Platforms and Youth With Disabilities: Usability and digital accessibility testing

Following the qualitative research, this part of the research focused on the usability testing and digital accessibility compliance testing of three of the most popular e-commerce platforms in Kenya (PigiaMe, Jiji and Jumia).



This report documents two parts of the research project: usability testing and digital accessibility compliance testing. 

The usability testing explored the ease-of-use of three of the most popular e-commerce platforms in Kenya: Jumia, Jiji, and PigiaMe. Sellers with disabilities (including visual impairment, hearing impairment, and physical disability) completed a series of tasks representative of selling on online platforms, and their completion (or noncompletion) of those tasks was used to generate usability scores for each platform, disaggregated by disability type and specific task. In addition to the testing, participants were asked qualitative interview questions to better understand their experiences as sellers with disabilities. 

Overall, the usability testing results show that the platforms have poor usability for visually impaired sellers, especially those who use screen readers. PigiaMe earned higher usability ratings than both Jiji and Jumia across all groups, but still presented some difficulties for sellers with disabilities (e.g., lack of labeled images, poor color contrast). Sellers struggled to upload photos and list products for sale regardless of platform. Participants provided several general recommendations to increase the usability of the platforms for sellers with disabilities, including better screen reader support and labeling, plainer language, and simpler registration processes. 

To complement users’ experiences of platforms, the research team conducted a technical digital accessibility assessment, providing compliance and scenario testing using assistive technology. This assessment followed the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)’s international set of guidelines known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1 A, AA guidelines). The assessment was conducted by Technoprise Global, with a team of Trusted Tester Certified testers with and without disabilities. Digital accessibility is when all users—with or without disabilities—can perform the same functions and access the same information. A checklist combining the recommendations of the W3C guidelines was utilized with the latest accessibility authoring tools, user interaction principles, and most commonly used assistive technology to ensure that site content not only follows guidelines of structure, but also conveys information in the most relevant and usable formats for the understanding of all users.

To conclude, the digital accessibility assessment found that the most challenging tasks for screen reader users are

  • signing up or registering
  • uploading a product, 
  • and logging out from the platforms, reflecting the results of the usability testing. 
  • Setting payments was only partly successful.
  • icons could not be read by talkback software,
  • swipe functions were not reading correctly,
  •  and screens were restricted to portrait orientation, making some navigation challenging for persons with disabilities (especially the visually impaired).

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