WebAIM Aids eBay Accessibility Efforts

WebAIM is excited that eBay has recently launched a set of enhancements to its web site that makes the buying and selling experience more accessible. Users can list, search, navigate, select, and purchase an item on the eBay web site with greater ease. In April and May, WebAIM staff traveled to eBay’s corporate headquarters in San Jose to provide customized training to their web site developers, quality assurance engineers, designers, and product managers. We had a great experience in training the teams, and meeting with the eBay accessibility core team that coordinates the accessibility initiatives across the company.

eBay’s company-wide accessibility training program has been updated to address web accessibility. We are enthused by this momentum and are pleased to see more web sites support the needs of individuals with disabilities.

We applaud eBay for their strong commitment to web accessibility and for the opportunity WebAIM has had to provide training resources to support their accessibility initiative.

Read the press release: eBay and National Federation of the Blind Partner to Increase Ecommerce Job Opportunities

Comments

  1. Shimone Samuel

    Thanks Jared, I consider it a real privilege to have had the opportunity to gain such valuable knowledge from you and Jon on multiple occasions.

    For those reading, I (personally) highly recommend WebAim’s training, their style and breadth of topic fills you with knowledge that extends far beyond ‘textbook’ – even if you’re a seasoned developer with a strong grasp of the essentials. WebAim teaches the fundamentals of everyday Web Developer best-practices for accessibility and then gets to the heart of real-world scenarios, expanding your knowledge of accessibility from theoretical to practical.

    Best regards,
    Shimone Samuel

  2. Olivier Nourry

    Hi Jared,

    this is excellent news indeed, that a site as large and as visible as eBay.com, has embraced accessibility. I find it utterly interesting that training actions have included the customers support staff, as this is often overlooked and neglected.
    And congrats to you all at WebAIM for achieving this!

    I have a few questions, though…
    1. My understanding is that this applies to ebay.com, and will benefit to American users primarily. Do you know about propagation to local versions of eBay? Our ebay.fr, which I use frequently, makes no mention of accessibility at all. My search of this term in the help pages returned no result.
    2. I have always thought that the biggest, possibly unbeatable, challenge, was the content (hence the code) provided by users. On eBay, there are heaps of it, and they are the core of this business. How will eBay deal with it?
    3. Paypal is a favorite payment mode on eBay, and as you know it, it’s part of the eBay galaxy. I have friends, screen reader users, who just step off Paypal for they find it unfriendly to them. Honestly, I haven’t tested it against accessibility yet, so I take their word for it. Do you know if there are plans about Paypal accessibility as well?

    Cheers,
    Olivier

  3. Jared Smith

    Olivier-

    I’m limited in the details I can provide about eBay corporations more extensive accessibility plans or our continued collaboration with them. I can say, however, that they are approaching accessibility in the right way with a strong commitment and thorough implementation of accessibility knowledge throughout the organization. As you note, they have very significant hurdles, but I believe we’ll see continued and significant improvement over time throughout the company, including PayPal. We’re happy to be a small part of this.

    User-provided content will always pose unique challenges. You can’t force users to provide accessible content, but you can support, encourage, and educate about accessibility in your authoring environment.

  4. Olivier Nourry

    Thanks for the feedback, Jared.
    I have to agree with your statement about user-provided content. That’s definitely what should be aimed for, now and for the long term.
    It would be of course useful to support this with an embedded authoring tool that prevents most of the possible accessibility infrigements. But that can not prevent poor writing, uncontrasted color combinations, or bad taste when it comes to images (did they catch the guy who invented the animated GIFs, finally?). Moreover, I’m afraid ebay would be criticized for obliterating creativity — heck, we hear that from web so-called professionals, don’t we?
    It might be reasonably efficient to explain why a yellow text on a white background, or blinking smileys, can ruin your item description; but again, it’s not easily accepted either. Even among the same said professionals…

    By any means, I would be mightily interested by feedbacks and case studies about how this problem has been dealt with by other players, and with which results.

    Thanks again,
    Olivier

  5. hawaii12

    This is excellent news indeed, that a site as large and as visible as eBay.com, has embraced accessibility. I find it utterly interesting that training actions have included the customers support staff, as this is often overlooked and neglected.
    And congrats to you all at WebAIM for achieving this!.. :)

  6. Monica Guy

    Great news and congratulations on your hard work to help achieve this!

    What is the state of play with other big sellers like Amazon?

    The only slight criticism I have with eBay’s accessibility page is that it’s rather hidden away in the resources section. If someone was really using a screen reader to browse the site, I’m not sure they’d actually find the information…

    Still, all good steps in the right direction.

  7. justacomment

    @Monica
    My guess is that’s one of the goals… to not require the screen reader user to find the ‘accessibility page’ to learn how to use the site; rather, the site should be accessible from the start and there shouldn’t be any additional instruction needed. The resource page with some high-level instructions is probably more of a back up and show that eBay has some supportive instructions if needed. Maybe it was written more for the purpose to explain how to simply use the site (which arguably shouldn’t be needed either) for those unfamiliar with eBay. Just some thoughts.

    By the way i actually know some of the team members at eBay and am impressed at what they’ve accomplished with such a small team that began working on this.

  8. SEO Training Bangalore

    Good The only slight criticism I have with eBay’s accessibility page is that it’s rather hidden away in the resources section. If someone was really using a screen reader to browse the site, I’m not sure they’d actually find the information…

  9. Paul

    Kudos, Jared/WebAIM/eBay/NFB!

    I’m not an eBay user, but am delighted for your collective efforts toward improving eBay’s accessibility and usability.

    While I won’t dispute — ’cause I don’t doubt it from person experience using it — the claim/suggestion that PayPal is less than fully accessible, as measured against WCAG or 508, January through August of this year, I did have success in using it independently (with my iMac, Heather, and Voiceover) first to register an account and then to pay some monthly bills for a few months Perhaps those scared away were using some inferior, expensive screen reader…

  10. Online

    This is indeed a great accomplishment, wish we can see these thing more often.