Nomensa FTSE 100 Accessibility Report

This is supposed to be a news page, but sometimes things slip under the radar that still deserve reporting a little late. This is one such item. Léonie Watson from Nomensa contacted me back in January to let me know about Nomensa’s report on the accessibility and usability of the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) top 100 companies, and it’s been languishing in my inbox since then. So, I’ll make the necessary apologies and leet Léonie continue at this point.

UK-based user centred design company Nomensa have released a review of web sites belonging to the top 100 companies on the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE).

The report utilised a broad spectrum of testing criteria, which aimed to cover aspects of both accessibility and usability.

Categories under evaluation included technical elements:- the presence of alternate text for images, the scalability of the site structure and text, the validity of code and conformance against the Web Content Accessibility guidelines.

Usability was also represented in the form of categories including:- the appropriateness of alternate text, the context independency of link text, the accuracy and uniqueness of page titles and the presence of access keys.

Report author L´┐Żonie Watson says:

“We felt that it was important to step outside the boundaries of the WAI guidelines and assess aspects of web design that affect the user in the real world, as well as investigating the more impersonal elements of a site’s design.”

The report demonstrates the disappointing fact that an overwhelming majority of sites tested lack a basic understanding of accessibility or usability.

  • 79% did not implement alternate text on all images.
  • 23% permitted font resizing.
  • 89% failed to achieve Level A compliance.
  • 46% used clear context independent link text.
  • 1% included access keys.

With a possible score of 15 available, the average mark achieved was only 3.8. Top marks of 9 were recorded, but some context is provided with the knowledge that this only equates the average score attained by the UK top 100 universities in a similar study conducted by Nomensa last year. Watson says:

“Businesses are not only failing to publically demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR), they are also dismissing the simple economic truth - the more people that can use your services, the more revenue you will generate.”

Nomensa founder Simon Norris agrees, saying:

“Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is more prevalent than ever, organisations need to realise that how effectively they communicate with people online must be a corner stone of their CSR strategy.”

The report provides an overview of the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act and indicates the steps required to make compliant technology that is both usable and accessible.

Believing that knowledge and understanding are key components in the promotion of human centred design concepts, Nomensa have broken down each category evaluated and explained why it is so important and how it affects different people.

Watson firmly believes that the future looks promising:

“We are already aware of certain companies who have launched new web sites in the last few months and we’re interested in gaugeing how marked the trend toward universal design is becoming.”

It is possible to request The Nomensa FTSE 100 Accessibility Report from the Nomensa web site.

Filed under: Accessibility
Posted by Ian on Thursday, March 25, 2004

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