Widespread research will find out how much money UK businesses are losing by failing to make their websites accessible to users with disabilities.
The Click-Away Pound survey (CAP) asks internet users with disabilities about their online shopping experiences across a range of sectors, including banking, supermarkets and travel. Rick Williams, managing director of disability consultancy Freeney Williams, came up with the idea after 15 years of assessing and auditing poorly designed websites through his work.
Williams was inspired to create CAP by the Business Disability Forum’s Walkaway Pound Report
( bit.ly/1PL9p8c ) in 2015, which found that over 75% of people with disabilities had left a shop or business because of its poor awareness of disability. He wanted to find out if these negative shopping experiences were mirrored online.
The CAP survey was co-designed by Williams and Steve Brownlow of ICT accessibility company Frabjous Day Ltd, and is being supported by a number of organisations, including the Business Disability Forum, Business Disability International and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
Speaking to e-Access Bulletin, Williams claimed that over 70% of websites his company has assessed have a “significant” commercial and legal risk due to inaccessibility. Williams said: “There is a law, of course [the Equality Act 2010], but 20 years of legislation hasn’t really made much of an impact.”
Williams also explained his motivation for creating the CAP survey: “Businesses need to understand that they ignore disabled shoppers at the risk of their bottom line, and those who do make their websites accessible will get the business. If we can demonstrate to businesses the lost opportunities in hard cash, then maybe they will feel more inclined to change.”
Purchasing goods and services online can be a notoriously difficult experience for shoppers with disabilities, particularly when using assistive technology such as screen-readers – a common tool for those with visual impairments. The transactional sections of many websites are often not designed to accommodate this technology, meaning that users can find it difficult or impossible to complete a purchase through these sites.
Initial research by Freeney Williams before launching the survey found that over 70% of disabled people regularly encounter inaccessible websites. The common reaction was to simply ‘click away’ and find a more user-friendly site, the research shows.
A closing date for the Click-Away Pound survey hasn’t yet been decided, as Williams is keen to gather as many submissions as possible, but results will eventually be published a few months after CAP closes.
Williams encourages any online users with disabilities to complete the survey, which is open now and can be found at the link below. Results are anonymous and it takes around ten minutes to complete:
Full link to survey: cap-2015.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/click-away-pound-2016 .
Read more about CAP at the Click-Away Pound website: bit.ly/1PDOjZs .