The UK’s top online retailers face losing huge revenue by not effectively supporting the 11 million disabled people in the UK.The UK’s top online retailers face losing huge revenue by not effectively supporting the 11 million disabled people in the UK.

Research conducted by digital accessibility experts Nomensa, has shown that none of the top ten retailers in the UK offer their customers a fully accessible experience, and that many are failing their disabled customers completely.
The report assessed each retailer's website against the internationally recognised Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. Shockingly none of the websites met even the lowest level of accessibility, effectively closing its online doors to an additional 17% of the marketplace.

In failing to release their accessibility potential, these high profile brands are missing out on millions in potential revenue and may also be leaving themselves open to legal action. If a person in the UK finds that a website is inaccessible to them, they may have a good case to make under the Equality Act 2010.

Tesco Direct, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis may have performed well compared with Amazon UK, Play.com and Easyjet, but all ten websites featured in Nomensa's report are a long way from maximising their accessibility potential and offering their disabled customers an enjoyable online experience.
The full list of online retailers included in the research were:

• Amazon UK (www.amazon.co.uk)
• Argos (www.argos.co.uk)
• Play (www.play.com)
• Next (www.next.co.uk)
• Marks & Spencers (www.marksandspencer.com)
• Apple (www.apple.com)
• John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com)
• Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.co.uk)
• EasyJet (www.easyjet.com)
• Tesco Direct (www.direct.tesco.com)

Léonie Watson, Director of Accessibility at Nomensa comments:

“With over 11 million people in the UK with disabilities, these online retailers need to build accessibility into their digital strategies to better support them.
They are currently missing out on revenue through not supporting these users online and are not meeting their Corporate Social Responsibilities by allowing these users access to information and services on their sites. It's basic business logic really - more accessibility, more people, more potential revenue.”

The steps to improve accessibility

The report covers some of the key areas the websites fared badly in and provides best practise advice on how these issues can be resolved. By following this advice, Nomensa suggest that organisations will be on their way to providing a more inclusive web experience.
The commercial benefits of an accessible website are considerable and they far out weigh the costs involved in implementing an accessible website. By writing accessibility into their digital strategies, online retailers are opening their doors to a potential 11 million shoppers.

Nomensa recommends that retailers:

1. Find out what current level of accessibility they currently achieve;

2. Decide what their accessibility goals are in the short, medium and long term;

3. Plan a strategy to meet those goals;

4. Achieve the goals set ensuring that accessibility is high on the corporate agenda;

5. Maintain the achievement; implement a process to ensure accessibility is sustained.

The full report is available as a free download on Nomensa's website: http://bit.ly/goappc

Published on: 2:44PM on 19th January 2011