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B&Q and John Lewis lead high street retailers in website accessibility

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B&Q and John Lewis offer their customers the best levels of website accessibility out of the top UK high street retailers, according to the 2010 Ecommerce Accessibility Report from user experience consultancy Webcredible.

B&Q replaced John Lewis at the top of the study of 20 leading retailer websites with a score of 84%, moving from joint sixth to first place with a rise of 16% from last year. Despite slipping from first to second place, John Lewis still improved its score by 5% to 79%.

Marks & Spencer, however, languishes in 12th place for accessibility despite topping the table in usability.

Currys again propped up the table achieving a score of only 37%, just as in last year’s report, says Webcredible. In addition, Woolworths only managed to score 38% to finish in 19th place, despite now having become an online-only retailer.

Overall, the average accessibility score for the twenty retailers has fallen this year compared to last year, from 61.6% in 2009 to 60.2% this year.

“This drop can be attributed to the bottom end, with four retailers now scoring under 50 for accessibility, as opposed to just one in last year’s report,” says Webcredible. “In addition, it’s clear that sloppiness and inconsistency is still inherent when it comes to the implementation of web accessibility.”

The top score of 84% is 10% higher than last year, however, and there are now seven retailers scoring over 65%. Accessibility improvements were most obvious in the case of B&Q, but other big improvements were seen with H Samuel climbing from eighth place to third, improving its score from 65 to 75, and Next which climbed from 18th to 11th with an improvement of 9% to 60.

“Despite increasing awareness over the past couple of years of the need for accessible websites, it still seems that accessibility is not considered as much as usability in site build and developments,” says Webcredible’s Trenton Moss. “It’s clear that a lot of work has taken place on existing and redesigned sites to improve usability, but it seems in all this work many retailers have failed to take accessibility seriously enough.”

Readers can download a full copy of the report from Webcredible’s website.

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