Most websites are unintentionally built with barriers to people with disabilities. While Section 508 requires Federal agencies to have accessible websites, eCommerce business owners should also be wary of their store’s accessibility. For starters, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, leading to many web accessibility lawsuits across the country.
Could My eCommerce Site Face an Accessibility Lawsuit?
Among other factors, an accessible eCommerce website:
- Can be read and navigated with screen readers
- Uses alt tags to describe images
- Incorporates color combinations that meet specified contrast ratios
- Can be consumed with a keyboard and monitor (no mouse needed)
Therefore, if your eCommerce store was not specifically designed and tested by accessibility experts, it is at risk for a lawsuit because it doesn’t provide equal accommodations for users with disabilities.
According to the Bureau of Internet Accessibility, thousands of accessibility lawsuits were filed in 2018. Some of the most widely sued industries included retail and apparel stores, restaurants, and eCommerce websites. Some websites that have been hit with lawsuits in the past few years include: Nordstrom, Warby Parker, Kylie Jenner Inc., and Glossier.
Why Else Should I Care About eCommerce Accessibility?
First of all, making your eCommerce store accessible can help you tap into a larger market. According to the CDC, over 20% of adults in the US have a disability. This number is only expected to grow as the population ages.
Secondly, while federal agencies are under the microscope with Section 508, many eCommerce websites have not caught up with the latest accessibility standards. At this time, making your website accessible can give you a competitive edge over other stores.
Finally, designing for accessibility tends to overall enhance UX. All users should benefit from implementing updates that make your website easier to consume.
How to Test for Accessibility
While an initial automated scan can pick up on obvious issues, other problems can only be discovered with a certified specialist or by getting real users to test. Atlantic BT uses a combination of the following for thorough accessibility audits:
- Automated Testing – We use automated checkers to identify accessibility issues in your code.
- Expert Reviews – Certified accessibility professionals review behavior on your site.
- User Testing – Go straight to the source and test with users who have disabilities.
Where to Start Enhancing Your Store’s UX
Atlantic BT is well-versed with eCommerce websites and accessibility. Our CPACC certified professionals are able to audit your website, make recommendations, and implement design and development changes. Book and free consultation to learn more about our services.