomensa.

"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."

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.