Website Accessibility: An Industry Analysis
Digital accessibility and inclusivity are emerging concerns across numerous industries. So, which are the best and worst performing on accessibility, and what can you do differently to improve your own? Let’s find out…
Web users have a wide variety of needs in terms of accessibility. From layout and design to ease of navigation – websites must take user needs into account above anything else.
While some organisations have tweaked their sites to improve accessibility, there’s still work to do across lots of different industries. But which businesses have been early adopters of improving accessibility for end users?
To find out, we launched a new study looking at sites across the web to see which sectors are doing accessibility well and which may need to improve their approach. It’s worth caveating at this stage that we recognise that our own site is far from perfect in terms of end-user experience, so accessibility is something we too need to consider in the future.
Ready to jump in? Explore the results in full below…
How we did it
To see how each industry measured up, we investigated the accessibility of top-performing websites across different sectors.
We started by taking a sample of websites from each industry, before using the Wave web evaluation tool to uncover accessibility details about each site. Once the data was gathered, we worked out the average across each data point per industry to find the total industry average.
From there, we created an index using these industry average data points, allowing us to see how different industries perform in terms of web accessibility.
On top of that, we surveyed over 1,000 people to understand which design and interaction elements they tend to encounter accessibility problems with, and the elements they feel most websites get right. It’s hoped these insights could help businesses make simple accessibility changes going forward.
Top 10 best industries for web accessibility
Law and Government came out on top for having the best web accessibility, with a near-perfect score of 98/100. This aligns with the laws ensuring that public service bodies like Law & Government meet accessibility needs to a certain degree.
In second place, falling short by only four points, was Computer Electronics & Technology, followed closely by Business & Consumer Services, nabbing the third spot from the top.
Perhaps surprisingly, the e-Commerce & Shopping sector placed low in the rankings, meaning they may need to take a different approach to user experience if they want to ensure they aren’t missing out on crucial business.
Since online shopping used to be a convenience rather than a necessity, some retail sites haven’t yet been updated and refined to accommodate the influx of users sent online during the pandemic. But with web accessibility proven to be a key factor in maintaining sales and revenue, it’s an area e-retailers may need to pay more attention to going forward.
Top 10 industries that may need to improve web accessibility
The sports industry has the most to do in terms of improving website accessibility, gaining a score of just 15/100, with second and third place scoring much higher at 50/100 and 59/100 for the Gaming and Food & Drink sectors respectively.
The industries placing lowest in the rankings are mostly related to entertainment, with the only exception being the finance industry.
Businesses with inefficient website designs could be at risk of potentially losing customers to emerging platforms optimised for accessibility. If businesses in the entertainment industry are to ensure their users stay with them rather than going elsewhere, improving web usability may be a good starting point.
For these sites, a more minimal approach might be worth considering. Since entertainment-related sites tend to have busier web pages designed to keep users engaged, this might actually be having the opposite effect – leading to issues which impact the overall experience and usability of the site.
Top 10 web accessibility struggles
Now that we’ve looked at where different industries stand when it comes to site accessibility, let’s focus on the issues that can hamper it.
From our survey data, we identified 10 common user struggles that can impact a site’s accessibility…
We asked respondents to select the web elements they’ve experienced the most difficulty with when browsing online to help us create a list of the top 10 web accessibility struggles.
The layout was the element users struggled with the most, mentioned by more than half of the participants (56%), followed by navigation (44%) and auto-playing content (37%).
Other common issues included simple elements such as font size and colour, hover functionality and the general colour scheme, with between 20% and 30% reporting that they struggled with these.
Such problems can often go overlooked since they don’t appear to make a huge difference to the usability of a website. The reality is, however, that even the most basic on-page elements and formatting decisions can impact how easy webpages are to navigate and interact with for the end user.
And when you think about it, this makes complete sense. After all, if users can’t see certain elements due to poor colour choices or font that is too small to read, then there’s no wonder they have issues navigating and accessing certain parts of a website.
User preferences to site design and accessibility
When it came to the functional aspects that users most struggled with, we gathered qualitative data to find out their thoughts and whether they impacted their overall experience of different sites. We’ve summed up our key survey insights below…
Index points scoring explained
In case you’re wondering, here’s how we worked out the scores…
Why is accessibility so important?
Ensuring your website or mobile app is accessible to all users isn’t just a recommendation, it’s also the law if your site happens to be linked to public sector bodies such as central or local government. While the law doesn’t cover every industry, you should still look to make your site as easy as possible for everyone to use.
Simply put, if the accessibility of your site needs improvement, you may risk missing out on revenue, traffic and lead generation. By optimising for accessibility, you’ll ultimately improve the user and customer experience.
But it doesn’t just benefit them; you can save some money with a more receptive and easier-to-use site. Maintaining an accessible site means using cleaner code and getting faster loading times, fewer errors and improved search engine positioning.
Disclaimer: this report is not intended as a critique of businesses in any specific industry, but rather a general look at web accessibility across different sectors. At Gnatta, we’re aware of our site’s pain points and are working closely with digital partners to improve our overall user experience.
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