Screenshot of the Fenwick homepage, a black male model wearing a yellow tshirt and an asian woman wearing a light purple top are featured. New season arrivals is prominent copy. The website menu and logo can also be seen.

Part of an on-going series where I offer free accessibility consulting for the homepage of major brands. Companies talk about inclusion but are they doing the work?

Fenwick is an independent chain of department stores in the United Kingdom, let’s dive in.

Starting off, the company doesn’t have an accessibility statement. Having a dig around in the FAQ there is some talk about accessibility of their physical stores but nothing about the website.

screenshot of the Fenwick homepage in August 2023, highlighting the text of a FAQ section that reads: At Fenwick, we are committed to making our stores accessible to all our customers, especially those with disabilities. All our stores provide wheelchair access, with lifts to different floors, ramp alternatives and wheelchair accessible fitting rooms. Fenwick Brent Cross, Newcastle, Tunbridge Wells and York are proud members of the Shopmobility scheme, in which wheelchairs and other mobility options are available to customers in need of them. Please visit our Store pages for further information regarding accessibility.

Colour contrast

The search bar placeholder copy fails colour contrast checks. This text that reads “Search Fenwick” is not clear to read. This impacts low vision and blind users and WCAG 1.4.3. This has a simple fix, darken the grey.

screenshot of the Fenwick homepage in August 2023, highlighting the text of the Search Bar that has a placeholder that reads, Search Fenwick. The poor colour constrast means it's not readable

There are also some problems with the hover styles. On these buttons the text is not readable.

screenshot of the Fenwick homepage in August 2023, highlighting the text of a button's hover state that does not meet colour contrast requirements.The button reads Shop women's new season, white text on very light green background

Keyboard navigation

Not everyone can use a mouse, many users operate the web using a keyboard only. This could be for a variety of reasons like arthritis. Navigating the Fenwick homepage is impossible. There are no focus styles, Fenwick seems to have removed them. In the video below navigating around the page a user has no idea where they are. This is the mouse equivalent of removing the cursor.

Play: Fenwick homepage focus styles and keyboard navigation

Video description - a user on desktop navigating the homepage with keyboard, the focus styles don't exist. It's not possible to navigate the site using a keyboard.

Focus styles usually present by default as a blue outline, looking a bit deeper they’ve been removed on purpose. This is a fail of WCAG 2.5.7.

// Fenwick

base.css a,
button {
	outline: 0;

Additionally a user can’t navigate into the mega-menu, it does not work with a keyboard. Using the esc key to close the menu does nothing. Fail of WCAG 2.1.1.

Alt text

An accessibility basic, does the images have text alternative? This provides information to low vision and blind users. Fenwicks has some alt text on a couple of images but they’re missing a lot of them including the “What’s On” section below. This impacts WCAG 1.1.1.

screenshot of the Fenwick homepage in August 2023, highlighting the What's on section, this has a variery of images including a tea party with teddys, a green food and drink truck and a bag of cosmetics. These images do have not been provided with alt text

“Read more” links are commonly used on websites, but they are not very descriptive when read outside of their surrounding context. This isn’t a problem for the majority of users on the web, but viewing links outside of their surrounding context is very common for screen reader users.

In this context Fenwicks has gone with “Shop now” - this impacts WCAG 2.4.4 Link Purpose (In Context).

screenshot of the Fenwick homepage in August 2023, highlighting a link that says Show now.  The text above reads: the home of Individuality Our homes speak to who we are, our interiors, art, books and how we entertain. Show your individuality with our handpicked edit.


A quick review of the homepage but it’s clear Fenwick has more work to get it to a place where it meets WCAG 2.1 AA standards and is as accessible as it could be. A 2023 WebAIM report noted that 96.3% of home pages had detected WCAG 2 failures.

I’m Chris, a UX Developer with a focus in accessibility, available for hire.
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