Tesco.com Redesign - Two Sides to the Story

So, there was a radio piece about the new Tesco Access site. It didn’t paint an altogether pretty picture (to use a visual term for a no-visual topic!):

I would say this site technically is probably accessible, it probably does meet most of the triple A compliance requirement. What they’ve not done and what they’ve forgotten to do is do basic usability testing. That wasn’t the only problem I found. I also found, for instance, if you inadvertently hit the return key it takes you to a place you don’t want to be, so then if you use alt left arrow to go back you get timed out. Speaking to other visually impaired people over the weekend there were also issues when you go to check out. What strikes me Gary here, more than anything else, is it just hasn’t been properly user tested.

The full transcript is here. But is that really a true reflection? Emphasis added is mine

The first guest, Tom, was on-air as a customer ? but actually was not a customer but a journalist who was also involved with creating accessible web sites. Indeed he blatantly advertised services at the end of the interview which was thankfully cut. However Tom had recorded himself blundering about the new Tesco Access site using a screen reader (called ?JAWS?) that he didn’t know how to use. People who know how to use JAWS have no problem with Tesco Access but his failure to know even basic key combination spoke volumes. At least he admitted he found new key combinations as he tried the Tesco Access site! His interview was hostile to Tesco ? he had spent a week and a half trying to find the Tesco Access site despite the fact that it’s the first link from the home page but only for vision-impaired customers who have their screen reader read it out to them (it’s presently hidden from sighted use but can be reached directly by accessing www.tesco.com/access as it has for the last six years).

Quite by chance, I was discussing the various ongoings at Tesco with one of their contracted developers on Thursday night who, quite by chance, was working with an ex-colleague of mine at Nationwide. Both had been pushing 100-hour weeks to get things right with Tesco of, so I’m pleased to see that Tesco’s IT Manager felt able to express his feelings about this and redress the balance somewhat.

Filed under: Accessibility
Posted by Ian on Monday, June 19, 2006

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