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Online Shopping: Practical and Fun for the Blind

January 28, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker


Karen informs and inspires us all to enjoy the accessibility and convenience of shopping online.


Shopping is something we all have to do. Some like to shop more

than others. Women especially like to shop, browse, do lunch and spend

a lot of money. I have never been one to spend the day shopping from store to store. In fact, it is one of my least favorite things to do! Shopping is one of those life activities we all have to do on a

regular basis. Whether it be Grocery shopping, buying products for the

home, or gifts for friends or Family. , Its something that needs to be

done. Some of us enjoy it more than others.


For those of you who do not like to shop or just want to save time, Shop online! It is especially practical for the blind and actually can be a lot of fun. If you have access to a computer and know how to use the Internet, why not check out some of these online web sites? If you are not computer literate, this may be another incentive to begin to hop on the information highway and surf the net. Furthermore, you will avoid traffic, crowds and the need of a Customer Service clerk to assist you. This is one activity that you can do alone, with complete

independence! No one needs to describe the products for you, the items listed on well designed shopping sites have a description that enables the blind to know the specifications and other details of the products. Not only does one not need a clerk, but one does not have to worry about waiting for a bus or ride. One can shop in the privacy of their home, at any time day or night. This is extremely practical and efficient for anyone, especially for the blind and others whom are disabled.


Darrell and I do the majority of our shopping online. The holidays are the best time to shop online. There are dozens of sales and one does not have to deal with the crowds. Moreover, if you feel as if you do not have enough time on your hands to accomplish all the things that you want and need to do during the

day, think about shopping online. You could clean house or read a good book while you wait for your groceries to be delivered! You could also baby-sit and shop online at home. These are just a few ways to manage your time.


Take a minute and click that mouse, or press that key! Explore. You will see the world through another window! One that is accessible to the blind as well as the sighted. The following represent examples of accessible online shopping sites:


It is important to understand that, sadly, there remain a large number of businesses on the Internet that have not yet made the accessibility choice! The sites mentioned above are reasonably accessible for all. We are currently unable to endorse any specific web sites in this story as our ability to use them is based solely on personal experience rather than any objective review of their accessibility. Have fun and let me

know what you think!

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4 opinions on “Online Shopping: Practical and Fun for the Blind

  1. Hey wow, that Accessibility site for amazon is pretty amazing! Is there a direct URL for that, or how did you guys find it on their site? Tina E, who has finally been reading your Blog, *grin*

  2. Hi Karen and Darrell. This is a little late for a comment on online shopping I suppose, but here goes anyway. Last week I decided to do some online grocery shopping using Peapod, a very accessible online grocer that has locations in a few states but their headquarters is in Skokie, Illinois. Their website was previously inaccessible to screen readers. But a life skills tutor I have went with me to Peapod headquarters to meet with someone in their IT department to talk accessibility. I had previously shown my tutor a little bit about JAWS, and we worked with this guy and I told him what he needed to do to make http://www.peapod.com accessible. So last week my tutor and I placed an order of groceries, but we didn’t use JAWS only because we were short on time. I did, however, have a detailed look at the site immediately following the delivery of my groceries. I am happy to report that, not only was the delivery successful and not only do I have all the groceries I had requested, but the website now looks a lot better. There is still some work to do, but the next time I order from Peapod I will be able to do it all myself. This morning I sent the IT representative an email thanking him for a job well done, and he responded and said if I have any other questions, please let him know.

  3. It is time the poster reporting progress with the peapod site go back into their head quarters, and work their contacts, because I have just experienced lots of head aches in trying to buy groceries. This was fully accessible to me, a blind computer user, but not I am completely unable to get at items on the site.

    Feel free to contact me at

    iamantonio@cox.net

    because if the site is indead inaccessible, it must become easily useable by blind people again.

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