I am a blind screen reader user and I started using iNaturalist several years ago. However, the site as a whole has become less accessible over time even as iNat has made it easier to upload audio observations. I drifted away as a consequence of this.
Then, just before the pandemic, I was required to use iNat for a university class. Through my professor, I contacted the iNat team about the accessibility of both the site and the iPhone app. They readily admitted that accessibility was not remotely up to par and said that a time-consuming rebuild or retrofit of the site would be required, as the site was not initially designed with screen readers in mind.
It is now nearly three years later, the New York Times has featured iNaturalist, and things are no better; they may actually be worse. Over the last few days, I have tested several basic features of the site on several platforms as well as the iPhone app (thanks to @marissa190 for your help!). What follows is a partial list of issues we found:
- Can’t suggest IDs on any platform (Windows/Mac/iPhone;
- Can type, but can’t arrow through results of dropdowns on mac (e.g. suggest ID, add taxon to observation on upload). On Windows, choices are announced but cannot be selected, and you get stuck in a loop;
- Location box on upload not editable with a screen reader;
- Old observation form (deprecated) somewhat works with a screen reader, but non-intuitive and problems noted above still exist;
- Choosing category for a new forum topic not great;
- Windows - won’t select file on upload;
- iPhone app totally inaccessible (EDIT: this is inaccurate; see post #8 for specific accessibility problems);
- Audio player does not work on Mac or iPhone (Chrome on Mac being the exception).
Again, the list above is in no way exhaustive, and the iNat team said it might take a while to fix all the issues. Seeing as it has been nearly three years and they have expanded their team, I would like to know what the deadlines are for resolving this. Making science accessible means actually having an accessible website and app.
Has anyone else had success using iNat with a screen reader? If so, I’d love to know your suggestions for getting around these problems.