Tomorrow is Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2019. At UsableNet, we’re counting down this week with a new blog post each day meant to raise awareness of the experience a person with a visual disability has when interacting with the digital world.
For today’s post, we asked Abigail and Kate about their experience shopping online. Retail is the most frequently targeted industry for ADA web accessibility lawsuits—with 38 percent of retailers listed in federal ADA web related filings.
Abigail is blind who uses a screen reader for Mac and iphone to navigate the Internet. Kate is person with low-vision who uses Windows Magnifier for PC. We’ve edited for length to present just some of their feedback here.
Best Practices for Browsing
Kate: I like it when websites lay out their menus very clearly. The text is bolder. When you click on that link, another menu drops down and it gives you more options. I would really like companies to consider the links they use in their menus. Say, for example, if I am shopping for shoes, it's really important that the distinctions are made between high-heeled shoes versus flats, sandals versus sneakers, things like that.
Abigail: Some of the challenges I experience with online shopping relate to different colors with an item. There might be a really great description of a blouse or a dress that I'm looking at, but then there are three different options for color or patterns, and those options aren't actually labeled. There might be colors or pattern names that the company has come up with on their own. In those instances, I've had to contact the company directly to complete my purchase because I want to make sure that I'm getting the color or style of a product that I want.
Kate: I look at product descriptions mostly for things that I can't see very well, like the distinctions between colors and in some cases the sleeve length or whether there are sequins or lace or anything like that, the types of material. I think it's very helpful when retailers both provide a color swatch and a word-based description of what the color is or the pattern.
The Buying Process
Abigail: The only way I knew that it went to my bag is by pulling up the list of links where it said, "Bag," and in parentheses, it had the number of items. That was the only way I knew that after I hit, "Add to Bag," it went there.
Abigail: Once I got to the checkout, it loaded a floating window instead of to a next page. It was confusing whether the next portions of checkout had loaded.With the checkout system, it would be helpful if it loaded a new page each time. To the best of my knowledge, that's the only that I would be able to know using my screen reader, because each time it goes to a new page, I get a notification with voice-over.
UsableNet Can Help
Each phase of an online transaction can present multiple and varied challenges to a person with a visual disability. Too often, companies don’t know understand all of these challenges. But with the help of screen reader testing to identify key issues or a trusted accessibility partner, your website can become accessible within just a few weeks.
Whether you need guidance to get started or someone to handle the entire process, UsableNet is your trusted technology partner for website accessibility. We’d love to help you get started in this process. Contact us for a free consultation.