Study: Top 30 Business Websites Exclude Millions
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 21, 2006
BRISTOL, ENGLAND--Imagine owning one of the largest retail businesses in your country.
Now imagine telling millions of shoppers that they -- and their money -- are not welcome at your stores because you failed to make the shopping experience accessible to them.
That's what business consultant firm Nomensa says all of the United Kingdom's top 30 retailers have essentially done.
In a report released Thursday, Nomensa said that it reviewed those websites for accessibility and found that none met even the most basic standards to help Internet users with disabilities navigate webpages or buy on-line.
The primary problems included pop-up windows that interfered with the browsing experience; pictures and graphics that were missing "alt" tags, which are words describing the image that can be read out loud by computer screen-readers; and text on the screen that proved difficult for many people to read.
Nomensa said the problems keep the 10 million people with disabilities in the UK from shopping on-line like everyone else. More than that, having inaccessible websites is socially irresponsible in today's market.
"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," said Nomensa managing director Simon Norris in a press release.
"Many of the corporations audited invest millions each year in their Corporate Social Responsibility programs. Today I am calling on the boardrooms of these retailers to really start to take their online responsibility just as seriously," Norris added.