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Accessibility and UK small businesses

By Derek Featherstone | April 29th, 2006 | Filed in Accessibility, General

Take a look at the latest study coming out of the United Kingdom examining the attitudes and perceptions of small business toward accessibility.

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Andy Higgs has published “An enquiry into the acceptance of accessible web content and web design standards by UK small businesses” as part of his undergraduate studies. The 9000 word dissertation sets the stage with a brief Literature Review and continues with a survey of 30 small businesses in the United Kingdom to assess their knowledge of web accessibility and their legal obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act. We often see reports that assess accessibility and/or standards compliance – this is a little different in that Andy is not looking at compliance, but directly at attitudes and awareness of accessibility, accessibility initiatives and organizations, as well as attitudes towards the cost and responsibility for accessibility.

Sadly, the results of the survey were not surprising. Here is an excerpt from Andy’s abstract:

The result of the online questionnaire for SMEs was that the majority of businesses are not aware of the current legal requirements or even the concept of website accessibility. Four high profile designers with access backgrounds were questioned to help understand the reasons. It was concluded that the cause could be attributed to three main problems; lack of publicity in the media, poor communication by the government and web developers refusing to update their skills set.

Designers and SMEs were both split over who should be taking responsibility for ‘substandard’ sites, but it was established that a joint responsibility was the most pragmatic solution. The data gathered on the awareness of the DDA was compared to government data from 2002 and it was discovered that there had not been any improvement in four years.

No improvement in four years? As always, we’re interested in hearing your thoughts – what is it like in your area in terms of awareness and attitude towards accessibility in general, cost, and responsibility? Have you seen improvements in the last four years?

Your Replies

#1 On April 29th, 2006 12:19 pm