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The combined UK usability and accessibility market will be worth more than £100m in 2005, according to new research published by E-consultancy, the London-based internet marketing group.

The forecast is taken from E-consultancy’s new, 175-page ‘Usability and Accessibility Buyer’s Guide 2005’ (http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/usability-and-accessibility-buyers-guide-2005/), where E-consultancy offers practical insight with 15 pages of new research into the market (costs, pricing models, trends, ROI studies), 3 pages of best practice tips (a checklist to help buyers choose the right partner) and 21 in-depth vendor profiles.

The UK market - which was worth £90m in 2004 - will grow by a further 25% in 2005, to between £108m to £117m, driven by increased awareness of the benefits of improved website usability and accessibility.

E-consultancy CEO Ashley Friedlein commented: “Accessibility services have quickly grown to account for at least a fifth of market revenues. Our research shows that spending in this area has risen rapidly on concerns about being prosecuted, with companies obliged to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act.”

Overall, revenues earned by specialist usability and accessibility consultants or agencies amounted to around £20m for 2004; a figure projected to rise to £25m in 2005. Interactive agencies and in-house teams account for the remainder of this market.

Key findings, trends and issues from the Usability and Accessibility Buyer’s Guide 2005:

• Majority of consultants or agencies are bullish about prospects in 2005 and beyond, suggesting that turnover will increase by 10% - 60%.

• Increasing demand for qualified HCI professionals – recruitment is a big issue.

• Accessibility spending driven by legal concerns.

• Suggestions that the accessibility market has a limited shelf life of 3 years or so.

• Accessibility market threatened if there are no high-profile prosecutions when companies fail to comply with the DDA – ongoing growth may be determined by litigations (or the lack of them).

• Usability & accessibility companies seem united on how to move the industry forward.

• Client companies increasingly likely to see usability testing as an essential part of the development process – usability no longer seen as ‘nice-to-have’ but vitally important.

• Blue chips and Public Sector lead the way in spending while SMEs lag way behind.

• Biggest spenders: financial services, online retail, public sector / e-government.

• Human testing is far more effective than software/tools (which are much cheaper).

• Most work carried out by specialist consultancies is on a project-to-project basis, but clients are increasingly paying a retainer for services.

• Success-based fees still very rare – measurement can be problematic but some consultants are keen for performance-related contracts to be phased in.

• Day rates for an experienced consultant average £750 - £1,200.

Vendors profiled in the Usability & Accessibility Buyer’s Guide include: Amberlight; Bamps.com; Bunnyfoot; cxpartners; Effortmark; Elemental Creative; Fhios; Flow Interactive; Openia; Optimum.web; Serco; Surfability; System Concepts; The Usability Company; Usability by Design; Usability Gains; UsabilityWorks; Userfocus; User Vision; Web Usability Partnership; and Webcredible.

E-consultancy’s 175-page ‘Usability and Accessibility Buyer’s Guide 2005’ retails for £79 or is free for subscribers. A sample can be downloaded from http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/usability-and-accessibility-buyers-guide-2005/.

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Media and analyst enquiries:
Contact Chris Lake, editor (chris@e-consultancy.com)

About E-consultancy (http://www.e-consultancy.com/about/)

E-consultancy is the UK’s leading online publisher of best practice internet marketing reports, research and how-to guides. It also publishes buyer’s guides and has a directory of 100,000+ third party internet marketing white papers.

Since moving to a paid-content model in 2003 E-consultancy has amassed thousands of paying subscribers, around 30,000 registered users and 115,000 unique users sessions per month. Its weekly newsletter is sent to 21,500 users. Subscribers pay from £99 per year to access the exclusive and highly practical content, which helps internet marketers get the most out of their websites.

E-consultancy has around 70 events lined up for 2005, including roundtables and monthly ‘Supplier Showcases’, where six suppliers pitch to an audience of pre-qualified buyers (typically between 100-200) in a Central London venue. E-consultancy also provides a range of in-house training programmes, such as seminars and workshops.

E-consultancy also offers a range of web consultancy services to companies including major FTSE100 brands and small start-ups, including market and competitor research, website optimisation, customer journey analysis and strategic planning.

Published on: 12:00AM on 3rd March 2005