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Major company websites are not fully usable by people with disabilities

by wrich

Research by Storyblok reveals that only 45% of some of the world’s largest businesses have ‘good’ accessibility


London, 9th November: New research by enterprise CMS company Storyblok has revealed poor accessibility levels found amongst leading business websites – potentially disenfranchising an entire segment of the population.  

According to an extensive analysisof the homepages of Fortune 500 company websites conducted by Storyblok, less than half (45%) have ‘good’ accessibility, while as little as 5% – just 27 websites – have perfect accessibility scores. Storyblok notes that the performance of Fortune 500 companies is likely to be indicative of standards throughout the private sector.

Having poor accessibility ratings means that customers with disabilities will find it difficult to access information, products or customer service provided by these companies. Storyblok assessed accessibility by analysing a range of factors including keyboard compatibility, use and adjustability of colour and font, availability of audio guides and accessible content and comparing the results to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). 

This comes as the wider inclusivity agenda continues to place greater onus on online accessibility and the importance of websites, tools and technologies that are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. As part of this, it is expected that WCAG for making a website accessible will become a legal requirement.

Dominic Angerer, Co-Founder of Storyblok, said: “Despite the huge technological leaps made in recent years, it is surprising to see how poor accessibility levels are amongst many of the world’s leading business websites.

“Over a fifth of the UK’s population has some sort of disability so by failing to make their websites and content accessible to all, businesses could be unknowingly isolating a huge potential chunk of business. 

“People increasingly rely on company websites for vital information or services. Indeed, in many cases it is the only way to get customer service. If accessibility isn’t addressed people with disabilities will increasingly miss out on the digital revolution.”

The good news according to Storyblok is that accessibility isn’t difficult to implement and relies on a greater understanding of the issues that can make a website difficult to use by certain people.

Dominic adds: “When it comes to delivering on better accessibility, there are a number of simple measures which can make a big impact.

“Of course, making your site accessible without using a mouse is a legal requirement because many assistive technologies rely on keyboard-only navigation. But businesses can take this one step further by trying to access their site and all its options with only a keyboard so they can see how they are performing in this area and where they can improve.

“It’s also worth conducting a full review of content to ensure its accessible. For example, with ‘dynamic content – which changes without the page reloading – it’s important to ensure that landmarks are added to inform assisted tools of the change, or the user may miss it.

“Equally important is checking for any issues with stark colour contrasts which may implicate those with vision impairs and ensuring alt descriptions are added to all images.

“There are lots of additional tools out there which can help too such as free accessibility website checks. Of course, by working with an enterprise-grade CMS, such as Storyblok, businesses can benefit from third-party expertise to ensure they are remaining on the pulse of an inclusive approach.

“In this emerging age of greater inclusivity, the question of enabling better website accessibility isn’t so much an ‘if’ but a ‘when’ – so it makes perfect business sense for companies to take heed and drive better accessibility sooner rather than later.

“Alongside this, brands should also focus on site speed as a slow-loading website could disqualify itself from being labelled accessible as other web experiences speed up.”

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