Web stores must provide better accessibility
April 2, 2008, 8:50 am
Filed under: development, ebuyer, opinion, webdev | Tags: , , , ,

According to a report by the Retail Bulletin, web stores must achieve better accessibility for their customers, much like bricks and mortar stores do.

This caught my eye because it mentions Ebuyer, and they rank pretty poorly, but then when you read the article in full, it’s not immediately obvious what they are measuring and they make no mention of how they gather their data, or asses the websites conformance to W3C’s Conformance level A (I assume that’s what the final column means.) The Error Occs column refers to some kind of error, javascript errors? html errors? schoolboy errors?

Does the meta data being “ok” mean that it has some, or that it’s relevant to the site? You have to assume they mean the meta header tags, which Google ignores completely. They might mean the content type & language settings maybe.

Finally they have an “Exact Overall” column, how they come up with this figure is a complete mystery. Tesco comes top with 8.04, their meta data is ok, they have no errors and all their pages meet W3C conformance level A. Thresers however comes 10th with 6.09, they fail at meta data, have 2 errors and 40% of their pages don’t meet conformance A. Further down the list is the Co-op, they are Ok at meta data, have 9 errors and only 19% of their pages don’t meet conformance level A yet they score just 3.56 and come in at #50. Furniture village has no pages that meet compliance, fails the meta tag test, but has no errors, and gets a score of 4.85.

Anyone beginning to notice a pattern?

No? Good because neither can I. There doesn’t seem to be any correlation between the “Exact Overall” score and any of the individual tests.

The site makes a very good point that high street stores have to meet certain accessibility standards, so why shouldn’t web stores? But when their own ranking system puts a Net-a-porter at number 9 with no pages achieving compliance level A, can you really take them seriously?


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