Web Accessibility ‘experts’ lacking AAA performance

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:

  1. System Concepts (www.system-concepts.com)
  2. Web Credible (www.webcredible.co.uk)
  3. Red Ant Design (www.redantdesign.com)
  4. The Accessible Website Company (www.accessiblewebsites.co.uk/)
  5. Spring Digital (www.springdigital.co.uk/)
  6. Headscape (www.headscape.co.uk)
  7. Tag2 (www.tag2.net)

The results

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.

One thought on “Web Accessibility ‘experts’ lacking AAA performance

  • May 2, 2006 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks for the feedback Ian. I am sure there are bits and pieces that we could have done better and will do on the new site.

    I followed the referrer link thinking it would be yet another company ripping off our design and content (you’d be amazed how many of them leave Red Ant’s details on the contact form etc.), so finding this article was a pleasant surprise 🙂

    (P.S I’ll pay you that tenner next time you’re in the UK 😉

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