LIFE
Leading websites rated for accessibility for the visually impaired
ByDr. Tim Sandle
PublishedNovember 23, 2021
Photo: © AFP
Ahead of United Nations’ International Day for People with Disability on December 3rd, 2021, newly compiled data shows that over 40 percent of the most popular websites are inaccessible for users with visual impairments
According to the World Health Organization, 2.2 billion people are estimated to have some form of visual impairment. Considering nearly 60 percent of the global population are active internet users, website accessibility is therefore fundamental to ensuring all these net surfers can browse, shop, and watch content online.
The research comes from ToolTester, who analyzed over 150 of the most popular websites across the globe to assess their accessibility for those with disabilities.
The new study used the Chrome plugin ‘ARC Toolkit’ to flag accessibility errors and then ranked the sites by calculating their percentage of errors for each individual asset.
The top 20 least accessible websites are shown below:
WebsiteCategoryIndividual AssetsErrors% of Errors for Individual Assets
AsosFashion2765921.38%
InstagramSocial Media1212520.66%
TelegramSocial Media2765620.29%
SmythstoysE-Commerce61711618.80%
CostcoSupermarkets117721818.52%
QuoraInformation1272318.11%
GeniusInformation81214417.73%
Mail.YahooE-Mail Provider671116.42%
FacebookSocial Media2544116.14%
SheinFashion165626716.12%
UnsplashE-Commerce3926115.56%
SoundcloudEntertainment4767114.92%
SnapchatSocial Media2904314.83%
RottentomatoesInformation159523514.73%
BumbleDating Apps2513614.34%
EharmonyDating Apps6899613.93%
YelpInformation134517913.31%
ThefreedictionaryInformation204826913.13%
AzlyricsInformation4345713.13%
WikihowInformation101812812.57%
The table indicates that the fashion platform ASOS takes the top spot for the most inaccessible site. This means fashion seekers with visibility impairments may struggle when it comes to online shopping at ASOS (there is an irony than ASOS stands for ‘as seen on screen).
The reason is due to duplicate identifiers. Each element on a site needs an individual identification value to help assistive technologies read the site accurately, which ASOS is missing.
Further analysis of the table shows that the social media sector takes three out of the top 10 positions.  Overall, social media sites are the poorest performing sector when it comes to accessibility. This is largely due to the high volume of images that do not have alt text, therefore accessibility readers cannot describe the images to visually impaired users.
Other reasons for a poor rating include color contrast. To make the text easier to read for those with visual disabilities such as limited color perception or low vision, text elements on a website must have sufficient contrast against the background.
In this article:
Accessibility
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Disability
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online
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Website
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Website & Blog
WRITTEN BY
Dr. Tim Sandle
Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.
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