SPECIAL VALENTINE'S REPORT
by AFB Staff
AFB Puts Match.com, eHarmony, and Love is Blind to the Accessibility Test
By Adrianna Montague-Gray, AFB Communications, and Marc Grossman, AFB Consulting
With Valentine's upon us—that time of year when everyone's talking about relationships and dating—I was curious about the accessibility of online dating sites, so I asked my colleague Marc Grossman to help me evaluate a few. We didn't do a formal evaluation of each. Instead we looked at the homepages of Match.com, eHarmony, and Love is Blind, and tried to sign up for these sites' services using the JAWS screen reader on Marc's computer.
We started with Match.com, one of the most popular dating sites on the web. At first, things were looking good. Match makes good use of headings, and most of the links, edit boxes, and controls on the site were well labeled. But then, we started hitting some bumps. First, the "sign up" and "subscribe" buttons were not clearly labeled, which made it hard to locate them without sighted assistance. But the kicker came at the end of the sign-up process where we hit a CAPTCHA—the inaccessible, visual verification tool designed to keep spam out of systems. Though Match offers an 800 number (1-800-838-9045) for sight-impaired people who cannot read the CAPTCHA, it's not a working number. We tried it three times and got the same "out of service" recording!
From there we moved to Love is Blind, an online matchmaking site for blind and visually impaired people. This site was an accessibility dream in comparison. Links, edit boxes, and controls were well labeled. The site was clutter free and had a clean design. Unfortunately, we were constantly being reminded that we were not running the latest version of Adobe Flash. This file type is not supported by the W3C guidelines and efforts should be made to come up with a suitable workaround.
Our last stop was eHarmony, a site that asks users to fill out a very long compatibility survey before sending potential love interests their way. The good news is eHarmony doesn't use a CAPTCHA for their sign-up process. But the site was a little disorienting to navigate because it doesn't make use of headings or other markup. In addition, "register to begin" was an unlabeled graphic, which made it near impossible to find the sign up page. But once we did, the combo-boxes and edit fields and radio buttons all had clear labels. We wanted to check out the accessibility of the rest of the site, but we couldn't make it through the questionnaire. It was just too long!
So how many Cupids do these sites get for accessibility?
Here is Marc's conclusion:
Love Is Blind gets four Cupids for accessibility but could easily jump to a perfect five if they would develop a workaround for the Flash barrier.
The eHarmony site earns three Cupids for accessibility. While a few of the problems were annoying and slowed me down, with only minor persistence, I was able to navigate the site.
Match.com would have also earned three Cupids—as most of the site is well labeled and easy to navigate—but with its inaccessible CAPTCHA and out-of-service help number, I have no choice but to give it one Cupid.
But we're hoping all these sites show us some love this Valentine's Day by fixing their accessibility problems.
Now, how to convince my wife that I was on these sites for "research purposes ."
- In the News
Re: SPECIAL VALENTINE'S REPORTPosted by enuviague on 6/15/2011 at 10:17 AM
Thanks for the websites.
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