Improving travel website accessibility

Creating ‘all inclusive’ experiences for the travel and tourism sector

Web accessibility can increase customer satisfaction, generate revenue, improves brand loyalty and can even enhance search engine performance. It’s also a legal requirement under the Equality Act 2010. But how many travel companies recognise this potential? We chose the following selection of the top UK travel websites:

  • Booking.com
  • Expedia
  • Jet2.com
  • Laterooms.com
  • P&O Cruises
  • Premier Inn
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Ryanair
  • Skyscanner
  • Thetrainline.com
  • Travel Republic.co.uk
  • Virgin Holiday Cruises

We assessed them against the W3C’s new Easy Checks, providing a preliminary review of a page’s accessibility. We reviewed the homepage and the subsequent page of our sample websites, considering how to make a booking, or search for something to book.

W3C’s Easy Checks cover the basics of web accessibility

Page title

Check that there is a title that adequately and briefly describes the content of the page, and that it distinguishes the page from others.

Alternative text

Every image has appropriate descriptions associated.

Headings

There should be headings (e.g. <h1>) for pages with substantial content, and the hierarchy of those headings should indicate how the page is structured.

Colour contrast

Text should have a minimum contrast ratio with the background of 4.5 : 1 or 3.5 : 1 for text over 14px bold, or 18px regular.

Resize text

When you increase the size of text to 200% (through either zoom or text size) text should not get cut-off, overlap, or be wider than the browser view.

Keyboard access

Check that you can tab to all the elements, including links, form fields, buttons, and media player controls.

Visible keyboard focus

Check that the focus is clearly visible as you tab through the elements, that is, you can tell which element has focus, e.g., links have a grey outline.

Forms

Form controls should be keyboard accessible and properly labelled.

Multimedia

Video and audio should have suitable alternatives, such as transcripts and captions.