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BizReport : Internet : July 07, 2016

Top UK travel websites fall short catering for disabled users

Britain's major travel firms have gone some way to ensuring their websites are accessible to users with disabilities, but there is still room for improvement, according to a new study from digital agency, Sigma.

by Helen Leggatt

With more than 10 million people in the UK living with a disability, travel companies need to consider and design for these users. However, Sigma's report, the result of independent, heuristic testing of the UK's top 10 travel sites, reveals that many travel companies failed when it came to inclusivity and accessibility for disabled users.

The sites analyzed, which included British Airways, AirBnb, Skyscanner, LateRooms,, OnTheBeach, Co-operative Travel, Expedia, Virgin Atlantic, and, scored an average 23 out of a possible 35. Skyscanner came out on top with 28, while Co-operative Travel came bottom, scoring 17. Scoring was based things such as how easy the sites were to use across several devices, accessibility and experience among those with visual, physical and cognitive disabilities and overall usability.

Many of the travel sites failed due to being too cluttered and having inconsistent interfaces and a third had the ability to zoom in and out blocked for iPad users. Four out of five sites did not use alt text on images making it difficult for visually impaired users to discern was was contained in the images. Only two of the 10 sites were screen-reader friendly and four out of 10 had inadequate color contrast.

"The findings of our research demonstrate that travel companies are indeed adopting good web usability practices in the main," says Hilary Stephenson, managing director at Sigma. "They also clearly recognize the importance of being easy to use across different devices - including mobile and tablet PC - with many having responsive and adaptive websites, and invested in mobile apps."

Sigma's report can be downloaded, free of charge, here.

Tags: disability, research, travel booking, UK, website design

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