Accessibility or contactability issues with ‘Richmond’ websites?

Richmond has one of the highest elderly populations in London, with 24,300 of our residents aged over 65 and the greatest number of over 85s. It is estimated that 8100 residents suffer from visual impairment.

We also have one of the highest levels of internet usage in the UK - 89% of our residents use the internet; 10% higher than the national average. 'Silver Surfers' (over 55s) are the UK's biggest online shoppers, with 86% of them regularly purchasing goods on the web and 77% of over 65s are now online.

At least 6 million consumers are excluded to some extent from 80% of UK retail websites and the number of consumers unable to access websites is expected to grow due to our ageing population.

Google recently crowned Richmond as one of the UK's top eTowns in ecommerce. Against this backdrop, it is apt that Richmond Council Trading Standards takes a leading role in raising the profile of Web “Accessibility”.

Accessibility is not just a legal requirement: it makes business sense!

If you are in any doubt why you should spend the time to ensure your website is accessible, please read on.

  • The over 55s (17 million people) hold 57% of the nation’s wealth and represent 44% of the total family spending in the UK.
  • Silver surfers’ (over 55s) are the UK's biggest online shoppers, with 86% regularly purchasing goods on the web.
  • 55% - 77% (2 different surveys) of over 65s in the UK are now online: spending 7.4 hours online. The over 75s spend 6.9 hours online weekly
  • 2 million people (1 in 30) in the UK are partially sighted.
  • 17% of the UK population is over 65 = 9.5 million; 3 million are over 80. Sight loss is closely related to old age, with one in three over 65s facing sight loss
  • 9.5 million people (17%) of the UK population is over 65; whilst 3 million are over 80.
  • There are over 11 million people with a limiting long-term illness, impairment or disability in Great Britain.
  • The UK is one of the world’s largest sellers to international customers. More money is spent online in the UK than anywhere else in the world, other than the US.  In 2013, UK retailers are expected to generate £10billion in sales with international consumers, so you need to consider this wider potential customer base. 33 million European and American consumers are partially sighted and 88 million consumers have other disabilities which may affect their ability to easily access your website. That’s right: 33 – 88 million consumers cannot easily access your website!
  • 63% of over 65s say they could not live without being online and 75% say the Internet keeps them feeling young and mentally agile.
  • 86% of over 55s have said that having access to computers and the web has improved their lives:
    • 82% save money.
    • 57% said they were now better in touch with friends and family.
    • 72% thought that being online can help reduce feelings of isolation.

Online businesses grow faster than those without a website and a recent Government study found that small businesses that sell to international consumers are 11% more likely to survive than those that don’t. If you want your business to grow it is vital that your website is accessible to all potential customers that come across it. Contact Trading Standards today to discover how you can maximise your potential customer base and leave your competition behind.

Accessibility and the law

Should you remain unconvinced by the commercial benefits of making your website and materials accessible to all consumers, the law requires it.

The Royal National Insitute for the Blind (RNIB) has more detail on the UK law for websites and guidance on making your website accessible.

Examples of action that has been taken against companies due to accessibility issues:

Updated: 20 November 2017