With the exponential growth of online shopping and the use of eCommerce solutions, it is crucial that retailers design their online stores with accessibility to all customers including those with disabilities. The American Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. Title III of the ADA requires that businesses offer the same services to both disabled and able-bodied customers.
Recently, there has been an increase in the number of legal cases involving website accessibility and judges are upholding the spirit of the ADA extending its reach to online user experiences. Well-known companies like Brooks Brothers and Foot Locker are among the over 200 lawsuits filed against websites in violation of ADA accessibility compliance. With over 50 million people with disabilities in the United States alone, it is essential for online businesses to comply with the guidelines the law has put in place, not only to protect your business from possible litigation and potential revenue loss but also to ensure that all customers have access to a full online shopping experience.
Addressing Accessibility Concerns
There are several common obstacles that disabled individuals face when interacting with a website that does not support assistive features. Major accessibility concerns are:
- Colors and Font Sizes
- Documents with Inaccessible Formats
- Multimedia Lacking Accessible Features
- Images Absent of Text Equivalents
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) act as a widely accepted standard for eCommerce enabled businesses to reference as they begin the process of becoming fully compliant. As a standard here at DotcomWeavers, our priorities in the process of making a site ADA compliant include addressing the items from the checklists of levels A & AA as well as verifying ADA compliance on a site using a popular tool like PowerMapper Accessibility Checker.
|Level A Compliance||Level AA Compliance|
|ALT text for images||No text of images|
|Alternatives for pre-recorded content||Resizable text (200%)|
|No auto-playing audio||Contrast Ratio (4.5:1)|
|Color and Indications||Captions for video/audio content UK|
|Directions/Error Identification for user input||Audio descriptions of pre-recorded content|
|Keyboard Accessibility||Several Navigation paths|
|User Controls for moving, blinking, scrolling, time-limited content||Obvious labels and headings|
|Option to Skip Repeated Content||Consistent menus and buttons with apparent identification|
|Available Language Change Capabilities|
|Keyboard Focus (Visual)|
|Input error suggestions and prevention (sensitive data)|
While these steps address some of the items presented by the WUHCAG checklists, our development and design team also makes it a priority to integrate tools to enhance the customer journey of all differently abled individuals. This is accomplished with the help of a widget like UserWay. DCW installs the tool onto a site such as Nemo Tile+Stone and Cutting Edge Stencils to provide the customers with the option to manipulate the page view in some areas like increase font size, make page two-tone colored, text to speech conversion, and much more.
The Magento 2 Platform can not only provide solutions to these accessibility concerns but it can do so without compromising on UX of the site. With Magento, a business can create a personalized customer journey that places an emphasis on equitable experiences that can benefit an entire customer base.
Such experiences include interaction with essential elements of your site such as the conversion funnel and common keyboard navigation techniques such as TAB Keys and HTML “taborder” for those who are unable to use a mouse. These aspects go beyond typical screen readers and assistive technologies. Adjustments to color contrast, font sizes, and replacing images or symbols with text instructions will improve the overall usability of the desktop and mobile versions of an online store and create a consistent experience of a brand or a store throughout.
Full ADA compliance of a site is also dependent on important accessibility technologies that may require the help of an expert development and design team like DotcomWeavers to integrate throughout your Magento site.
| Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA)|
A protocol designed by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)
|Skip to Content|
Essential For those who rely on a keyboard to maneuver through a website
Standard Magento online store contains numerous categories and subcategories which rely on dropdown menus and mouse hover
This makes navigation difficult for those who rely on keyboard navigation
Benefits of and ADA Complaint Site
While taking steps toward full compliance is critical in protecting your business from potential litigation, it also has its economic benefits as well:
- Increased Traffic and Conversions: The use of accessibility widgets and tools like User way, alternate text for images, text and audio descriptions and color contrast adjustments not only give more efficient and effective access to your site content, but it also boosts traffic and conversions because of its more universal reach to customers.
- Marketing Potential: If your online store is ADA compliant and features accessibility for all, your brand reputation will benefit and remain competitive in the marketplace. With no way of accessing your content, a potential customer may navigate away from your page and boost the conversion rates on a competitor’s site.
- Organic SEO: ADA compliant websites often receive higher rankings on search result lists with search engines like Google and Bing.
- Boost Business Goodwill and Brand Value: By enabling all customers with the capability to interact and use your content efficiently, your brand value increases, and the relationship with your customers becomes more personal.
DotcomWeavers understands the importance of ADA compliance and how to integrate within the Magento ecosystem and will be your trusted partner in bringing ADA compliance to your website. We will work closely with you to bring your valuable content to customers of all backgrounds and abilities. We do not believe in making your site ADA compliant by just integrating with off the shelf third party systems but rather build upon a strong foundation that offers a long term solution while adhering closely to the essential WUHCAG guidelines.
Contact us today to protect your online store from legal disputes while elevating your business practices and relationships with a diverse customer base.