Survey of Premiership Football Club Websites

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A report published by net-progress into English Premier League Football Club websites has revealed that 85% of those websites failed to meet basic accessibility standards and were also likely to provide an unsatisfactory visitor experience.

The research shows that the majority of websites were slow to use for those people using a modem to connect to the Internet. Whilst pictures of the team and players were a large part of the reason for this, so was advertising. Advertising was found to be intrusive on a high proportion of websites, in some cases taking up as much as a third of the screen. Pop-up adverts and splash screens were also common.

There were some good features to be seen, however, and provision of graphic and text only website versions in Chinese by Everton was one such example. This provides a means to download content relatively quickly for those fans located in China.

The other major disappointment was to find so few clubs had made adequate provisions for visually impaired fans. 75% of the clubs failed to make any noticeable attempt to cater for this sector of the public. Whilst the remaining websites did attempt to provide accessible content, only 15% of the websites tested passed basic accessibility standards, and of those, only the Charlton Athletic website tried to make their main website fully accessible. This is in stark contrast to the laudable work of the clubs’ efforts in an offline capacity.

The survey did show that compared to most sectors, the clubs were largely successful at promoting their websites online, with good visibility. Though even in this area, it was clear from the research that there was still scope for improvement.

Greg Cheasman, speaking for net-progress, said of the survey, “it is not our intention to ‘name and shame’ organisations featured in the surveys, but to raise awareness of relevant issues in running websites, and ultimately improve standards. We’ll be looking at this sector again next year, and we hope to report on an improvement for both the individual clubs and the sector as a whole.”

About net-progress

net-progress is an internet consultancy using a holistic approach to add value to a company’s online presence. net-progress specialise in accessibility, quality, visibility, behaviour analysis and reputation management in order to deliver measurable improvements to a business.

net-progress has been working in the field of web analytics since 1997, with clients ranging from FTSE 100 companies to SMEs.

Net-progress recently launched net-guide, an accessibility centric search engine and directory, which has been short listed for The National Library of the Blind’s Visionary Design Award.

net-progress produces regular surveys on various aspects of online performance in a variety of sectors, as well as accepting commissions from trade and consumer publications.

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Greg Cheasman
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