People may need special equipment and assistive technology devices to use a computer and navigate the internet. Anything from screen readers and smart speakers to desktop video magnifiers and large-print keyboards.
A11y: A free tool offered by the Bureau of Website Accessibility. It scans your website for accessibility issues based on WACG 2.1.
Accessibility Insights: A free Chrome extension that can help you uncover accessibility issues on your website.
Depending on your budget, you might also want to consider hiring a company that specializes in accessibility audits and optimization.
6 Ways to Improve Your Ecommerce Website’s Accessibility
While achieving a high level of ADA and WCAG compliance is no easy feat, there are several fixes you can implement to improve your website’s accessibility in a short amount of time.
1. Enable Keyboard Navigation
One of the most important things you need to do when looking to improve your website’s accessibility is to make sure all your website’s features can be taken advantage of using only a keyboard. This includes clicking on links and buttons, selecting and unselecting items, navigating pages, auto-completing text and closing dialog boxes.
Making your website keyboard-friendly ensures that users who can’t use a computer mouse for one reason or another will be able to use your website without issues.
2. Make Your Website Speech Reader-Friendly
Blind and visually-impaired users often use speech readers to help them understand the content of a particular webpage.
If you want to improve your website’s accessibility, you’ll need to make sure that it’s speech reader-friendly. Add alt text to all the images on your website, and make sure to use relevant, descriptive text when labeling your links and headers.
Test your website using a speech reader and see if you run into any issues, such as content being read out of order or text being unnecessarily repeated.
3. Use Contrasting Colors
Using contrasting colors on your website is crucial for improving your website’s accessibility for people with color blindness or color vision deficiency.
If there isn’t enough contrast between the colors you use on your website, some people might have a hard time reading page content and distinguishing between different website elements.
If your website contains video or audio content, you can use subtitles and transcripts to make it more accessible for hearing-impaired users. Transcripts are also useful for users with visual impairment since they allow users to use screen readers to gain a better understanding of your video content.
You can create subtitles and transcripts for your content yourself or use a service like Rev.
5. Avoid Pop-Ups, Autoplay and Animations
Try to eliminate or reduce the number of website elements and features that interrupt the user experience, such as pop-ups, auto-playing videos and animations. Not only are they distracting, they can also be dangerous for users who are susceptible to seizures.
According to WCAG, your website shouldn’t contain any elements that flash more than three times per second. This will allow users with photosensitive seizure disorders to use your website without any issues.
6. Audit Your Website Periodically
Fixing your website’s accessibility issues isn’t a one-and-done deal. As you keep adding new content, it’s likely you’ll run into more issues along the way.
You should audit your website for accessibility periodically and work on fixing any new issues that arise as soon as possible.
Stay Accessible for All
Apart from protecting your business from lawsuits, improving your website’s accessibility also helps you create a better, more inclusive customer experience. It can help increase brand awareness and influence your search engine rankings, as well.
You can use this guide to improve your website’s accessibility on your own. However, to make sure you’re doing everything possible, you may want to consider hiring an agency or consultant that specializes in ADA compliance, too.
Boris Mustapic is a writer and content marketing specialist with a decade of experience in the digital marketing industry. Having built his own successful ecommerce business, Boris likes to share his knowledge with ecommerce enthusiasts. Apart from writing about marketing and ecommerce, he also enjoys a good book and a glass of red wine.
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Boris Mustapic is a writer and content marketing specialist with a decade of experience in the digital marketing industry. Having built his own successful ecommerce business, he likes to share his knowledge with ecommerce enthusiasts. Apart from writing about marketing and ecommerce, Boris also enjoys a good book and a glass of red wine.