Weblogs: Web Accessibility

Accessibility of UK Banks

Friday, April 16, 2004

AbilityNet completed yet another state of the e-nation survey, this time focusing on the websites of UK Banks. This study was released in late February.

Banks do a better job for accessibility than newspapers and airlines. The average score was 3.0. AbilityNet comment:

The UK's top on-line banks do better than airlines and newspapers in meeting the basic website accessibility needs of their disabled customers, but still only one of ten tested, NatWest, reached a minimum standard, according to a survey released today by national computing and disability charity, AbilityNet.

This report is surprising in two ways. One, Natwest being the best performing site, and two, egg wasn't at the top.

Natwest's online banking service is quite prehistoric. It demands on Internet Explorer. I sent a complaint to them stating that an online home banking service should at least be usable from home (I use Firefox). I got two written replies offering profound apologies, advising me to "upgrade" and that they were considering supporting Netscape. (I did point out problems in Safari, Konqueror and Mozilla).

The surprise about egg - considering they were revealed as one of the top 5 websites by City University as part of the DRC investigation into accessible websites in the UK. Quite a contrast. Investigations on both accessifyforum and cre8asite.com show some serious accessibility problems on the egg website - perhaps egg's praise is due to another page or service, and not the homepage?

I guess there is growing confusion now as to what an accessible website really is. The revelation of the top 5 websites has clouded the vigour of the DRC report and offered a loop-hole for websites more interested in avoiding prosecution than dealing with accessibility properly. I would appreciate being proven wrong.

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