Separate is Not Equal: Good News for Grocery Delivery

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This is a post about the Safeway grocery delivery website.  Safeway used to have a separate text-only site.  The site was designed to help blind people but it did not have all the information on it that Safeway’s main site had.  Now Safeway has one website that everyone can use.  Safeway worked with blind customers to make sure its website was accessible and usable. [This is a simplifed summary of this post, a feature of designed to meet Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) Success Criteria 3.1.5 (a WCAG 2.0 AAA Reading Level requirement).]

delivering groceries

On February 26, 2014, Safeway took an important step in meeting its goal of a fully usable digital experience for all customers. In a banner posted on its site, the company announced it was eliminating the Safeway separate text-only website it had maintained for many years. Eliminating the text-only site is part of Safeway’s commitment to making its main site accessible to all users. Safeway announced its accessibility initiative this past December, after working with its blind customers in the alternative dispute resolution process known as Structured Negotiations.

Safeway’s so-called Access Site was no doubt established out of a concern that blind customers and others with disabilities could not use the main site. But as in most things, separate in this situation was not equal. The ‘Access Site’ did not provide customers with the same information or functionality as the main site. Blind customers shunted off to the separate site often missed out on deals only available to main site users.

But the separate site is soon to be a thing of the past. The following notice is now posted on the Safeway text-only Access Site

Attention: As of April 30, 2014, this Access Site will no longer be available. Please visit and bookmark our main website at which has been updated to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA. For more information, the Safeway Accessibility Policy is available in the footer of our Grocery Delivery site at Questions? Call 1 (877) 505-4040 or email Notice on Safeway text-only site

Congratulations Safeway on your commitment to an accessible, usable digital experience for all customers.

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Resources about the Safeway Accessibility Initiative