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Customers who, for example, make use of a screen reader, often run into obstacles in the apps of supermarkets. Digital, together with Charissa Kalloe, mapped the digital accessibility of 12 supermarkets. The apps that have been tested belong to supermarket chains Albert Heijn, Plus, Dirk, Lidl, Coop, Deen, EkoPlaza, Jumbo, Spar, Aldi, Hoogvliet and Dekamarkt.

Charissa is very visually impaired and therefore makes extensive use of Apple’s Voiceover. She has shared the obstacles she experiences with the test team while using the screen reader. The tests were taken based on this information. In addition to the fact that she has shared her experience, she is also responsible for 8 out of 12 tests.

During the test it was looked at how the apps can be used via Apple’s screen reader Voiceover. Various aspects of shopping online were discussed, such as searching for products, adding products to the shopping basket and actually ordering. For a group of people, these steps still require unnecessary energy. With some supermarkets it was not even possible at all to use the app using a screen reader.

Appie App

At the App from Albert Heijn, the start was mainly refreshing compared to the other apps. For example, all buttons are labeled on the home screen, so that they are read well. Searching for a product is also going well and it is also possible to add the searched product to the shopping cart with Voiceover. When searching, suggestions are given based on the entry characters and that also works well. The full product name, price and weight are named in one go. Some product characteristics and information are also mentioned.

The zigzag movement with which VoiceOver users can normally go to the previous screen does not work unfortunately does not work. It took some searching for the full product list, but in the end it was found under the “More” tab at the bottom right of the page. Here is the Products button with all categories. The location of this list is somewhat illogical and therefore difficult to find.

Within the products that are here, it is neatly described what the user finds and for what price. These are again easy to add to the shopping cart.

You can add to the shopping cart in two ways. If the product has not yet been added, it can be added by double clicking on it. In addition, the user can wipe up the number that gives the number of products to add a multiple of the products to the basket.

Already in the home screen there are 5 tabs at the bottom where, among other things, the shopping list can also be found. If the “My list” button is selected, it will be read how many products are on the list. Unfortunately this does not work when another button, such as “bonus”, is clicked on and then clicked on “My list”. In addition, prices are read as they are also read and a total price is mentioned.

there is also a button with “recipes”. If this option is clicked and a finger is moved over the screen, it seems as if the app thinks there is being scrolling. This means that the recipes cannot be clicked. If it is always swept down from above, the recipes can be clicked. All in all, Albert Heijn’s Appie is very easy to do.


  • The buttons are actually labeled
  • Search function works well
  • Product information is mentioned in one go
  • The zigzag movement does not work
  • Product list hard to find
  • Recipes cannot be read easily


At the Plus App, a supermarket in the neighborhood must first be clicked and give permission that Plus uses the location. After this, a screen with a map appears where different places are read. Unfortunately, nothing happens when one of those places is clicked. At the far left is the unbelievable button “IC Close, possibly closes” that the user sends back to the home screen.

After choosing a supermarket without knowing what place it is, the user will be on the home screen. The first to be read is a search field. The search function works properly.

The search results also give a complete picture of the product. That is, the name, the price and the weight. The ingredients, nutrition value and allergies are read by Voiceover. The annoying thing is that you first have to navigate along all this information before you come across the “Add” button. After adding, the “add” button turns into the unpredicted button “IC plus”, which can be increased the number.

at the bottom of the app there are several tabs that are not spoken by Voiceover. If you select one of those tabs, Voiceover will tell what is possible. Unfortunately this only applies to the Tab with the search function. With the other tabs, Voiceover says nothing but that it is selected. This means that a user of a screen reader can actually do nothing except on the gamble a tab.

On the homepage you see products that ensure that your groceries are delivered for free. These are a number of products that stand horizontally next to each other. When navigating through it, the following will be read:

“Free delivery, free delivery, free delivery, free delivery, free delivery.

at € 10, at 3 pieces, at € 10, at € 10, at € 10.

Aquarius, Capri-Sun and Fuze Tea, Leffe, Hertog-Jan, Corona and Hoegaarden, Lay’s Oven, Sun Breaks, Snack A Jacks and Quaker Cruesli and 2 product groups. ”

voiceover reads it per line or row while they are 5. Which is very confusing.

Screenshot of the app of Plus
At some point there is also “safely shopping” on the homepage. Here I find information about shopping due to the current Corona situation. If the “More information” button is printed, the user is led to the website. This works well.

The zigzag function works one time and not the other. If there is “ic nav close” button or “ic arrow left may previous”, to close a screen, it doesn’t work. If there is a button “offers back button”, it works. This probably has to do with the fact that the button is labeled one time and not the other.

There is also an option to enter searches with the microphone. Unfortunately, Voiceover stopped when I turned on this. Unfortunately, this option cannot be done in combination with Voiceover.

In addition to being very messy, it is therefore possible to get products in the shopping basket via a detour. It is possible, but whether it is really useful is the question.


  • Starting the app is difficult with Voiceover
  • With many (important) buttons, a label is missing
  • Search function works properly
  • Product information is read in the whole
  • Add products to the basket is difficult
  • Actions are not accessible
  • The voice function is not usable in combination with a screen reader


After opening the Dirk App, a report is immediately displayed to give permission for my location. A map appears after this to choose the nearest store. After the experience with the Plus App, it was chosen to scroll directly to the end. Along the way the user meets the “This is my Dirk” button.

The welcome message is immediately a challenge. If swept to the left or right, the screen reader reads that the user cannot continue, while it is visible that there are several pages. The usual method to navigate through such a slider, with three fingers, does not work here. An alternative way of double tapping and holding works. This indicates how little accessible the Dirk App is.

After this comes the home screen, which starts with a button that is not labeled. If that is clicked on it, it turns out to be the shopping list. In addition to the unlabiled button, “0” becomes what ends up in the list. So that’s what ends up in the list.

After further navigating, 2 buttons are found to search for products, namely “Home Search Icon Dirk” and “Home Speech Icon Dirk”. If the search function is opened with voice, the voiceover voice is also filled in and this voice can no longer be heard. This does not work.

The normal search function works great and also shows the suggestions again. In the Dirk App, a whole amount is split into parts again. In addition, the weight is also mentioned in the product. By means of the “plus icon possible add” button, the product can be added to my list. If the same product has to be added again, this turns out to be a lot harder. During navigating back and forth, the “plus icon” is read one time and the other.

The ingredients, nutritional value and description are well displayed.

The zigzag function doesn’t work here either. The tabs at the bottom of the home screen are well read by Voiceover. The brochure is also not accessible in the Dirk App.

If the tab products are chosen, all kinds of categories are first read. After selecting a relevant category, the user is again obliged to navigate with Voiceover through all other categories to go to the products that belong to the chosen category. Pretty cumbersome.

Once at the products, everything is read separately by Voiceover. The product name, 3 and then 65 a “plus icon” and then 500ml. All information that could be done in one line. By navigating it into 3 or 4 times, it becomes very unclear for users of screen readers.

The search function works well, the tabs at the bottom are also labeled unfortunately the rest of the app is not pleasant to work with.


  • Choosing supermarket is difficult
  • The welcome message is not accessible
  • In many buttons, a label is missing
  • The voice function is not usable in combination with a screen reader
  • The search function works well
  • The zigzag function does not work
  • The leaflets cannot be read
  • Finding products is difficult
  • Product information is read by rule


It seems that the user is obliged to choose a branch to use the Lidl app. However, this does not work during the test and therefore does not make the app usable for people with a screen reader.


The Coop Supermarkten App also starts with a welcome message with different pages. There is also a slider, but this slider does not work in combination with Voiceover. Fortunately the function works to wipe with 3 fingers to the left, after which the “Discover our app” button appears.

When selecting a product, which goes fairly smoothly, another stumbling block comes to light. The prices are reversed. € 1.80 is read as 80 and 1, which causes a lot of confusion. If the button “button possible add” is clicked, the user will not receive any feedback whether or not there is something in the basket.

A report appears that explains the importance of choosing the right supermarket. The “Choose Supermarket” button and ensures a list of all Coop stores. A search function by zip code is also available here. The app shows the nearest Coop supermarket, after which it can be selected. This is a lot easier than at Lidl where it is practically impossible to choose a branch.

The tabs at the bottom of the app are also read well. At the bottom right, the shopping basket is read. This works super!

Products on offer are under the offers tab. It seems that this is being read. Here too, a separate rule is always read, first the product name then the weight or number and then the old price and then the promotional price. So it is a lot of sweeping, but it works!

In general, the Coop App works well, especially in comparison with apps from other supermarkets. Many business are doing well with Voiceover. The test team is positively surprised!


  • The welcome message is not accessible
  • Prices are read in reverse
  • User does not receive any feedback if a product has been added to the shopping cart
  • Choosing branch goes smoothly
  • The shopping cart is read
  • Products on offer are read per line instead of per product


The next supermarket in the study is Deen. This supermarket mainly has branches in Noord-Holland, but outside it also some stores in Flevoland, Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel. The start screen of the app is immediately not accessible. The four elements that fill the screen (groceries, flowers, fresh and actions) cannot be used with Apple’s Voiceover. In addition, it is not possible to scroll to the options under these four categories.

To do the shopping, the (Unpairable, so Unprekible) Hamburger menu or the menu at the bottom of the app must be used. The distinction that the app makes between messages, fresh and organic causes confusion, also for app users without visual impairment. With the “fresh” option it is very difficult to navigate. For example, this part has no overview of categories, but it consists of different individual pages with meat and fish products.

The search function is a solution for finding products. However, when a product is found, it is not possible to add it from this screen to the shopping basket. The zigzag movement also does not work in the app. In addition, the buttons are not labeled, so that they are filled in by Voiceover. The leaflets have been uploaded as images, so that they cannot read with a screen reader.

It was virtually impossible to complete the shopping list during the test. The Deen app is unusable with a screen reader.


  • The home screen, with the exception of the search function, cannot be used with a screen reader
  • In many buttons, a label is missing
  • The layout of the product categories is illogical
  • Products can hardly be added
  • The leaflets are not readable


The EkoPlaza app unfortunately did not yield any better results. The general navigation with voiceover is difficult. The overview pages on which products are on cannot be used. This is mainly because it is not clear when a product is in the shopping basket. The screen reader is unable to read this. In addition, prices are broken up, the entire euros and money are read separately. This is not terrible in itself (unfortunately not rare in apps), when there is an old price and an action price next to each other, it becomes really unclear. Take the screenshot below. The screen reader first reads “1” on this, followed by “2” and “99” after which the screen reader ends with 25.

Screenshot of the app of Ekoplaza

It is impossible to conclude what the price of products is. In addition, each part of a product (even the product number) is read separately. As a result, a user does not know which price belongs to which product. The Jumbo app shows how things can be done differently, by reading both the weight, price and name of a product in one go.

Furthermore, various buttons are not labeled, so many standard functions cannot be used for people with a visual impairment. Consider determining the number of products in a basket or storing a product as a favorite. During the test, a dead end point of the app was often reached, because here too the zigzag movement does not work so that users cannot jump to a previous screen.

The user experience of the Ekoplaza app with a screen reader was unfortunately no better than with the Deen app.

  • The general navigation is difficult
  • Product pages cannot be used
  • Prices are read in reverse
  • Product information is read per line
  • In many buttons, a label is missing


After smaller annoyances and difficulties, the app of the Jumbo turned out to work better than previous supermarkets from the test. To use the app, users must log in or choose a store. The button used to choose a specific store is not labeled. In addition, it is not possible to look for a store without turning on location facilities, which is possible without a fencing reader.

other buttons are better labeled and therefore easier to use. Jumbo’s biggest plus lies in the fact that products are read in the whole, so including price, weight and name. Unfortunately, the button for adding a product to the shopping basket is not labeled, so it must be used on the gamble.

In the app, Jumbo gives the promising option to order groceries through speech. This indicates that Jumbo realizes the importance of digital accessibility. Unfortunately, this function was not usable at the time of the test.

In general, the online shopping experience of Jumbo is reasonably accessible. Yet there are still points for improvement for this supermarket chain.


  • Choosing a branch is difficult
  • buttons are fairly well labeled
  • Product information is read in the whole
  • button for adding products is not labeled
  • The voice function is not usable in combination with a screen reader


The only Dutch-language app from Spar in the App Store, Spar City, could not be used at the time of the test. To be able to use the app, the user must create an account. This was not possible due to an error message.


The app from German price fighter Aldi is unfortunately not that accessible. Just like with other supermarkets, many buttons are not labeled, such as the button to add products to the shopping list, and offers as images are uploaded without being provided with an alternative description. This does not make understanding the app with the help of a screen reader.

Screenshot of the Aldi app

Unfortunately the use of images is not limited to only the offers. The large banner “important information” also leads to an unreadable image that contains important information about the coronavirus. For people with a visual impairment, it is therefore not possible via the app to request rules and restrictions on shopping in the supermarket.

The compilation of a shopping list is not without a struggle. The products are subdivided into categories such as “fresh fruit and vegetables” and “Asian range”, but not in subgroups. This means that 6 pages must be searched to find tomatoes. Because the search button is not labeled, searching for products is not made easy for the user.

It is possible to order groceries from the Aldi with a screen reader, but the shopping experience is far from pleasant.


  • In many buttons, a label is missing
  • Images are not provided with an alternative description
  • Important information about Corona cannot be read
  • Compiling shopping lists is difficult


After starting the app from Hoogvliet, some informative messages will be added to the screen. The buttons to go to the next message are not labeled, luckily Voiceover fills in with “Possible arrow to the right”. The app can be used with and without an account. Unfortunately it is not possible to select a store when the screen reader is activated. As a result, the app cannot be used without an account for users with a screen reader.

Screenshot of Hoogvliet's website

If the screen reader is turned off, the app is configured and the screen reader is activated again can be used. The screen below is the first to hear users of the app.

The search field works properly, the other parts of the home screen unfortunately not. To begin with, the screen reader cannot recognize anything from the screen, because the advertising of the bananas and the buttons and banners are not labeled below. In addition, it is not possible to scroll to the parts below, which is possible for users without a fencing reader.

The search function works, so that products can be sought. Unfortunately, Hoogvliet also drops a lot of stitches here. For example, the button used to add products to the shopping basket is not labeled. Product information is coupled, so that it is read in one zipper. This ensures that it is clearer which price belongs to which product and other properties are easier to grant to the product. However, the price is reversed, so a pack of cherry tomatoes costs 49.1 instead of 1.49.

In the shopping list it is not possible with a screen reader to adjust the number of products upwards, only down.

The Groceries app from Hoogvliet cannot be used with a screen reader. Even when the screen reader is temporarily switched off so that the app can be used, it remains very difficult to do digital shopping here.


  • The home screen cannot be operated
  • In many buttons, a label is missing
  • Selecting a store is not possible with screen reader
  • The search function works properly
  • Prices are reversed
  • Functions of the shopping list do not work


The same slider appears at the DekaMarkt app as in Dirk’s app. This slider does not work in the traditional way, but with the alternative method. This is of course anything but accessible. Users who do not know this alternative method will leave the app without being able to use it.

The slider on the app’s home screen cannot be read. Not only are offers here, but also the important measures against the distribution of the coronavirus are mentioned here. These are therefore not understandable for users of Voiceover.

An unpredicted button “Speech item Deka button” points out the user to order groceries via the microphone. Unfortunately, this function is not available at Dekamarkt. After some navigation it appears that this is not the only button that is not provided with a label. With almost every button, VoiceOver has to fill in the function of the button, including when adding a product to the shopping list. Users also do not receive feedback if a product has been added. Because the shopping list is labeled as a “button”, it is also difficult to find this list.

Once in the shopping list it is made easier for the user. Products that are here are read in the whole and here is a well-acting search function available.

All in all, the DekaMarkt app is very difficult to use with a screen reader.


  • The welcome screen is not accessible
  • The images cannot be read
  • In many buttons, a label is missing
  • The voice function is not usable in combination with a screen reader
  • No feedback when a product has been added to the basket

Online shopping with a screen reader

The results of the research are actually shocking. For example, apps from several national supermarket chains cannot be used via a screen reader, which means that they are not accessible to a large group of blind and visually impaired. It is clear that this group was not taken into account during the creation of the apps. Standard functions that do not work appear to be the rule rather than the exception. It is also renounced to use one of the simplest possibilities for an accessible app; labeling buttons.

there was not one app that offered an optimal user-friendly. There were two apps that protrude above the other. The supermarket that “won” the test is Coop Supermarkten, followed by the apps from Jumbo and Albert Heijn. However, the study shows that both apps have countless points for improvement.

Digital accessibility for apps

We already wrote that The internet is poorly accessible for blind and visually impaired . This research shows that everyday tasks such as shopping online are not just as easy for everyone. In practice, the stumbling blocks described above are often easy to solve.

The Accessibility Desk helps organisations with audits for websites and apps, as well as training concerning digital accessibility. Contact our specialists for more information.

Vincent van Brakel

Vincent van Brakel researches the accessibility of websites and apps for Digitaal Toegankelijk. Vincent also writes about everything that has to do with digital accessibility and shares practical tips on