Council websites which are accessible for disabled people also perform better for all visitors, according to a major new survey.
Research for Socitm, the representative body for public service ICT professionals, compared the 43% of sites rated as satisfactory for disabled accessibility with those rated less accessible.
It found that performance on a number of tasks was 41% better for the accessible sites than the rest.
A report by Socitm said its research suggests “a significant relationship between the accessibility of the websites for people with disabilities and the more general usability of the websites for everyone”.
The study was carried out by the Digital Accessibility Centre, which looked at all 407 UK local authority websites.
In addition to comparing performance on top tasks, each site was given an overall rating between 0 and 3 by reviewers.
Accessible websites performed 23% better than those that failed to achieve Socitm’s accessibility standard, getting a rating of 2.16 against 1.75.
The 2015 survey has seen a recovery in the proportion of sites passing the accessibility test after falling to 26% in 2014.
The large drop from the 45% achieved in 2013 was largely attributed to the introduction of testing on mobiles.
The findings are the latest teaser from Socitm from its forthcoming Better Connected 2015 report, providing in depth analysis of council website performance, which will be released on 2 March.
Last week Socitm revealed that oversight by senior council managers plays a much bigger role in website performance than resources and budgets, according to the research.