Online Groceries: A Convenience to an Obstacle

Online Groceries: A Convenience to an Obstacle

May 4, 2020 2:18:00 PM

WASHINGTON (May 4, 2020) - Online shopping, once thought of as a convenience, has become an essential service for many but it may be presenting more obstacles than solutions.  In some cases, online shopping may be the only way that some persons with disabilities and senior citizens have access to groceries and other necessities in order to avoid contact with the coronavirus.  The problem – the majority of websites are inaccessible to people who may need to use assistive technology, such as a screen reader, or keyboard navigation to place their grocery orders.

Many consumers are already complaining about limited delivery windows, but for some persons with disabilities, they may not even be able to add items to their cart.  Like many businesses, grocers may not have considered persons who use assistive technologies when building their website.  Now, however, that issue is exacerbated by the proliferation of online ordering.

"As a volunteer delivery service, accessibility is always front of mind. Many of the people we serve are living with disabilities that make it difficult to engage with delivery services online. We are constantly learning more and adapting our policies to be more accessible to everyone in need of our services during this pandemic,” said Liam Elkind, co-founder of Invisible Hands. “User1st has been essential to this process, advising us on accessibility and helping us develop a widget for our website to make our service disabled-friendly."

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Written by Raegan Bartlo