Today, web accessibility is more important than ever, thanks to the progression of digital transformation. This has created numerous opportunities for people to access important information, services, goods, and other tools online that allow people to do almost anything, from ordering a pizza to voting in elections.Nonetheless, the benefits of the internet can be harder to reap for people living with disabilities. 90 percent of public and commercial websites are not entirely accessible to those who rely on assistive technology to access the web. But you can do better with the help of website design experts and useful resources that can guide you in the direction of creating an eCommerce website that is great for everyone alike.
Table of Contents:
Why Web Accessibility is Vital
Key Web Accessibility Statistics
Tips to Improve Your eCommerce Website Accessibility
Web accessibility is crucial for several reasons, many of which touch society’s social, economic, and legal fabric.
Web accessibility is a social issue for people living with disabilities. Accessing the web, its content, and services without barriers allows all people to participate in our society and, thus, prevents further marginalization.
Around 15% of the world’s population is living with disabilities. This figure is likely to increase as people live longer and experience more significant limitations to their vision, motor functions, and hearing.
Web accessibility helps brands to reach a much larger audience, which can lead to new customers and an increase in revenue. Furthermore, ignoring the disabled community means ignoring millions of potential customers with billions in purchasing power.
According to a study, online retailers in the UK lost up to £11.75 billion due to a lack of web accessibility.
In many places, web accessibility is protected under the law. In the United States, Canada, and European Union, web accessibility is a right and therefore requires brands to ensure their digital commerce websites and online content are accessible. Failure to comply with web accessibility standards can land brands in hot water.In 2019, a lawsuit was filed against Beyonce’s entertainment company, Parkwood Entertainment, alleging the signer’s website is not adequately accessible to visually impaired visitors who rely on screen readers. The moral of the story: if Beyonce cannot get away with an inaccessible website, no one can.
In eCommerce, web accessibility is not only a moral obligation but also a business necessity. In order to make your eCommerce website usable to as many people as possible, it’s important to factor in website accessibility along with other design considerations. Your website content and design shouldn’t be a hindrance for anyone, regardless of their abilities. Here are some tips on how to make your website accessible:
Write anchor text that is understandable and simple
Anchor text is text that helps you go to other places on a website. You should use understandable and straightforward words when writing anchor text. Your anchor text alone can motivate your readers to navigate a page through the link. For example, instead of writing ‘Also Read’, try ‘Read to learn more about website accessibility.’
Use fonts that are easy to read
Choose fonts that are clear and legible. Avoid using decorative or fancy fonts as they can be hard to read, especially for people with dyslexia. How do you expect your website to convert visitors into leads if they can’t even read your content? Try using fonts such as Arial, Verdana, or Tahoma. Also, you can achieve text clarity by allowing your users to resize the text on your website as per their reading capability. You can go through the Website Accessibility Guidelines to know more in detail.
Don’t use too many colors
Having colors is great. But did you know that some colors can be hard to see for people with color blindness? For example, green and red can look the same to someone with a deuteranomaly. So, it’s essential to have a proper color contrast on your website. You can use a tool like Contrast Checker to check the color contrast on your website. The recommended ratio is 4.5:1 for large text and 3:1 for standard text.
Order content in HTML for screen readers
When you create content for your website, make sure to order it in HTML. This will help screen readers understand the structure of your web page and provide a better experience for users with disabilities.
Keep a keyboard-friendly design
Not everyone will use a mouse to scroll through your website. Some users may rely on a keyboard or screen reader to navigate your site. So, it’s important to have a keyboard-friendly design. This means that all the links and form fields on your website should be accessible using a keyboard. If you’re in an online selling business, make sure that users can navigate your product listing without having to use a mouse.
Add ALT text to images
When you add images to your website, be sure to include ALT text. This is important for users who are blind or have low vision as screen readers will read the ALT text aloud. The ALT text should describe the image and its purpose on the web page. For example, if you’re adding an image of a product, the ALT text should include the product name and details.
Use simple and concise language
Don’t use jargon or complex words on your website. Use language that is easy to understand, even for users who are not familiar with technical terms. This will help make your content accessible to a broader audience.
Use a 44×44 px. clickable area for touch controls
If you want your website to be accessible on mobile devices, it’s important to have a 44×44 px. clickable area for touch controls. This will help users with dexterity issues as they will be able to easily tap on links and buttons on your website. According to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), the minimum target size for touch controls should be 44×44 px. For online selling businesses, make sure your CTA buttons are big enough so that users can easily tap on them.
Use audio description with video content
If you’re adding video content to your website, be sure to include audio description. This is important for users who are blind or have low vision as it will help them understand the video. Audio description should include information about what is happening on the screen, such as the actions of the characters, the setting, and the emotions.
Provide captions for audio content
If you’re adding audio content to your website, be sure to provide captions. This is important for users who are deaf or hard of hearing as it will help them understand the audio. Captions should include all the important information such as dialogues, sound effects, and speaker identification.
Include a transcript for video content
If you’re adding video content to your website, be sure to include a transcript. This is important for users who are deaf or hard of hearing as it will help them understand the video. The transcript should include all the important information such as dialogues, sound effects, and speaker identification.
Websites with accessibility features provide a better experience for all users, including those with disabilities. By following the tips mentioned above, you can make your website more accessible and improve the user experience for everyone.