Web 2.0 Technologies May Put Web Accessibilty at Risk

. October 14, 2008

SEPTEMBER 26, 2006. Brands planning to introduce Web 2.0 technologies into their online strategy need to be aware of accessibility or they may miss out on a market worth over lb50 billion, warned Trenton Moss, director of web usability and accessibility agency Webcredible, at the Accessibility in 2006 conference on 12th September.

Web 2.0 technologies such as AJAX offer brands the ability to create feature-rich, interactive online environments. Websites such as Yahoo Mail, Google Maps, Amazon Diamond Search have introduced Web 2.0 to great effect, producing intuitive, user friendly websites. The rewards for improving usability in this way can be high, with traffic increasing by 150 per cent and sales rates by up to 100 per cent.

However, Moss warns that companies who introduce richer functionality, such as 'on the page' changes to eliminate downloads and video content, should be aware of the risk of compromising web accessibility. The upshot is that brands must develop alternative versions of these features to meet accessibility requirements.

'Web 2.0 offers amazing potential but, for the first time, this could cause a conflict between accessibility and usability. However, developing alternative versions of web pages to address accessibility requirements does not need to be a costly exercise and the benefits far outweigh the effort. There are over 8.6 million registered disabled people in the UK alone, so brands looking at Web 2.0 need to include accessibility into their online strategy in order to tap into this significant market,' said Trenton Moss, director, Webcredible.

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