As part of our Discovery work, we surveyed existing booking software to evaluate if any of it might be suitable for use by the Government of Canada. One aspect of this evaluation was an accessibility audit. We looked at eight of the leading appointment booking applications.

We tried to use each website with 2 different modes of interaction: a) a screen reader (Voiceover), and b) a keyboard and no mouse. For each product we looked at:

  • the Attendee page, where we attempted to make a booking, and
  • the Admin page, where we attempted to create a new event

For every service in the list above we were not able to complete these tasks using both modes of interaction. In other words, for either keyboard or screen reader, there was an issue that stopped us from using the site.

Some of the common keyboard issues include:

  • Focus styles that are very hard to see - these prevent a keyboard user from knowing which element on the page they are interacting with
  • Calendars that are not focusable with a keyboard - i.e. the only way to interact with it is to click
  • Other critical elements, like time pickers, that don’t allow keyboard interaction

Some of the common screen reader issues include:

  • Calendars that are not focusable with a screen reader - no way to pick a day
  • Single page apps without accessible routers - i.e. you click continue and there is no indication that a new page has loaded, and focus is not moved to the start of the page
  • Calendars with days that are focusable, but with unintelligible labels. For example, you are focussed on Tuesday, February 10th and it is unavailable. But the screen reader reads “Tuesday seven, column three of seven” and does not indicate the day is unavailable.