Customers were left struggling to read timetables after the website turned grey as a “mark of respect”. The change, mocked by some, left visually impaired customers especially affected, with people complaining they couldn’t book tickets.
One person wrote: “National Rail grayscale their website to mourn the death of Prince Philip and it’s causing utter chaos for the visually impaired.”
Another said: “National Rail have coloured their entire website grey to ‘mourn Prince Philip’, rendering the whole website completely useless to people with visual impairments. The UK has completely lost the plot.”
A third joked: “As a National Rail user I want to struggle to view the website so that I can honour the memory of Prince Philip,” and a fourth said: “Many thanks to National Rail for making all my future talks on why senior staff need to understand digital accessibility much, much easier.”
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The grey website even had an impact on National Rail employees. When one user took to Twitter to complain, a spokesperson for the company replied: “Hi, the website has been set to grey while we are in the mourning period of Prince Philip.
“I to have been struggling to read while it is coloured differently.”
National Rail has now restored its website back to full colour with a written tribute to Prince Phillip on the right hand side.
The rail company tweeted: “The National Rail website was temporarily greyscaled as a mark of respect following the death of HRH Duke of Edinburgh on Friday.
“We’ve listened to feedback about how people are using the website and have made further changes today to make it more accessible to all our customers.”
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Elisabeth Ward, accessibility specialist at disability equality charity Scope, said: “While it’s important to pay respects when tragic events happen, it’s vital this doesn’t stop disabled people from accessing essential services.
“Accessibility always matters, even in a period of national mourning.
“This decision to change entire websites to greyscale did not consider disabled people’s access needs. It is another example of disabled people being forgotten.
“Not only does it cause problems for those who need sufficient colour contrast, but it also interferes with tools and plugins many disabled people use to help make websites accessible.”