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February 2017


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Top online retailers tested for accessibility

Top online retailers tested for accessibility

A lack of accessibility on the high street is costing retailers billions of pounds and is losing them valued custom from disabled shoppers. econsultancy.com carried out tests to see if the same was happening online and the results were surprising…

Picture the scene: You’ve managed to get to the shops, you’re excited you know what you want and you’ve got the money to pay for it. You’re in a wheelchair and there’s only steps, no ramp in to the shop. How do you feel? Pretty deflated at the very least I expect.

The ‘digital high street’ is a convenient way for disabled shoppers to shop without having to tackle the barriers they face in store. What better time than now to review the online accessibility of some popular UK retailers including Boots, Tesco, House of Fraser and more.

To evaluate a website’s online accessibility, they were audited against the Web Consortium Accessibility Guidelines from the W3C (WCAG 2.0) A typical shopping journey was followed to understand how the retailers approached accessibility and they looked at things such as keyboard accessibility and screen reader compatibility. Other major aspects considered that feature in WCAG 2.0 Level AA, include:

Use of headings
Alt text for images
Availability of skip links
Inclusion of a visible focus
Access to forms
Use of ARIA to provide greater context
Access of pop ups / modal windows
Colour contrast
Content ordered logically
Meaningful links that describe their purpose

All sites failed to meet Level AA of the WCAG 2.0 guidelines making it difficult for disabled users to even purchase a product. Half of the websites totally blocked users at certain points on their online journey.

Tesco and House of Fraser provided clear and consistent visible focus - a navigational technique informing the user of where they are on the page visually. Essential for sighted users who rely on visual cues to navigate with a keyboard.

House of Fraser highlight the selected navigation item with a pink underline,
clearly detectable from the text around it.

Only half of the websites implemented ‘skip to’ links so keyboard and screen reader users could also share the privilege of skipping lengthy navigation menus and going straight to the main content. House of Fraser excelled here too. Joules’ skip links were designed to be hidden for sighted users but consequently, sighted keyboard users were unable to take advantage of this functionality.

All retailers were pretty good with use of alternative text with appropriate and descriptive alt tags on images allowing users with visual and cognitive disabilities to access the same content as everybody else.

Providing context to screen reader users is fundamental for those who are not able to visually group information or comprehend it’s meaning from how it’s been presented visually. All retailers at one point or another had links that did not make sense out of context such as Mothercare.com’s use of links such as ”remove” and “edit”.

Those unable to see the visuals that the links ”remove” and “edit” sit beneath
would struggle to know what these prompts relate to. 

Generally, retailers have a visual indication when sizes are out of stock but often there was no verbal notification that this was the case, all sizes would be read out, implying they are available. A screen reader user would be unable to choose a product size, at which point they’d need to either give up or request assistance.

Online retail could be the ideal solution for those who suffer physical difficulties when shopping in store. Most retailers had a reassuring accessibility statement full of good intentions but they need to act further on this by implementing WCAG 2.0 to significantly improve accessibility. They should also consult with accessibility and UX experts to fully understand the needs of disabled customers and the technical solutions required to provide accessibility.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Tuesday February 28 2017 05:39 PM


Tags: webaccessibility


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Dev jobs at Focus

This is Focus are one of Bristol's longest established and trusted digital studios, trading since 1996. We provide accessible, content managed web sites and bespoke web applications to a wide range of sectors including local government, commercial organisations and charities. 

We are looking to expand our technical team who are responsible for creating and maintaining our products and systems. We have a number of opportunities for web developers with different levels of experience to join our friendly and enthusiastic company. We are keen to hear from people who might have several years of relevant programming experience including time spent in an agency, or experienced developers who might be looking to move into a supervisory / management role, or people who are looking to start their career in web development and digital.

Whatever your experience you must have a genuine passion for all things digital and a keenness to be part of an expanding and progressive agency who are increasing their market share within local government. We have a casual but professional office environment and you'll have access to the latest spec machines to work on. We run our projects using elements of agile and we are ISO9001:2008 certified.

We are delivering innovative and outstanding digital products and services to our customers; with the user experience and quality of our work at the heart of everything we do. The sort of things our tech team get stuck into include:

  • coding up complete projects from specification through to deployment.
  • new product design and development.
  • maintaining existing sites with updates, upgrades and fixes.
  • product design, including our own content management system and development of new / enhanced functionality.
  • working with business development teams on quotations and preparation of proposals, some liaison with key clients.
  • automated testing and web site optimisation.

Independent of your technical experience we're looking for people with:

  • a genuine interest in digital and a desire to join an enthusiastic, experienced team creating great products.
  • ongoing learning of new skills, techniques and technologies.
  • excellent communication skills and a demonstrable ability to manage your own schedule of work to meet deadlines and priorities.

We are interested in hearing from developers that cover any of these bases; so if you are experienced in a few of them, but have an interest in learning the others, we would be interested in talking to you - we don’t expect you to have experience in all the technologies we list:

  • we are exclusively Ruby on Rails for all back-end development.
  • we find ourselves doing more and more front-end scripting including Ionic / Angular (for hybrid app development), jQuery, vue.js, and others.
  • responsive site build in HTML5, CSS3 and Bootstrap and also some Sass.
  • MySQL.

We use Git and Gitlab to manage process and version control.

  • Servers are Linux, mainly RedHat / CentOS, running Passenger on Apache.
  • Development machines are either OSX-based, or Vagrant on Windows.
  • Elasticsearch for data searching / filtering.
  • CouchDB / PouchDB for data replication / offline applications

Benefits we can offer include:

  • generous starting salary dependent on skills and experience with regular salary reviews.
  • 23 days holiday, increasing 1 day with each full year of service, additional and extended Christmas and New Year holiday.
  • company pension scheme (from July 2017).
  • based in new offices located in Temple Quay, three minute walk from Temple Meads train station.
  • subsidised restaurant on site and other facilities.
  • attendance at relevant events and conferences.
  • choice of PC / Mac platforms, latest kit.
  • some flexible / remote working for the right candidate (for more experienced roles)
  • everyone makes a contribution and can make a difference.

If you are interested in finding out more or would like to log your interest with us, then please email us (using this link) in the first instance, with some summary details about your background and level of experience, the sort of role you are looking for and what's important to your working life.

We are likely to be arranging informal Skypes / chats over the phone initially and we are looking to appoint several roles over the next few months.

Agencies - please do not contact us about these or any roles. Please do not ignore this request to not contact us. Please do not cold-call or spam us about these roles, you will be wasting your valuable time.

Neil Smith
Neil

Created on Tuesday February 21 2017 02:15 PM


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