Retail websites 'inaccessible' for disabled users

21-09-2006

All of the 30 most popular retail websites in Britain are failing to provide the bare minimum in accessibility requirements as stipulated by law, a new report says.

Internet user experience firm Nomensa claims that of the 30 websites it evaluated, the only retailers to emerge with credit in terms of providing an accessible service to disabled online shoppers were John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and Tesco.

Of the websites assessed, none of the homepages achieved the single-A compliance required by the government's Online Social Responsibility policies, while only three terms and conditions pages were up to the grade.

Simon Norris, managing director at Nomensa, explained that retailers risked missing out on up to £376 million worth of sales by excluding people with disabilities or those who are visually impaired.

"There are over ten 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," he said.

Mr Norris added: "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."

Today's research also revealed that all but five of the websites taken into consideration made extensive use of pop-up windows, despite concerns these created navigation problems for disabled users.


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