Study Shows Many Fortune 500 Sites Inaccessible to Disabled

Article excerpt

A new Oklahoma State University study shows the top Web sites of Fortune 500 companies are virtually inaccessible to many people with disabilities.

Of the 250 sites surveyed, 181 of them had at least one major problem that would essentially keep the disabled from being able to use the site, according to Oklahoma State University researcher Nicholas C. Romano Jr.

Romano's study also concluded that besides essentially denying access to those with disabilities, the companies may be missing out on large segments of potential markets, including America's elderly.

"It is very important that Web designers not only do a better job of considering individuals with serious disabilities but also use design alternatives for Web site visitors with different skills, literacy levels and the like," he said. "Considering additional design alternatives can often benefit all users."

While the study's findings make it clear that even the best companies are not following accessibility guidelines issued in 1999 by the World Wide Web Consortium, Romano also found that most of the problems blocking access to the Web sites could be easily identified and corrected with better evaluation methods. …