Each Wednesday, we will be bringing you an article of interest as it
pertains to the topic of accessibility and we hope you can use
it to become more familiar with this particular area.
This has become a rapidly growing and very important area and why?
Because the number of consumers in this market is growing and will continue
to do so for the forseeable future.
Governments, corporations, and individuals are paying more attention.
Please read on.
The Sterling Creations team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld.
Contributed by Dan thompson
Evaluating the Accessibility of Jet, a New Online Shopping Site
If you’re like me, you are doing more and more of your shopping online. It’s
far more convenient than trekking down to the store. You don’t need sighted
help to find what you’re
looking for, the selection is larger, and best of all, purchases are
delivered straight to your front door.
Currently, Amazon is the king of online retailers, but recently a new player
entered the online shopping arena. It’s called
, and their model is a bit different than Amazon’s.
The Jet model factors in the location of the warehouse that stocks your
desired purchases. It also factors in quantity. Since their shipping charges
will be roughly the same whether
you order a single item or a dozen, Jet increases your discount as you add
more items to your cart. They also feature Smart Cart items, which are
popular items available from the
shipping depot nearest you. You can additionally add a few cents savings to
each item by opting out of their free returns. Smart Cart items arrive in
two days; the others take three to
four days. Shipping is free with a $35 minimum order. Initially, Jet charged
a $50 annual membership fee, but recently they removed this charge;
membership is now free for all.
Accessibility of the Jet Site and Mobile Apps
Jet offers website shopping, along with both
I recently placed three orders, one on the web and the other two with the
mobile apps. Here’s what I found.
Creating a Jet account was as simple as entering an e-mail address, zip
code, and password. The site included a “Show password” option, which made
things even easier. From
here you can search for items and add them to your cart. Shipping and
billing information is not required until the first time you check out. At
the time of this writing, Jet offered 15
percent off your first purchase of $35 or more (this offer appears to be
available until February 1, 2016).
The Jet site has not been optimized at all for accessibility. There is no
use of headings or other quick navigation keys. I found the best way to
quickly move to the search results was
to do a text search for “sort by” which places the cursor just above the
first entry. Above the cursor position are several search and filter
options. Searching for soap, for example, I
could filter the results by category, such as health and beauty, family
size, brand, color, and specialty soaps, such as alcohol-free,
hypoallergenic, and aroma therapy. I could also
filter to view only those results that were available to me via two-day
Unfortunately, once you have clicked on an item, navigation is still not
particularly easy. You must either Tab repeatedly or use your screen
reader’s search hotkey to find the product
description and the Add to Cart link. The increase and decrease quantity
controls are also unlabeled links located to either side of the current
quantity ordered. Pressing either of
these only refreshes the quantity number, however, the page does not refresh
and cause you to lose your place.
As mentioned, as your order size increases, the price decreases. At the time
of this writing a 15.5 pound bag of Beneful Original Dog Food costs $13.36.
Order two bags and the
total decreases by $.66; the discount for three bags is $1.35. Of course you
may not wish to order three bags of dog food in a single order, but adding
other items to your cart also
increases your total savings, which is accessibly displayed near the top of
the cart page. When you want to access your shopping cart directly from a
page, look for the number of
items in your cart, which displays near the top of the page just beneath
your zip code–this is the actual cart link.
Returns are free for any reason. Jet even pays shipping. If you are willing
to forego the free return option, you can save just a tiny bit more. This
amount seems to be based on how
likely you are to return an item. I am not likely to suffer buyer’s remorse
over a bag of dog food. Consequently, foregoing free returns only saves me a
penny per bag. A stainless
steel canister set costing $33 offers a $.41 savings for no returns. A $518
Acer touch screen laptop offers $11.40. Note: Items that arrive damaged can
always be returned.
The site turns over merchandise quickly. A few items I had added to my cart
displayed as no longer available when I logged into my saved items a day
after I added them. Within a
day, however, they were again available.
I was able to accessibly enter my shipping and payment information and
complete my purchase. During one instance when I tried to enter a promotion
coupon I could not get it to
stick. Jet offers phone support, however, and this turned out to be a known
issue; the representative, known as a Jet Head, activated the discount.
Most of my items arrived in the allotted time. A few arrived late, but only
by a day or two. Items were exceptionally well packed, bottles and jars
arrived inside plastic seal bags with jar
lids wrapped in tape. My only objection to the shipping packaging was the
company’s tendency to pack items in the new, no fun here, unpoppable bubble
The iOS and Android apps were simultaneously easier to use and considerably
more difficult. Running the iOS app with VoiceOver, the app had a tendency
to crash when I scrolled
rapidly, or when I neared the end of a results list that was 10 or more
pages long. My saved items were still in the cart when I reopened the app,
however. I did not experience these
crashes running the Android app.
Both apps have a number of unlabeled buttons. Most notably, the iOS app’s
search button appears unlabeled just beneath the Categories heading, the
actual “Categories” button just
above. Once found it was easy to keep track of from that point on. Category
and product searches are the best way to shop using the iOS app. VoiceOver
could not access the home
screen featured items; Android had no trouble with these controls. The
Android app did not display the remove item from cart controls, however.
Basically, at this point shopping Jet using either the iOS or Mobile app is
problematic at best. I did enjoy using the apps for browsing. Since they do
not have affiliate stores, the
selection is not as daunting as a typical Amazon “We found 3,145 results for
your search.” I also found the iOS app the easiest to use for editing the
cart and making the purchase.
Android users may wish to switch to the website for completing an order.
Tracking numbers were included in the shipped notification e-mails, so it
was easy to add these shipments to my Shiprack package tracking app so I
would know when to expect
Finally, it would seem, Amazon has some viable competition. This can only
enhance service and help keep prices at their lowest. A few business
analysts have opined that Jet is
currently selling many items below their costs. Indeed, I do have to wonder
how long free shipping will be available on a 20-pound box of cat litter.
But as I recall, for years Amazon
sold below their costs to build market share, so in the long run, sometimes
this sort of model does succeed.
For me Jet is most useful for purchasing bulk items, or heavy items I don’t
want to carry home, such as paper towels, cat food and litter, trash bags
and the like. If I were making a
large purchase, such as a new TV or laptop, I would also use Jet as one of
my price comparison sites.
Despite some serious accessibility issues, I am giving Jet a tentative
recommendation. The apps are free, and if they don’t work for you, there is
always the web interface to fall back
on for a test purchase or two.
Hopefully, the company is aware of their accessibility failings and is
working hard to address them. If you’d care to give them a friendly nudge,
here are a few places to get started.
Company Contact Information
Phone: 1 (855) 538-4323