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Ecommerce Website Accessibility is Essential. Why?

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The World Health Organisation reports that about 15% of the population exist with a disability. This can be something as simple as riding the stairs. Certain things which we fail to see as a challenge deems highly tricky for many around us. People with physical disability sinks to navigate in the same way how we expect. But it is not just the physical world that disturbs us; many around us find things tough in the digital environment as well. For instance, some website designs can be complicated to read, navigate or interact with.

For an e-commerce store owner, if your website isn’t suitable for people with a disability(whether it’s cognitive, auditory, physical, neurological, speech or visual), you’re binding your store from a significant percentage of shoppers.

So, How can you Add a Ramp to Enable Access to your ECommerce Site?

Website accessibility and the formulation of the guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) relating to e-commerce designing is a topic that recapitulates to dispute retailers. E-commerce was introduced in the 1960s through an electronic data interchange on value-added networks. Initially, it used to be quite simple; that is, just an extension of brick-and-mortar stores which offer to buy and to sell online, offering comfort and convenience to the shopper from their computer screen.

As Internet access became readily available to everyone, the advent of popular online sellers in the 1990s and early 2000s also rose. Soon, there were discussions about the design of e-commerce websites as customer experiences (such as CX, UX and DX); all it meant was that the richer and more immersive, the better. A whole section of the design ecosystem grew, defining something called the “digital possibility”. The sole purpose is to create customer experiences that apprehend consumers’ attention, moving them seamlessly toward the checkout.

In defining the customer (which includes the customer experience), the e-commerce industry has unwittingly taken a linear view of who its buyers are. Precisely speaking, e-commerce builds often overlook the principle of inclusivity. Result of the U.S. Census Bureau, almost one in five U.S. citizens has some form of disability. So, when this portion is left unaware, it is a significant number of people who are not addressed.

Instead, the tendency is to design websites with an ideal user in mind; that is, someone with all senses and physical abilities in operating order. Regulatory authorities, however, take a distinct view, sanctifying inclusivity in the law. When it comes to the rapidly-changing digital landscape, lawmakers are inching behind. Presently, website accessibility is massively explicated under the allocation of Title III of the ADA by both the courts & the Department of Justice (DOJ), although with varying conclusions.

So simply stated, accessibility is the practice of designing websites for people with disabilities; and on the web, this implies adhering to a set of guidelines to maximize every user’s web experience.

Here are the five most essential accessibility guidelines to consider to assure your website is accessible

  • Clear page titles and headings
  • Readable slideshows and pop-ups
  • Adding alt text to all your images
  • Making the link text more descriptive
  • Keep easy-to-read fonts

For the Visually Impaired and Blind

The World Health Organization reckons around 39 million people across the world is blind. When you look at the visually impaired in general, that number might grow up to 285 million globally. Try to make the specific browsers (the ones that are specifically dedicated to the blind) as compared to the mainstream browsers, which can’t support all the features that most sites use and display.

Their screen magnification systems usually make some of the page elements, such as the graphics and cursor text, so big that they’re out of context with the rest of the page details. It may be tricky to effectively address this issue most of the time since this predicament is a result of the way that screen magnification systems work.

Use high-contrast colour schemes to decide on the colours for your website. Tools like CheckMyColours and Wave can help to figure out what is high-contrast and what is not. With the low-contrast colour schemes make it hard for visually challenged people to differentiate between the foreground and background of the page, thus making it very difficult to read the content.

Also, add some shapes, textures, or even images to your uniquely coloured page elements. This way, even colourblind users can distinguish between the details with the help of other cues (such as an underline beneath a link).

For the Hearing Disabilities

Those who suffer from hearing loss fail to appreciate videos fully. Also, those who are born deaf might not be able to read written texts, especially if they interact via sign language.

To help the hearing-impaired, you should consider placing subtitles on videos and if possible, offer side-language versions of videos.

The Elderly

The accessibility requirements of the elderly, too, need our attention. A significant fraction of the elderly experience visual or hearing disabilities or both. They also might suffer from conditions such as a decline in memory and motor skills.

To help the elderly in accessing your e-commerce site, you should contemplate placing closer page elements that would be used sequentially. Present the new on-screen information gradually. Finally, offer subtle alerts and reminders for such actions for everyone to understand clearly.

No Mandatory Technical Standard

Surprisingly, in the U.S., there is no mandatory technical standard for e-commerce companies presently to adhere to. There is, thus, some doubts about the exact rules. Nevertheless, the DOJ (the primary enforcer of the ADA), commonly views the guidelines which are instructed in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level A.A. as an acceptable level of adherence to the ADA.

Brand-side CMOs, coders and designers are frequently caught off guard, and the number of prosecutions relating to accessibility issues resumes to grow, showing a low level of WCAG 2.0 AA within the e-commerce industry. While inclusivity is fundamental to building a compelling customer experience, recoding that action can be cost-prohibitive.

Making the e-commerce website accessible further shields you from the peril of expensive, lengthy litigation based on infringements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. More than 700 lawsuits, between January 2015 and October 2017, claiming ADA discrimination were filed against many websites. Many e-commerce websites have been seized up in this stream of lawsuits, including some of the most renowned companies.


To find out more about the accessibility and the needs, get in touch with the experts of Anonyoo.

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