Commercial websites are poorly accessible

Oct

2

2018

Commercial websites are poorly accessible for the blind and visually impaired
Commercial websites such as those of web shops or travel organizations still appear to be poorly accessible for people with a so-called disability. This concerns, for example, people with a visual impairment or hearing impaired.

Accessibility Foundation concludes that the situation has not changed since two years ago. On average, the researched websites do not meet about half the legal criteria for digital access. The foundation reports that especially blind or partially sighted consumers for this reason get stuck when making a purchase at, for example, a web store. According to the researchers, the defects are not a matter of unwillingness, but they are mainly due to a lack of awareness.

The main problems encountered are a lack of contrast between, for example, text and background, web pages that can only be operated with the mouse and not with the keyboard and the absence of text descriptions for images. Furthermore, there are problems in the form of a lack of skiplinks to navigate faster, incomprehensible link texts and information that is not always visually displayed for deaf and hard of hearing people.

The investigation shows that the eBay webshop is a positive exception. The Dutch version is very similar to the American website. This is a possible explanation for the positive score, because in the United States more stringent legislation applies in the field of digital accessibility.

Ten webshops were examined during the investigation, including those from Bol.com, Coolblue, Mediamarkt and Marktplaats. Furthermore, the websites of five energy companies and five major travel organizations were examined by experts, supplemented with 1833 websites that were automatically examined for accessibility. A survey was also conducted among people working in e-commerce and the results of the entire study were presented to users with a visual impairment. The research was carried out by Accessibility Foundation, commissioned by the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights.

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