Web Irony Of The Week: Sites That Sell Eyeglasses Have Weakest Support For Visually-Impaired

Written by Evan Schuman
October 19th, 2008

One of the great—and simultaneously not so great—things about tracking E-Commerce is that virtually everything can be precisely quantified. We get flooded with reports us telling who is clicking on pets associated with Obama versus McCain and whether left-handed celebrities get more of their site traffic from 2 AM to 3 AM versus 2 PM to 3 PM.

After a bit, it’s hard to not get cynical with these often meaningless stats on stats. But the irony from this September Web traffic report from performance-tracking site Sitemorse and The Retail Bulletin seemed too delicious to ignore. In their September stats, U.K. sites that sold eyeglasses and related vision aids fared among the very worst in one criteria: sites that are designed to be easily used by those with vision difficulties.

"Of all the people that should meet the accessibility requirements it is those retailers with a social conscience and those who sell glasses," said Sitemorse Founder Lawrence Shaw, "but they don’t seem to perform well at all, which is a pretty short-sighted strategy." (I want brownie points for not commenting on his choice of "short-sighted.")

Drawing Sitemorse’s particular wrath was a site called Direct Specs. Out of 100 sites in the survey, it came in at 91.

"It placed in the lowly 91st spot with a score of only 1.10 out of 10 with all its pages failing the accessibility testing," a Sitemorse statement said, "and because none of its 9,000 images include alt text (used to describe the pictures on Web pages), the site achieved a 100 percent failure rate on accessibility."


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