Randy from Accessible Devices has informed us that the QVC home shopping network is beta testing a significantly updated web site. While the current site is accessible to blind shoppers, the beta site is apparently not so great. We have just submited a short note to the QVC webmasters asking that they keep in mind the accessibility needs of their blind customers. A response has been explicitly requested, so please stay tuned for any updates. In the meantime, all blind and visually impaired QVC shoppers are asked to immediately complete this contact form asking QVC to continue reasonably accomodating and retaining their blind and visually impaired customers by ensuring the ongoing accessibility of the web site. One quick note from an accessible evangelist is only the very beginning, but it is not even close to sufficient as an ending step. If you are blind or visually impaired, and you shop with QVC, please fill out the form requesting web site accessibility right now.
Isn’t it a sad commentary on the state of accessibility when the words update or upgrade are met with excitement by everyone else, but those same words are met with trepidation by blind people?
I have a question. And, although it isn’t about QVC, it does concern visual verification on the web, so I guess this is as good of a place as any to ask.
Anyway, I know, shall we say, less than zero about making web sites accessible. Thus, if I were to leave feedback on a web site regarding visual verification and we blind consumers not being able to benefit from their products or services, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be much help to someone from the company trying to contact me for suggestions with fixing their site. And, if I’m not able to give both informative and helpful feedback, then how am I to approach the situation with the business?
For example, I had purchased candy from this site:
several months ago. The transaction went well, and I was quite pleased with the company. They delivered quickly, sent me a tracking number when the package shipped, charged my credit card right away rather than waiting a month or so and of course the chocolate arrived without any melting along the way and was very good to eat.
However, when I went back to the site a few weeks ago, they had one of those visual verification places where one could type in the numbers, and there were no instructions for one to follow if they couldn’t see those numbers. So, although this of course educated noone, I went to another site and placed the order. And, although I did get my product quite quickly, I received no UPS tracking number, and they waited just about a month before charging my credit card.
The comments you posted about the web site of the candy company would be an excellent starting point for a letter to that company concerning your loss of access caused by their inaccessible visual verification. If something is inaccessible to you, please, just write the company and ask them to resolve the issue, so that you will be afforded the ability to make purchases and participate, as is automatically allowed for the sighted.
You do not need to be technical in order to provide accessibility feedback. Just ask the business to reasonably accomodate accessibility needs. If you have ideas on how that can be accomplished, please do share those. If you receive a response asking for technical help, well, Blind Access Journal and others are here to help facilitate the nuts and bolts of getting this done.
Similarly, if you receive no response at all or a blatant negative response, please do share that with us at Blind Access Journal. I would love, for instance, for you to send me a private message with the name and web site of that candy company. I would write them a letter asking that they make their visual verification scheme accessible so that blind people will be afforded an opportunity to be customers just like everyone else.
Some are technical, while most of us are not. I am not the most technical person in the community. When I get a response on an access issue, or just want to provide some feedback of a technical nature, I run these things by Jeff Bishop and others in the community who are even more technical than myself.
In all cases, anytime any of us come across an accessibility barrier that is blocking our ability to participate, it is our social responsibility to write the company involved asking that they take steps to reasonably accomodate us. We ought to do that both for ourselves and our blind brothers and sisters.