Now that fall is here, it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming holiday season. This year we will be reviewing the websites and apps for Kohl’s and Petco.
As usual when you go on line, only use reputable websites and always be suspicious. Be careful with your payment information. If an offer sounds too good, if the language used is unprofessional, or if the format just doesn’t seem right, find out more before proceeding, or shop elsewhere.
Whether shopping on a website or through an app, you will need to be familiar with navigating by the shortcuts available in your screen reader of choice, including forms, headings, and links. Using shortcuts on an accessible website or app will substantially increase your navigation speed.
I used an MacBook Pro and an iPhone X for this article. The websites and apps discussed here may have changed between the time of my evaluation and the time of your reading.
Kohl’s is a department store chain featuring many product categories including clothing, housewares, toys, and jewelry.
The phone contact number is not on Kohl’s home page. To get help placing an order, call 855-564-5705. The help number is the same for both the website and the app
Shopping on the Kohl's Website
Kohl’s homepage has a lot of helpful information plus discount offers. To navigate the page, use form controls to locate the search form near the top. You can navigate using the many headings and links on the page as well, though headings navigation does not always work. There are numerous advertisements and you will need to use the Tab or Shift + Tab option to get out of an ad.
I decided to shop for a sweater and typed "petite sweater" in the search box. I did not have to press a Search button. A list of results appeared under the box. They were first presented as text, not links. By using the Down and Up Arrows, headings, or links, I was able to go through the results. There were only a few choices, the top products. Unfortunately, prices were not shown with the results, which is an inconvenience.
By clicking on the product link, I found the price and a promo code to save 20 percent. By using link and arrow navigation, I was able to find the buttons to select size and color and to add the item to my cart of my list. The product page also included a product description and reviews of each item. I could choose to have the item shipped to me or the closest Kohl’s. My purchase did not total the $75 required for free shipping, so I elected to send it to the store.
I kept shopping. Back on the search results page, I found links to women’s sweaters and recommendations for similar items at the top. I activated the sweaters link. After exploring the page with various methods including links and Arrow keys, I finally found the word "Petite." Once I selected it, a new screen loaded with sleeve lengths. The next screen showed me all kinds of women’s petite clothing including sweaters, tops, and blazers. There were many ways to sort including by color, neckline, occasion, and customer rating. I didn’t find what I wanted so I tried, without success, to go back two pages. After considerable wasted effort, I closed Safari and reloaded the Kohl’s home page.
This time on the Kohl’s home page, I decided to shop by department. I put the words “women’s sweaters” in the search box. Again I got the usual headings, not links. Headings included Women’s Petite Sweaters, Plus Size Women’s Sweaters, and different brands of sweaters. Again there was a list of links to top products.
I activated the Shop by Departments link and selected Women’s Clothing. The next screen gave sorting options such as Sweaters & Tops and Bottoms. I selected Sweaters & Tops and was able to sort further when the new screen loaded. Sorting parameters included by brand and by type of sweater. Below an ad was an option to list only petite sizes. More sorting options came up when I activated this item. I found the best way to navigate this whole process was by link or Arrow keys. Each result had the brand name, style (such as V-neck or cardigan), and price. The price was at the bottom of the listing, just below choice of sweater colors. Activating the sweater’s link brought up some information about the sweater and options to choose size and color. These details were located after the size and color options. Also on the page was a section showing other sweaters I might like. When I added the sweater to my cart, there was no feedback and the page did not reload. Using headings navigation, I was able to go to my cart quickly and found the item there.
The checkout process is straightforward. You have the option to remove an item from your shopping bag. If you have any difficulty, call the customer service number.
Shopping with the Kohl’s iOS App
The Kohl’s iOS app is available in the App Store app on your Apple mobile device. Search for "Kohl's"
When the app first loads, it will ask to use your location and whether you want to receive notifications. You then need to agree to Kohl’s terms of service. The app will ask for access to Bluetooth.
At the upper left corner of the app’s home screen is an Open Menu button. Activating it loads a screen with options including Create Account, Sign-In, and Offers. The Offers option gives information about Kohl’s Cash, gift cards, and other ways to save money. To close the menu, use the button in the upper right corner.
If you flick right past the menu button, there is a button to return to the home page and also a search box. The box has a Voice button for dictating your search. VoiceOver two-finger double tap also works there.
There are many links on the screen. Most of the first links relate to coupons, getting a Kohl’s charge card, and finding the nearest Kohl’s.
Further down the home screen are departments including Women’s, Men’s, and Home.
I tried the same search again, putting “petite sweater” in the search box. This time I was told there were 66 results. Each result had the price included, unlike the website. Above the results list there was a Filter & Sort button. Selecting it displayed a long list of sorting options including highest rated, price, and best sellers. I made my selection and activated the Apply button.
I selected a sweater. When the next screen loaded, a notification appeared with a code to enter at checkout for an additional 15 percent off. Below it were buttons to select size and color. Next was a Product Details button. This button does not bring up a new screen. Select the button and then flick right to read the item’s description.
The Add-to-Cart button is further down the page. When selected, the screen refreshes and VoiceOver indicates that the item had been added to the cart. Flick right to get to the shopping bag. There is a Back button in the upper left corner. The checkout button is further down the screen.
The checkout process is straightforward. There is also an option to pick up the order in-store.
The Kohl’s app is significantly easier to use than the website. There is less clutter and it is much easier to navigate search results. Live help is available, though it would be better if the Customer Service phone number were on the homepage.
Petco has products for many categories of pets including dogs, cats, reptiles, fish, and birds.
Petco’s customer service number is on their website homepage and is the same for both the site and the app: 877-738-6742.
Shopping on the Petco Website
Petco’s homepage has a search form consisting of an edit box and a Search button. The form is near the top of the page and can be accessed with forms navigation. Unfortunately, when I used form controls or Tab and Shift + Tab, it kept cycling through the form. Even when I entered a search term and executed the search, I had a similar problem on the email sign-up form. My advice is to stay away from both forms. Sometimes heading navigation did not always work. If I was on a heading and then went up to the previous heading, and then went back down to the initial heading, I did not always land in the same place. I had to go past the original heading and then come back up.
On the homepage are many links to special offers. Using the headings option, go to Shop by Pet. I selected Dog. When the new page loaded, there were many product categories including Toys, Dental Care, Food, Beds & Blankets. I selected Dental Care.
The new page was broken into several categories including Dental Dog Toys, Dog Toothbrushes & Toothpaste, and Dog Dental Chews and Treats. Next to each category was the number of items it contained. I selected Dental Chews & Treats. Then selected Greenies 3-Flavor Variety Pack Large Dog Dental Chews from the list.
Using link navigation, I found the manufacturer’s name and below it was basic information and an option to add the product to my cart. There was information about shipping and picking up in store. Next was information about similar products other people purchased. Next was product information about Greenies.
I added Greenies to my cart. When the new page loaded, VoiceOver said, “cart.” I found the checkout link.
The new page had an option to check out as a guest. The first edit box was for my email. If I tabbed to the next control, there were edit boxes for my user name and password. By going backwards, I discovered that the two edit boxes were for members and the only edit box I needed to fill in was one asking for my email. I tabbed forward to a Checkout button, but nothing happened. I then went back to the initial edit box and Shift + Tabbed to the Next button. When I went to add payment, I was told I could use Touch ID to use my credit card. I then continued with my order, except for actually purchasing the item.
Shopping with Petco’s iOS App
The Petco iOS app is available in the App Store app on your Apple mobile device. Search for "Petco."
When the app is opened for the first time, it will ask if it can use your location, if you want to receive alerts from Petco, and if you want to set up a pet profile. You do not have to make a profile decision at this point.
Petco’s app has five tabs at the bottom of the screen: Pets, Shop, Cart, Services, and Account. Use the Pet tab to add information about your pet, sign into your account, and shop for products. The Shop and Cart tabs are self-explanatory. The Services tab contains information about in-store services such as grooming. Use the Account tab to check your Petco Rewards, track shipments, and call customer service directly from your phone.
There is a search form at the top of the home screen. The form consists of an edit box. Type or dictate your search and press the Search button in the bottom right corner of the page. I entered "Greenies" in the search box. There is also an option to scan a bar code.
My results page had a heading that said "Greenies" and options for filtering results. Filter categories included Breed Size, Brand, and Flavor. There was a pop-up menu for sorting results. By default, items are sorted by relevance. Other choices included Price, Top Rated, and Most Popular.
Each listing had the product name, rating, price, manufacturer’s suggested price, and repeat delivery price. I selected the same Greenies product I chose on the website.
The product information page was easy to navigate. The product’s name was at the top of the page. The information was the same as on the website, but much easier to find and navigate. After reviewing the product, I activated the Add to Cart button. I went to the Cart tab at the bottom of the screen. Without opening it, I heard the number of items in my cart.
It is also easy to shop by pet instead of using the search form. Everything is clearly labeled. Flick right past the search form and other information, and you will find the Shop by Pet options.
I activated the Cart tab and selected Checkout as Guest. I then activated the Add New Shipping Address button to begin the checkout process. The rest of the checkout process was straightforward and accessible.
The Petco app is easier to use than the website. Unfortunately, the only way to navigate it is to either slide your finger on the screen or flick with one finger. It is a plus that the customer service number can be found on the website’s home page and can easily be found in the Account tab on the app.
The Bottom Line
In years of writing the AccessWorld online shopping articles, I have found that apps tend to be much more accessible and easier to navigate than websites. This is definitely true for both Kohl’s and Petco. Fortunately, both companies have live help if you need assistance. Kudos to Petco for having the customer service phone number on their website’s homepage and in the Account tab in their app.
This article is made possible in part by generous funding from the James H. and Alice Teubert Charitable Trust, Huntington, West Virginia.
- Amazon and Target Offer One-Stop Shopping Apps for Holiday Gifts by Janet Ingber
- AccessWorld 2018 Holiday Gift Guide by Deborah Kendrick
More by this author:
- iOS 12: An Overview from an Accessibility Perspective
- New Operating Systems for the Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV