27 Sep 2006

Key Findings in Accessibility Law Infringements

27 Sep 2006

An accessibility study conducted last month (via UK’s Webuser magazine) reveals that “not one of the UK’s top 30 retail websites meets the minimum requirements for website accessibility.” These retailers include the likes of Amazon, Dell, Expedia, Apple, PC World and British Airways. See the full list.

Some of the findings include:

  • 23 websites had search forms, navigational links or advertising banners that failed to work without Javascript;
  • Just two sites, Apple Computer and John Lewis, of the 30 tested, provided appropriate text descriptions for all images which helps people who are blind or partially sighted understand the purpose of visual content;
  • 29 websites did not use shortcut links to help people with serious physical impairments navigate through a page.

This finding follows a recent ruling on a lawsuit against Target.com, which has woken up American e-commerce sites. Perhaps we are beginning to take heed on a global scale. These findings, though seemingly discouraging, should provide renewed hope for the disabled community in that the matter is finally getting the attention that it deserves. This new revelation should provide some impetus for change toward greater equality on the web.

For more details on UK’s accessibility laws, visit the Disability Rights Commission website.

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  1. P.J. Onori September 27th, 2006 10:17AM

    Wow, that’s astonishing. I’m amazed that so many e-commerce sites, especically Amazon, are so behind in this subject. This is a whole segment of the population that first and foremost have the right to use those websites, but secondly, are willing to give those businesses money. How much are they losing out in not making these changes. Also, how much will they literally lose if a class-action lawsuit is brought against them?

  2. Leah October 8th, 2006 9:59PM

    I can’t think of a better way to say “We don’t appreciate your business”. I don’t think awareness is the issue, but rather the bottom line. Good read.

  3. Kimmy October 9th, 2006 9:32AM

    Very good comments. I agree with you, Leah that this could very likely be a case of saving money during development. It seems that in general people are willing to disregard these factors because governments and organizations turn a blind eye on this discrimination.

    It would not surprise me if these companies actually did risk assessments to calculate how much they would lose in a potential lawsuit with the liklihood of that happening compared to the cost in extra development and late releases. This would get back to PJ’s point, and it may very well be that they know how to answer that question.

    I would like to believe that these ocurrences are merely oversights or ignorance, but with such a high rate of this happening, it seems very unlikely.

  4. Leah October 9th, 2006 9:10PM

    Kimmy: I have to say it, are you trying to make a pun? 🙂 Seriously, though, good comment and I can’t agree with you more.

  5. Leah October 9th, 2006 9:15PM

    Sorry – pun meaning “governments and organizations turn a blind eye on this discrimination”.

  6. Kimmy October 11th, 2006 12:37AM

    Good point… I admit to being clever without claiming the intention 🙂

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