Having just launched the AAA website for Bicester Village, I scoured Google to try and find any other consumer websites with Level 3 compliance, with no success.
I did however see numerous web agencies advertising their expertise in accessibility, which made me wonder – were these paragons of accessible virtue practising what they preached? A bare minimum, for me, was that the website of the agency should pass Level 2 of WAI guidelines – the minimum EU recommendation.
The test, the sample
Typing the phrase “web accessibility” into Google lists a plethora of agencies. On the day of the test, the first seven were as follows:
- System Concepts (www.system-concepts.com)
- Web Credible (www.webcredible.co.uk)
- Red Ant Design (www.redantdesign.com)
- The Accessible Website Company (www.accessiblewebsites.co.uk/)
- Spring Digital (www.springdigital.co.uk/)
- Headscape (www.headscape.co.uk)
- Tag2 (www.tag2.net)
Out of the seven websites tested, FIVE fell short of the minimum criteria of Level 2. Spring Digital – self-proclaimed “website accessibility experts” according to their ad copy – did not even reach Level 1 accessibility compliance. A runaway winner of the wooden spoon.
Web Credible fared better, passing Levels 1 and 2 easily (using XHTML 1.0 code) and failing Level 3 only because of links not being separated.
The clear winner, however, was Red Ant Design, ticking all accessibility boxes, including Lynx, web standards, Level 3 compliance and XHTML 1.1 code. Not only that – the site is also easy to use, and easy on the eye. Reason to be impressed.