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Chanel, H&M lead the way in website accessibility, while Body Shop offers the best UX

Inclusive and accessible: retail websites are improving (Image: shutterstock)

Chanel and H&M lead the way when it comes to having ecommerce websites that are accessible to those with visual impairment, hearing loss and neurological or cognitive limitations, a new study has shown.

Using Google’s Chrome DevTools and Lighthouse, the Online Shopping Accessibility Index from Affise determines the user experiences of some of the world’s top online conglomerates, to discover whether the best interests of all customers are really at the heart of operations.

Utilising ‘Google Lighthouse’, a tool which takes into account factors that compromise a site’s accessibility such as unhelpful alt text, irrelevant page titles, and brands using colour to convey their messages, the report determines which brands came out on top regarding their appeal to as wide a range of web users as possible.

Luxury brand, Chanel took the top spot, with an awe-inspiring score of 100. This also takes into account six accessibility errors and 15 alerts, placing the luxury brand firmly in the lead.

Next up was H&M, also with top marks of 100. 43 overall errors showcased the company’s attention to detail when it came to online accessibility, which is instantly obvious thanks to its clean, minimalistic colour-scheme.

Trailing behind was luxury brand Gucci, with a less than desirable score of 60. What is immediately recognisable is the brand’s reliance on colour to convey their message, as the busy, garish site would no doubt make things incredibly difficult for colourblind people to read.

Anti-dandruff hair brand Head & Shoulders emerged as the most accessible hair and beauty brand on the list, with a score of 98. With zero accessibility errors on the entire site, and just 15 other problems flagged, the haircare powerhouse is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to user-friendliness.

Second on the list was Olay, also scoring 98. Impressively, the beauty brand also had zero accessibility errors on site, alongside 33 detected issues, highlighting the time and effort taken to make its online presence as convenient as possible for disabled people.

Skincare giants Dove scored a respectable 96, placing them third on the list of the most accessible beauty brands.

At the bottom of the list was Gillette, with a score of just 45, suggesting that there are definitely changes to be made to the website.

Taking the top spot is financial service provider Visa, scoring an admirable 100 in the convenience rankings. This includes only one web accessibility error and 13 web alerts, highlighting that a great deal of time would have been spent on making things suitable for customers with disabilities.

Second on the list is Chase Bank, also scoring 100, with one accessibility error and two contrast errors.

The full list by category can be found here.

Leaders in UX

A separate study from specialist Remarkable Commerce – again using Google’s Lighthouse tool to track web performance and set a benchmark for ecommerce businesses across the UK – found that, for all web users, Body Shop offered the most accessible online user experience out of the country’s top 500 retail brands.

The Body Shop achieved an impressive score of 381 out of 400, having gained full marks for its accessibility as well as 98 out of 100 for its SEO, surpassing household brand names such as Asos, which came 196th, and Amazon, which came 253rd. Just behind, with a score of 372, was pet food and accessories retailer Jollyes, with outdoor apparel brand Regatta (366) completing the top three.

Dunelm, Moss Bros, Swoon, MKM, Victoria Plum, Craghoppers and Warren James made up the rest of the top 10.

Commenting on the findings, Brad Houldsworth, head of product at Remarkable Commerce, says: “Online retailers know they operate in a competitive environment but as the Digital Retail Index shows, you don’t have to be a global player, or even come from an e-commerce background, to thrive online. What sets the retailers with top-performing websites apart is their commitment to SEO and continuous technical improvements that enhance user experiences (UX). A scalable website that enables them to respond to demand during peak periods is critical for driving sales and building brand loyalty.

“Shopper habits have now changed for good since the pandemic, shifting even further towards e-commerce, and retailers have to be ready for surges during peak periods, or they’ll get left behind. While mid-sized retailers don’t have the same in-house technical skills as the biggest e-commerce companies, it’s still possible to compete with them if you have the right platform and regularly undertake performance checks.”

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