The Channel logo


By | Lucy Sherriff 22nd June 2005 15:40

Firefox users turned away from 10% of top UK sites


Despite the increasing use of non-Internet Explorer web browsers, such as Opera or Firefox, one in ten UK websites still fails to provide proper access to anyone not using Microsoft's default offering, a study has found.

Web-testing firm SciVisum looked at 100 high profile UK sites, including, and the Odeon cinema chain's online presence. Neither of the two named is accessible by non-IE browsers, the firm says, along with one other, and seven others, including British-American Tobacco's site, use non-standard web coding that is generally only recognisable to Internet Explorer.

The Odeon's website has been repeatedly criticised for poor accessibility, and eventually offered a pure text version of its listings. However, SciVisum says that after its opening splash page, Firefox users are still drawing a blank. Jobcentreplus appears to assume that anyone with Firefox is already gainfully employed, since the Job Search page doesn't work properly for those using the browser.

Deri Jones, SciVisum's CEO warns that companies are in danger of damaging their brands by not addressing accessibility issues properly. "When webmasters design first for Internet Explorer and not standards-compliant browsers, they so often end up restricting user access to the website which has detrimental affects for a company," he said.

He went on to describe it as surprising that companies still fail to accommodate a variety of browsers, and warns that taking a non-standard approach limits a website's audience, and risks alienating some users.

The company recommends that web designers switch to using Cascading Style Sheets, and check pages using browsers other than Internet Explorer. It also suggests that anyone planning a redesign should consider using an open source content management system, such as Plone or Mambo.

Usability firm Human Factors International also expressed surprised that businesses still have not dealt with the issue of multiple browsers. Company managing director Jerome Nadel described the question of making a site accessible to multiple browsers as "a no brainer". ®

Related stories

Parliament slapped for rubbish web presence
IE-only sites 'useful as chocolate teapot'
PLCs hit back at complaints on web accessibility

alert Send corrections


Frank Jennings

What do you do? Use manual typwriters or live in a Scottish croft? Our man advises
A rusty petrol pump at an abandoned gas station. Pic by Silvia B. Jakiello via shutterstock

Trevor Pott

Among other things, Active Directory needs an overhaul
Baby looks taken aback/shocked/affronted. Photo by Shutterstock

Kat Hall

Plans for 2 million FTTP connections in next four years 'not enough'
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella


League of gentlemen poster - Tubbs and Edward at the local shop. Copyright BBC
One reselling man tells his tale of woe