How do people with mobility issues get on?

August 16, 2011

Something that’s bothered me for some time about one of my online banks is that the sign-in screen requires you to use a mouse. Yes, Westpac (www.westpac.com.au), I’m referring to your online banking system.

You have to click the characters of your password on the keyboard image to enter it (I think the keyboard image is based on Flash). This method of entry is supposedly more secure than typing a password, yet your Westpac online banking password is restricted to six characters (letters and numbers only) and is not case-sensitive, which goes against all the recommendations for strong passwords. For those with mobility issues, clicking the images on the keyboard could be a problem as it requires reasonably fine mouse skills.

Westpac's sign-in 'keypad'

Westpac's sign-in 'keypad'

If you go to the Help, you’ll find that you *can* use a keyboard to move around, but you can’t actually press the keys you want for your password — you can only use the Tab key to move from one key to the next, then, when the key you want is in focus, you press Enter to add it to the password field. You can’t use the up/down arrow keys to move from one line to another — just Tab. Tab moves you forward from left to right; Shift+Tab takes you back from right to left. How clunky is that?

Help for those who can't use the mouse

Help for those who can't use the mouse

And if you are a JAWS user (for those with vision issues), you’re out of luck. If you click the Support and Accessibility link on the left sidebar of the login page, you’ll eventually find this message:

Too bad if you use JAWS

Too bad if you use JAWS


I don’t know how long that message has been there as there’s no date on it, but I suspect that it’s been there a while. Just an aside: If you put up a message like this, PLEASE date it!

Westpac: You get a #fail for usability and accessibility!

[Links last checked August 2011]

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