Accessibility at Open Food Facts

accessibility open food facts

Accessibility at Open Food Facts

Open Food Facts is an opensource project, which means it is open to as many people as possible, and that includes accessibility.

Without even mentioning programming, the Open Food Facts database is a gold mine for people with visual problems. Let’s take the example of product photos, which can help to know more information about a product (allergens, ingredients…).

And more specifically, product photos can also have indirect benefits, such as cooking instructions.

An example of cooking instructions

But as much as accessibility is in the hearts of all the members of the Open Food Facts community, we have to admit that we need to do better on the development side.

Whether it’s the website, the application…, like far too many projects, tasks related to improving the accessibility are often put to one side.

But the permanent team from Open Food Facts is not fatalistic and, on the contrary, is keen to catch up. And what’s better than the Global Accessibility Day (or GAAD) for this!

What is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)?

It’s a global day that’s been around since 2012 and is always held on the 3rd Thursday of May. The idea is to highlight the gaps in digital resources, websites, videos, etc. so that they are accessible to everyone, including people with limited vision, hearing, or mobility.

Logo of Global Accessibility Awareness Day @ Open Food Facts

Open Food Facts and GAAD 2024

Generally speaking, our mobile application is partially accessible, since work began several months ago. On the other hand, the website remains the black spot.

That’s why, for our first participation, we listed a whole bunch of fairly simple tasks to be corrected beforehand.

On 16 May 2024, members of the permanent team devoted their time to making progress, either by reporting other issues or by making fixes.

Our conclusions

Several tickets have been implemented and are already in production, but the list of tasks still remains substantial. The idea is now to correct these problems over time and to involve the community as much as possible around these practices.

In the more specific case of the mobile application, fixes have since been made to the product screen and the Nutri-Score. They will be available in the next release at the beginning of June.
In addition, and more specifically for the mobile project, contributions to the code will take greater account of this aspect, to avoid taking 2 steps backwards after each new feature.

Where do we go from here?

The 2024 edition of GAAD was only the first for Open Food Facts, and we plan participate to future editions. But before talking about 2025, our priority remains to fix all the remaining issues over the coming weeks.

Furthermore, if you have any expertise on the subject, we’d love to hear from you!