Amazon Accessibility

So if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know about my fairly recent addiction haha! I think I first ordered from Amazon months ago, just to give it a try. But it wasn’t until recently that I really started using it. Back when I first started using it, I could review items. It was tricky, and not clear, but I was able to select stars. Well, they’ve done something and now I can no longer select stars, and therefore, can’t review. I rely heavily on customer reviews. Product descriptions usually suck, so I read the reviews to get a better description of the product. I won’t buy anything with less than 4 stars.

Recently I wrote to Amazon and I cannot for the life of me remember why. I must have been in that winter fog or something, and I didn’t keep what I wrote. But I did keep the reply, which mentioned their “accessible site” which I looked at for a minute and laughed. It’s the mobile site, and it sucks. Now, I use the mobile Facebook, and I like it. I don’t get all that fluff. The here is a pretty sparkly star to decorate your wall because you are a shining star, stuff. But with Amazon, I want the fluff. I want to review items.

So yesterday I got an email asking me to rate the seller of a recent purchase. I didn’t think it would work, but I followed the link, and low and behold, the stars option worked like a charm. It had clearly labeled links. I was able to rate all my sellers, including the dreaded ring seller. They all got glowing reviews, except the ring siller who got a 2. But I digress. I thought, maybe if that worked, I can review products now. Nope. Still the same. I even tried group mode with Alex to no avail.

So I dug out that email they had sent in reply to the email I can’t remember writing, and I wrote their accessibility department. Below is the email they sent me weeks ago, followed by the email I sent last night. They actually did make a great change to their “my orders” page, which I pointed out. I’ve got a few more suggestions for them if they write back. I’ll update here as this goes. Blinks, if you have any issues with Amazon you’d like to address, the following email from them has their accessibility email address, or you can tell me and I’ll include it in any future correspondence. You know I live for this stuff 😉

Oh, I had copied and pasted the email address because for some reason clicking it didn’t work. There is a period right after .com so make sure you delete that.

***

Hello from Amazon.com.

Thank you very much for your feedback. While the Amazon.com website is generally usable for people with screen readers, we’re always looking for ways to improve usability of the site for all customers, including those with disabilities. To that end, we have formed an alliance with the National Federation of the Blind to work together to improve the accessibility of our website platform in the coming months and years.

In case you weren’t aware, Amazon.com has for many years offered a different version of our site optimized for screen readers and mobile devices at: www.amazon.com/access

We’ve also gathered together products for the visually impaired (such as large print and Braille books, and voice-recognition software). I hope you find this store helpful: www.amazon.com/visuallyimpaired

We always appreciate suggestions on how we can improve the shopping experience at Amazon.com, and I’m forwarding your feedback to the team responsible for website accessibility. If you have additional feedback for our website accessibility team, you may contact them directly at accessibility-feedback@amazon.com.

Please Note: We cannot respond personally to messages sent to the feedback e-mail address. If you have a question or need help with your account or an open order, please contact Customer Service by visiting our Help pages at www.amazon.com/help and clicking the Contact Us button in the left-hand column.

Thank you for shopping at Amazon.com.

***

Hi there, 

I am blind and use a screen reader. I recently became very active on Amazon as it is so convenient for me to shop independently. However, I’m having some issues. I used to be able to leave reviews for products, but I can no longer select the number of stars. There is nothing to select. I just heard “please select stars” or something. Today, I was asked to leave seller feedback, and there I could select stars. They appeared as links I could click, with a clear description. I was hoping this would work for products now, but it did not. 

I use an Apple computer with Voiceover and Leopard with Safari. 

I find the mobile site an insult as a solution for screen reader users. It leaves out options, such as writing reviews at all. This might be fine for mobile devices, but as a screen reader user, I want the same options as sighted users. Please do not suggest I use that site. 

I do have a compliment though. I really like the new “my orders” page. This set up is lovely! First, I can navigate my orders by heading, which is great. Additionally, I love the “track your package” link. It is wonderful to have the latest tracking information so readily available. I would love to see the heading option on the main search pages, as scrolling to different products is quite tedious. I’ve heard this complaint among other blind people as well. 

I will never stop using Amazon. I wish to tell you though, that I’ve had countless screen reader users tell me they won’t even touch Amazon, which is a shame. If I can help in any way, I would love the opportunity. I would also like to leave reviews because I rely on reviews to buy things. Product descriptions are usually pretty weak, so I rely on what others say, and would like to do the same for the wonderful products I have found. 

Thank you very much for your time and consideration of my suggestions. 

***

Well I just listened to their email again, and it sounds like they won’t respond directly from the accessibility email. Hmmm. But, the same thing was true with Facebook, and I had a human write me, so here’s hoping.

Also, I had forgotten that the NFB was involved. I wonder if the NFB thought the mobile site was good enough. Ick. I’m all ACB all the time hahaha!

1 Comment

Filed under ACB, accessibility, advocacy, Alex, Amazon, assistive technologies, letters, proud geek, screen reader, Voiceover

One Response to Amazon Accessibility

  1. Go you! Good on you for being honest about their mobile site.

    I would be shocked if the NFB was down with the mobile site as an option, but ya never can tell.

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