Summary: ADA e-commerce compliance is no longer optional for online vendors. Find out why an accessible website is important to your business and how to check your site’s basic accessibility features.
As one of the largest ecommerce platforms, Shopify provides customizable templates, free trials, and a plethora of resources to help business owners launch and manage online stores. On 29% of online businesses in the United States, use Shopify. Whether you’ve already launched a Shopify store or are planning to create one, make sure your site is disabled-accessible and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant.
In this article we explain why accessibility is important for e-commerce businesses and providing guidance to ensure that your Shopify site is accessible to all customers, regardless of capacity.
The importance of an accessible online presence
Creating accessible and inclusive online experiences is key to building lasting customer relationships in the digital age. There are over a billion people with disabilities in the world. According to The Global Economics of Disability 2020 report, people with disabilities, along with their family and friends, control over $ 13 trillion in disposable income. But if they can’t access your site’s content and store, they won’t buy from you. In a recent AudioEye survey of people who use assistive technologies, such as screen readers, 54% said they think ecommerce companies don’t care about winning their business. These customers won’t recommend or return to brands that don’t offer accessible experiences. Instead, they will look for other options.
Along with lost revenue opportunities and damage to brand reputation, businesses with inaccessible online stores face costly and time-consuming lawsuits.
ADA Accessibility and Ecommerce Websites
The ADA was enacted in 1990. It was designed to ensure equal and unimpeded access to “public accommodation”. As a result, more sidewalks were created for wheelchair users, Braille was placed on signs, elevators were installed in buildings, and ramps and rails were constructed. However, with the rise of the Internet, a new demand has arisen: digital accessibility or access to digital content and tools.
As more and more consumers turn to the internet for their daily tasks, websites are now seen as an extension of public housing. In other words, websites are considered the equivalent of physical stores – the access provided in one should exist in the other.
The ADA does not provide technical standards for the implementation of digital accessibility. Instead, there are guidelines from the W3C, known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which provide clear safeguards for publishing accessible digital content.
Learn more about Four principles for achieving WCAG compliance.
Today, the Department of Justice, courts, and disability advocates hold business owners accountable for the accessibility of their websites, and they use WCAG as a digital accessibility standard.
Make Your Shopify Ecommerce Website Accessible
While there are accessibility features built into the platform to ensure Shopify ADA compliance, it’s important to perform your own testing and auditing of your website.
Audit of your website
There are a few options for running a Audit. You can use free tools, such as WAVE, or hire a third-party company to perform an assessment. Just keep in mind that right now even the best automated scans can’t catch all accessibility errors.
This means that the software is unable to take the human element into consideration. For example, an image on a site might have Alternative text (alt text), but this text can be the name of the file or some other “description” that is meaningless to the end user using a screen reader. An automated scan can detect an alt tag in an image and consider it “accessible” when in reality it is not.
So how do you better understand the accessibility and usability of your website?
Manual audits and fixes
The best way to test accessibility and usability is to put yourself in the shoes of your end user. This means using, testing, and manually validating your website content in a variety of ways and with a variety of mediums. Follow these steps to begin troubleshooting:
Try to navigate your site using only the keyboard. The Tab key should move your cursor up and down in a logical order down the page, and each interactive element should be highlighted. The Enter key activates buttons and links. The space bar is used to select or deselect check boxes and radio buttons. The arrow keys are used to change selections in open drop-down lists and preset radio buttons. Test all of these functions.
Zoom in up to 200% in the browser to see if the content overlaps, making it impossible to read. Change the width of the browser window to make sure the content does not overlap.
Read the content on the browser tab when the page loads, to verify that each page has a unique title that explains its purpose.
Create errors on your forms by entering incorrect data. Check to see if the messages are clear, have an indicator other than color to indicate errors, and if the message is helping the user to resolve the problem.
Maintain accessibility of your website
Finally, accessibility is not a one-off effort. E-commerce sites are subject to multiple changes, including new content, which may cause new accessibility errors to appear. It’s important to create an accessibility plan that involves regular monitoring and maintenance of your website.
Accessibility is a smart business
The digital world is constantly changing. As consumers increasingly turn to e-commerce, it is crucial that businesses open their physical and digital doors to all users.
The AudioEye solution is perfectly integrated with Shopify. Check it out and try for free.
Ready to test the accessibility of your website?
Scan your site now.
AudioEye Inc. published this content on January 07, 2022 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on 06 January 2022 07:47:01 PM UTC.
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