Editor's Note: The UsableNet September Webinar on A Blind User's Experience of a Website was summarized in DGREAD—a bi-weekly newsletter designed to inform, educate, update and sometimes entertain from DiMuroGinsberg PC.
Marketing Director at DiMuroGinsberg, Stephanie West was kind enough to agree we could re-post the contents with special thanks to Stephanie and Jonathan Mook, resident ADA Expert at DiMuroGinsberg.
The Good the BAd, and what Makes the Difference
If you may remember, we did a piece in August based on a webinar I attended, presented by UsableNet, a company that helps other companies make their websites ADA web compliant. The webinar was hosted by Jason Taylor, the Chief Innovation Strategist to the UsableNet CEO and starred Joe Dinero, who is an Assistive Technology Specialist at Helen Keller Services for the Blind and is also the Lead Digital Accessibility Tester for UsableNet.
Joe took us through a site that was accessibility-ugly. There are just no other words for it. Arriving at the site as a sighted person, it looked perfectly fine. But, ah, it was so not fine. When Joe tried to navigate it with a screen reader, he was presented with road block after road block. Without repeating the previous article, here are a few navigation glitches: it took at least 7 minutes to find the navigation bar; the first three links we landed on took us off the site; when we finally found the navigation bar, it skipped over one of the selections entirely.
So Part One, was all about a frustrating experience. And, considering that Joe visits websites two to three times a week at a minimum and finds his experiences to be about 50/50, we can look at that a couple of ways. Joe is having at least one bad experience or more a week and we’re getting a little better at making our websites more accessible because it used to be a lot worse.
Part Two was focused on a more positive experience. Joe just got a new guide dog. Yes that’s super positive, but not what this is about. He went on Chewy.com to open an account and buy his new friend food, toys, a bed, you know, all the necessities. And, he wanted to establish a relationship so he could just go on the site and click what he wanted in the future and be done with it. Well, it turns out that Chewy.com is a model site for accessibility. One of the keys for accessibility is structure. And Chewy’s got it in spades.
We watched Joe navigate the site with ease. Now, clearly he’s been here before, but still, close your eyes and imagine being able to navigate smoothly. He was a whiz. They spelled everything out. There was plenty of space between things. There was hierarchy but not too much of it.
It was easy to see that this site was a winner for Joe. He reminded us that he does the same things online that we do. He shops. He plans travel. He researches. He works. What’s Joe’s favorite site? Amazon…just like the rest of us.
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Watch all the videos from the Webinar, A Blind User's Experience Part 2: The Good, The Bad and What Makes the Difference," on-demand now.