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BizReport : Research archives : February 28, 2008

U.K. travel websites fail disabled users

A large proportion of online users in the U.K. aren’t being catered for by travel websites, according to new research commissioned by Travolution magazine.

by Helen Leggatt

travolution%20logo.jpgOver 10 million people in the U.K. have varying degrees of disability that make using the Internet difficult. New research by accessibility experts Fortune Cookie, commissioned by travel magazine Travolution, found that many of the U.K.’s top travel firms have not optimized their websites for disabled users, despite laws in place (1995 Disability Discrimination Act) that require disabled people receive the same level of service that other customers expect.

All of the eight popular British travel websites included in Travolution’s research failed to meet basic accessibility criteria, meaning all would be difficult for a disabled person to use.

Usability issues included poor color contrast making text illegible to those with visual impairment, lack of alternative text descriptions for images, inability to navigate site without mouse and reliance on JavaScript for navigation.

Fortune Cookie’s Rune Leth Andersen suggests that online businesses test their website for accessibility by using an automated accessibility checking tool. “But beware,” she added, “automated tools detect only some accessibility problems and can produce false positives. Another approach is to commission a web accessibility expert to audit the site and provide recommendations. And you can undertake user testing involving disabled people.”

Tags: disabled access, online travel, user accessibility

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