Sites of top 30 retailers’ fail disabled users

Retailers are being urged to step up efforts to make their websites more accessible for disabled people.

It follows research commissioned by digital online agency Nomensa that shows none of the UK’s top 30 retail websites’homepages meet minimum legal requirements.

Nomensa managing director Simon Norris says the retailers risk excluding many of the 10 million registered disabled in the UK, and could lose a combined £376m in revenue over Christmas.

He says companies spend many millions of pounds investing in corporate social responsibility but fail to take their online responsibility as seriously.

Norris says: "These research findings show that anyone with serious physical impairments, the blind or even just people wearing glasses to read would encounter difficulties – and in many cases would give up trying."

The homepages and terms and conditions pages of each retail site were measured and evaluated, using a combination of manual and automated testing against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, a global benchmark.

However, he says John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Tesco were showing "particular" consideration to accessibility.

A spokesman says: "Taking steps towards OSR [Online Social Responsibility] shouldn’t be seen as an add-on or a financial drain for an organisation. The commercial benefits of web accessibility are considerable and far outweigh the costs of implementing an accessible website."

Nomensa specialises in improving online user experience and works with public and private sector clients to develop online strategies.

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