In my first
article for TechTrax, I wrote about how to make web sites accessible. One
of the sites I pointed out was in need of overhauling has either heard about
me, or woke up and smelled the accessibility coffee.
So, I want to, this month, interrupt the AOL train and talk a bit about this
I'm talking about www.amazon.com
here. Just this past month, they introduced a "text only" version
of their web site. I would love my delusions of grandeur to overwhelm me and
say it was because they read my article, but I choose to have my head continue
to be able to fit through the door, you know? (Although, we did make
sure their webmaster received a copy!)
So, let's get down to business.
First of all, while this idea is very helpful, Amazon isn't being very helpful.
The link for their "text only" site is near the bottom of the main
page at http://www.amazon.com
Why? I don't really know, but I sure would love hear the reasoning. It's bad
enough the site is so exceedingly cluttered with links, but to have to go through
over 100 links to find one is inexcusable. The only saving grace is the ability
of screen readers to compile and create a list of links for the user to skim
through much like a typical Windows list view.
Now, that being said, we move on to the actual site, the link (mentioned above)
for which is labeled "text only, just so you (the reader) knows.
After clicking on the text only link you, the browser, are presented
with a stripped down version of the amazon site.
The first thing we notice is that, unlike the original main page, the links
(equally as numerous at the text only site as they are at the regular
Amazon site), are actually properly labeled, which was a major gripe I had when
I wrote my first
article. These links, though numerous to excess, are clearly defined, totally
intuitive and useful, as well as user friendly. Now, if only there were fewer.
All of the features are available: listening to song clips, reading track listings,
reviews, and other pertinent information. Some of the pages even seem to have
less clutter. Problem is the excessive number of links on any given page negates
the positive aspect of this.
Amazon has made a step in the right direction. It is a very clean text; and
even though there is an over-abundance of that text, the site is far more usable
with software screen readers.
Now, if only Amazon would pick up its clutter.