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Making Your eCommerce Site Accessible

Attracting as many site visitors as possible, and essentially keeping them coming back is and should be, the primary aim of any eCommerce retailer. Most commonly, online stores utilise a surplus of different features to optimise their chances of achieving this

A lot of eCommerce stores do however, forget that a portion of their potential customers also include people with disabilities that may require additional assistance to receive your content, and gain value from it.

If your website can’t be used by those with a disability, whether that be cognitive, physical, auditory, neurological, speech or visual, you’re in some ways limiting your store to a significant amount of potential buyers. By considering how accessible your site is, it benefits those who may be at a disadvantage, helps with SEO and improves your brand reach too.

1 Billion
People live with some form of disability
$13 Trillion
Globally, the market that includes people with disabilities as well as their family & friends has over $13 trillion in annual disposable income
46.4% Reach
eCommerce sites are among the least accessible, with 46.4% more errors than the average home page

So if you’re wondering how you can practice good site accessibility, here's how:


Using Colour Carefully

A lot of retailers use colour to communicate a particular functionality, the problem with this is that it can prevent colour blind shoppers from interpreting the information.

As an example, your site might indicate to a shopper that they missed or entered wrong information in a box by using the colour red when checking out. This is why it's important to use other cues as well like ‘this field is required’ helps users to perceive the information in the way it was intended.


Make Multimedia Inclusive

It’s no secret that multimedia and video can play a vital role in engaging with your customer base, but have you considered how those with visual or hearing impairments may struggle to enjoy your content if it’s not accessible?

By including audio descriptions or alt texts in visual media like images and gestures, blind users are able to enjoy navigating your site too. You should also provide text descriptions that narrate video or audio content for your shoppers that are hard of hearing, remembering to use contrasting colour captions.

Another less obvious benefit of transcribed audio content is that it makes it much easier for search engines to index your multimedia and therefore appear much higher in the rankings.


Easy to Read Headers

Screen readers are popular devices amongst those with disabilities, allowing them to have content read aloud to them. It’s a great idea to ensure all of your page titles and headings are set out in a logical format, written in a clear and understandable order.


Minimise Table Usage

Despite a screen reader's ability to inform a shopper of the amount of rows or columns in a table, it’s not as easy to decipher data in the order that the table is intended.

So, where possible it’s best to keep the use of tables to a minimum to avoid any confusion for the customer.

Just doing the right thing isn’t the only advantage of having a fully accessible eCommerce site. For online retailers, it also means a step closer towards opening up the digital world to everyone.

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