Last night, while I was working hard at online shopping, I visited the Web site for Macy’s Department Store. At the bottom of their home page, it says “Visually Impaired Customers: Download Our New User Assistance Tool.” I was not able to access it from the iPhone so I made note to check it out while at work the next morning.
That brings us to the present. I visited the Macy’s site again and clicked on the assistance tool link. Here’s what it says:
Introducing Easy Web Browsing
Easy Web Browsing is software that helps people who have some types of vision impairments to access Web sites more comfortably. Specifically, this product can:
- Magnify text that you point to with the mouse.
- Read the magnified text aloud.
The Easy Web Browsing software includes several other assistive functions.
The feature was not available for any Internet browser other than Internet Explorer (IE). So, I closed Google Chrome and reloaded the page in IE and installed the program.
Okay, time to start shopping….almost. The program itself takes quite a few minutes to load at the home page, and continues to take time as you go from page to page. At the top of my screen was a big green box that had several features in it. I could zoom into the Macy’s page up to 600%, but images and text were pixelated and slightly fuzzy. If I placed my cursor over “womens” the computer gave a beep and said “womens.” In terms of screen reading the program was able to find all parts on the Web site except for the flash advertisement at the top of the page.
As someone who uses a computer on a day-to-day basis and as someone who has good vision, I was able to navigate the Easy Web Browsing software with minimal headache. A person who wanted to use this program and has low vision might need extra assistance with installation and navigation.
This effort on the part of Macy’s is honorable as it seems the company has started paying attention to where their customer’s are and their demographics. As Macy’s merchandise caters to all ages, their Web site must as well. I hope to see other Web sites take the initiative to offer a FREE software such as this. Comment with other Web sites that have accessibility features or let me know how you felt when you tried out the Easy Web Browsing from Macy’s.