New analysis from web hosting providers LCN identified clothing retailer H&M’s homepage as the most accessible UK website for the visually impaired.
H&M’s homepage received a score of 100 on Google Lighthouse when being marked for website accessibility, and is the only retain website that caters for all types of visual impairments, according to LCN.
At the bottom of the scoring board, motoring retailer Halfords’ homepage scored 49 overall, despite other retail websites posting worse scores across specific impairment categories.
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Other than H&M, Laura Ashley, Beauty Bay and B&Q were at the top of the score board. The least accessible websites other than Halfords were Carphone Warehouse, Wilko and New Look.
The report noted that over two million people in the UK suffer from vision loss – with an additional three million people suffering from colour blindness, resulting in a large number of the UK population that struggle with certain online tasks.
Each homepage studied was also assessed for which type of impairment they may be neglecting. The report found that most of Halfords’ homepage issues were related to accessibility problems for screen readers and colour-blind users.
Over half of Brits claim a slow webpage is the key reason for abandoning an online purchase and just under half refuse to revisit a website following a bad experience, making it double difficult for sluggish e-commerce sites to win their audience back, according to Fasthosts data.
Phil Dunsford, Front-End Web Developer at LCN, commented: “Moving forward, accessibility for disabled users should be at the forefront of any web designers’ goals. Beyond the obvious moral responsibility and emphasis on equality, it is in a retail business’ best interests to make their site accessible to all.
“Five million people in the UK have some sort of visual impairment that impacts their ability to use and buy products on the web. This is a significant customer base to be neglecting. Especially as many of these changes can be made quickly and easily by developers.”
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are designed to help websites meet accessibility standards for colour blind users. These state web pages should strive for a contrast ratio of 4:5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text to pass level AA.
This comes shortly after a similar report by Fasthosts uncovered that a slow performing website could set retailers back by a reported £59.6bn each year in lost sales.
With 60% of Brits claiming to have upped their shopping habits since the outbreak of COVID-19, Fasthosts says that website accessibility should be "top priority" for retailers.
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