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B&Q Move Up In The World Of Accessibility

05 March 2010 - 11:35 by Paul Tissington

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Congratulations to big brands John Lewis and B&Q, both of which are making the right moves when it comes to retailer websites. The two brands are top of the class in terms of website accessibility, according to a new report from user experience consultancy, Webcredible, earning them some kudos from experts promoting accessible, safe shopping online.

The 2010 Ecommerce Accessibility Report ranked major retailers based upon the user-friendliness of their sites for net surfers with disabilities. The researchers analysed each retailer's site, scoring points for good design but sites down for any aspects that are not helpful for disabled consumers, such as embedding text within images.

B&Q was a big mover this year, jumping upwards from 6th place, the position it held last year. In doing so it knocked John Lewis from the top spot, but the department store chain can be content with the fact that although it has been dethroned, it has improved its score by five percent since last year's report.

There was bad news, however, for Marks & Spencer, which, despite an extensive site overhaul allowing it to take the plaudits in terms of usability, was still only in 12th place, with its site accessibility judged by the report to have barely improved at all on last year's performance. Meanwhile, hardware retailer Curry's hit rock bottom, achieving a score of only 37 per cent, compared to B&Q at 84. The average score was 61.6 per cent.

The report's main aim is to help to improve the web experience for disabled users, giving tips in the process as to how retailers can make their sites more accessible. Not only is website accessibility a legal requirement, it is also only fair to those consumers who require a web experience that provides both accessible and safe shopping online.