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    Sex, lies and web accessibility: the use of accessibility logos and statements on e-commerce and financial websites

    Accessible Design in the Digital World Conference 2005

    Dundee, Scotland, 23 - 25 August 2005


    Helen Petrie, Adam Badani & Arpna Bhalla


    An investigation was conducted in the use of accessibility logos and statements in a large sample of e-commerce and financial websites in a number of countries. Firstly, a survey of the use of logos and statements on these websites was undertaken.

    For a selection of websites that displayed logos or provided statements, their accessibility was estimated using automated checking of their conformance to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG, Version 1.0) and user testing by people with disabilities. This allowed us to assess the accuracy of the claims made by the websites and compare their accessibility with previous research, particularly the recent survey of website accessibility undertaken by the Disability Rights Commission.

    The use of accessibility logos and statements on e-commerce and financial websites was not very high. Only 4% of e-commerce sites and 12% of financial sites had a logo or statement or a combination of the two. The accessibility of a sample of the sites with logos/statements was higher than expected when assessed with automated testing, when compared to the large sample of general websites tested for the DRC study, but not as high as with large samples from the museum, library and archive sector and the university sector.

    When the accessibility of the sites was assessed by disabled users, the accessibility was very similar to the general sample assessed for the DRC study. Thus, although these websites are stating that they are making particular efforts for disabled users, they are not any more accessible than a random sample of websites.

    More worrying, the sites are making exaggerated claims about their accessibility, with 30% of sites overstating their level of conformance to WCAG. The reasons for such a situation are explored.


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