University of Wisconsin Gameday Football App another Accessibility Disappointment

As I’ve written here previously, I’m an alum of the University of Wisconsin and take pride in having attended the school and my degree. I’m also a sports fan so enjoy following the Wisconsin Badgers and fall Saturdays still remind me of the many rich traditions in Madison that go along with Badger football.

 

Today I noticed a tweet from @BadgerFootball talking about a new Wisconsin Football Gameday app to stay in touch with, as the name implies, happenings during Badger football games and more.

 

In just a few minutes of trying the app with Apple’s VoiceOver—a built-in screen reader on the iOS platform—it is a disappointment to see that the University of Wisconsin has once again failed to pay attention to accessibility. Blog readers can search the archives for my last adventures with the Wisconsin athletic department over accessibility issues with football broadcasts over the internet. The service used back then has once again been replaced and to the University’s credit they did provide me with work arounds when the accessibility issues with the broadcast streaming technology were identified.

 

One can only wonder what processes are or are not in place though to ensure University offerings are accessible. In the gameday app for example, one need only launch the app and use basic VoiceOver gestures of sweeping right to quickly find the accessibility problems. The first items encountered talk about tickets for a game against Northern Iowa. And as a note to UW staff, Northern has a typo in your app where you have it spelled Nothern.

 

After the first two sweep right gestures, all one finds with subsequent gestures of the same type is a series of seven nameless links. It is this basic problem that leads me to wonder about processes to ensure accessibility. Does the University know about VoiceOver? For apps created for the iOS platform, is VoiceOver compatibility a release requirement?

 

The nameless links on the app home screen are not the only issues encountered. As an example, following the second nameless link leads to an area of the app called Gameday. Within the Gameday area is a link for Rosters/Depth.

 

The team depth chart is exposed as one single object to VoiceOver and even worse, read as first a series of position indications and numbers followed by a list of player names. It is impossible to make sense of and even associate player names with their numbers. Major League Baseball has clearly demonstrated making team rosters readable with VoiceOver can be accomplished in their MLB At Bat iOS app.

 

As just one other example of a basic accessibility issue quickly discovered in the app, there are a series of buttons that appear in many locations. They have names that include “arrow left 72@2x” “arrow right 72@2x” and “but refresh 72@2x”. Obviously one can guess the purposes of these buttons but any reasonable accessibility support of an app would not include such nonsensical names.

 

I’ll start the process of outreach to individuals at Wisconsin. That said, it is a disappointment to see that this level of inaccessibility exists and something released by an institution under multiple legal requirements to support accessibility and an institution that has a publicly stated accessibility policy that would seem to imply that this app fails to comply.

Judge For Yourself, Is Ticketmaster Audio CAPTCHA Usable?

Much has been written about the accessibility challenges posed by CAPTCHA systems on the internet. Today the most common solution to address accessibility for individuals who are blind is to have some sort of audio replacement for the typical visual verification of characters in an image. Shortcomings of this solution aside, this is the system that Ticketmaster uses when you attempt to purchase tickets.

 

Recently I tried to buy tickets to a Seattle Mariners game and was confronted with the latest audio offered by Ticketmaster. The web site allows you to download the audio offered as an MP3 and I challenge anyone to actually decipher any words from this jumble of audio. To my ears this is utterly incomprehensible.

 

I understand the need to mask the audio to some degree but at some point the system still needs to be usable. This simply is not.

 

I hope MLB and Ticketmaster along with those pursuing accessibility improvements from MLB will take note of this problem and push for a change here.