Ryanair comes bottom in report looking at how accessible the UK’s top ten travel companies are online.

The report by user experience design agency, Nomensa, identifies Ryanair as the worst travel company for providing their customers online with an accessible experience.

Across the board, the top ten travel websites in the UK are falling short on accessibility. First Choice and Travelodge were rated the best of a bad bunch and even then failed to achieve even the basic level of web accessibility.

Nomensa’s report looks at the UK’s top ten travel company websites, including; First Choice, Travelodge, lastminute.com, Easyjet, Thomson, Travel Republic, British Airways, Expedia, Thomas Cook and Ryanair.

The 27 page report audited all websites against the WCAG 2.0 Level AA criteria, however none of the travel websites achieved the basic Level A. So what does this mean? Each of the websites included in the report are leaving themselves dangerously open to legal proceedings against the Equality Act 2010.

Nomensa want to encourage these travel companies to prioritise online accessibility just as they do offline. Would we be so blazé over these companies not providing disabled access to their aeroplanes or accommodation?

Léonie Watson, Director of Accessibiltiy & Web Development at Nomensa comments:

“There are over 10 million disabled people in the UK, and I believe that each one of those has a right to be able to book a holiday or flight online. Our recent research findings show that anyone with serious physical impairments or the visually impaired would encounter difficulties and in many cases would give up trying.”

Nomensa measured the sites against a series of manual and automated testing criteria, measuring issues such as scalable layout, accessible site structure and compatibility with assistive technologies.

Nomensa audited two pages from each website; the homepage and a help page. The homepage was chosen to represent a fast moving area of the website where content changes on a regular basis. It is also often the front door or first step to the e-commerce aspect of the website. A customer support or help page was also selected to represent pages people may visit to find essential information about booking a holiday. Both pages were evaluated to Level AA during May 2011.

Additional information:
Five steps towards improving accessibility
Taking steps towards 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; they far outweigh the costs of implementing an accessible website. Aside from the obvious revenue opportunities for a travel operator opening their doors to a potential 10 million travellers, an accessible website is also more search engine friendly and more cost effective to run and maintain.

Nomensa recommends that travel companies:

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 in a manageable and achievable programme

4. Achieve the goals set and ensure that accessibility is high on the corporate agenda

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

For further information, please contact:
Caroline Risk, Head of Marketing, Nomensa
Tel: 0117 929 7333
Email: crisk@nomensa.com
Web: www.nomensa.com
Twitter: @we_are_nomensa

Published on: 10:47AM on 21st June 2011