Mitsukoshi worked with IBM to launch a new Web site that enabled customers who are aging or visually impaired to shop online. This more accessible site resulted in an enhanced shopping experience for a broader customer base during the summer gift promotions
Developed a more accessible promotional Web site, helping a broader range of customers—including older people and people with visual impairments—shop online. It is anticipated that the new design and capabilities will boost online sales, helping put the company on track to reach an aggressive fiscal target.
Mitsukoshi wanted to reach an ambitious e-commerce target by more than doubling its previous year’s Internet sales. To reach its goal, Mitsukoshi needed to take advantage of the summer and winter gift-giving seasons. Because many of its customers are older and in a higher economic bracket, Mitsukoshi believed there was significant value to be obtained from focusing on Web accessibility to help facilitate online shopping during these high-traffic shopping seasons.
Founded in 1673, Mitsukoshi is the oldest and one of the most prestigious retail stores in Japan. To raise Internet sales and meet the requests of many older customers or those with visual impairments, Mitsukoshi needed to deploy a more accessible summer gift promotion Web site to help more people shop and buy online.
IBM Tokyo Research Lab and IBM Global Business Services helped Mitsukoshi set up a new summer gift Web site that adapts the color and size of text and the voice browser’s reading order. The enhancements helped improve site accessibility.
What IBM did
Mitsukoshi’s new summer gift promotion Web site uses Easy Web Browsing to help enable novice Internet users, older consumers or people with visual impairments to easily navigate and view the Web site. IBM’s Easy Web Browsing optimizes Web pages with character enlargement, voice synthesizer technology and options that allow users to change font sizes and background colors based on their own visual preferences.
Once Mitsukoshi's customers download Easy Web Browsing from the summer gift shopping site, they can easily display enlarged text and have it read by a voice synthesizer by simply moving the screen pointer to the part of the site that they wish to read. Consumers who suffer from color blindness, cataracts or visual impairments can also easily change the background color of the screen and color of the text to facilitate enhanced viewing.
The IBM team also enabled the new Mitsukoshi shopping site with IBM Home Page Reader, an award-winning, talking Web browser that uses the power of speech to aid users who are blind or have low vision in exploring the World Wide Web. Using an IBM text-to-speech synthesizer, Home Page Reader speaks Web-based information aloud in a clear and effective manner as it is presented on the computer screen, allowing customers to hear everything from a description of graphics to forms, frames and tables. For example, the top of the summer gift page has a link to a list of merchandise not displayed on the screen, so Home Page Reader enables site visitors to hear additional details about products or confirm detailed product explanations by voice only.