Understanding Web Accessibility
Web accessibility is a means by which you, like an e-commerce business, can design your website in a way that persons with disabilities can also use without any difficulty. When you are considering web accessibility, you need to consider different forms of disability, including:
• Sight-associated disability
• Movement-associated disability
• Cognitive-associated disability
Understanding that site owners might need help in enhancing accessibility, the Web Accessibility Initiative has put together the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Ignoring Website accessibility is no longer a feasible option. How can you prevent your company from being a target for an ADA website compliance lawsuit? Guidelines for websites considering being accessible to people with disabilities have been existent for nearly two decades, thanks to W3C Web Accessibility Initiative. A close cousin to user experience design and usability, accessibility improves the overall ease of use for web pages and mobile applications by eliminating barriers and empowering more people to successfully complete their tasks. Most companies don’t understand how people use their website or mobile app, or how they utilize their mobile or assistive tech devices to finish tasks. Even riskier is not being aware of updates in accessibility guidelines and new accessibility laws around the world.
Now more than ever, providing the right website accessibility is becoming irrefutably crucial, not only because it is the right thing to do or giving all the visitors an opportunity to enjoy your services or products, but also because costly lawsuits against companies with suspected non-compliance have rapidly increased over the past few years. Those settlements and suits can lead to a huge financial burden on businesses. Some might even end up going bankrupt while attempting to resolve an issue, be it through the court or out-of-court settlement.
Honestly, no public-facing business is safe from this kind of litigation. Small and medium-sized businesses, as well as large companies, are being sued for similar accessibility problems. A more concerning issue is that the majority of these lawsuits are targeted at small and medium operation businesses, which will face more impact than their larger peers.
It has never been a better time to ask yourself “is my website ADA compliant?”
Tips To Avoid ADA Accessibility Suit
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Lawsuits like ADA website compliance can have terrible consequences. Not only do they result in heavy penalties and legal fees, but they could also mar your reputation, making you lose your customers. Here are a few tips to avoid website accessibility lawsuits.
Build a Culture of Accessibility
Forming a culture of accessibility improves your brand image and also positions you as a wide-ranging and anti-discriminatory organization. Here is how you can inspire a culture of accessibility in your firm and avoid the risk of facing accessibility lawsuits.
- Refer to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
- Run Consistent Accessibility Audits
- Offer Continuous In-House Training For Your Staff
Use the P.O.U.R. Principle
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have a simple principle for making website content available to people with disabilities. It asks businesses to make their content P.O.U.R (Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust). Simply put, users need to be able to easily access content, navigate through the site, and interact with the features on a website.
Here is how you can create content that will satisfy these criteria:
- Use assistive devices like screen readers to aid your visually impaired users to access the site with ease. Fangs for Mozilla Firefox and ChromeVox Classic Extension for Google Chrome are among the most popular ones.
- Include helpful features, like keyboard or joystick navigators, Braille readers, and screen magnifiers for users who cannot use a mouse or any other kind of controls.
- Design the site content logically and practically, allowing users to interpret the layout. Also, add captions for visual content and labels.
The Right Color Balance Matters
How you use colors is a vital component of web accessibility. That is because one in every 200 women and one in every 12 men ail from color blindness. If you do not design your e-commerce site’s color scheme considerately, you can alienate a notable customer base. A great way of boosting accessibility with color is to use colors from the opposite ends of the color wheel. The effect of doing so is creating higher contrast between those colors, making them stand out for colorblind users.
Furthermore, it is not only colors that help colorblind users distinguish between different elements on your site, other factors come into play as well. Since a section of colorblind users might still struggle to identify the difference between various colored page elements, you have to employ shapes and textures and to address this difficulty. For instance, if a link on your site has a different color, you could consider underlining it. Equal access to all implies creating an e-commerce website that offers all users the color aids they require to convert into a paying customer.
Craft A More Inclusive Customer Experience
You already know the numbers and almost 90 percent of online shoppers refuse to return to a website if they suffer from one poor customer experience. This means that the retail landscape now entails high personalization to satisfy your shoppers. When it comes to web accessibility, the situation does not change. If anything, the stakes are greater as emerging e-commerce trends leave your customers better informed.
To prevent nasty ADA lawsuits, you need a total inventory of the current user experience you are shipping. Put yourself in the shoes of those disabled shoppers and go through your site from research to checkout. Did you like the experience, or were there conspicuous flaws you need to fix? As you evaluate your user experience, dig deeply into all aspects of the customer journey. It is easy to make shallow changes for a false sense of assurance, but only deep analysis can truly stir the needle. For example, look at your support function. If users with an issue require to send a screenshot to your team for resolution, the same process can be challenging for visually disabled users using screen readers. Hence, it would be practical to invest in an accessible alternative that will empower a user to raise pain points and seek your assistance more effectively.
Bet Bigger On Transcription And Video Captioning
Transcribing any audio content on your site will make it available for hearing-impaired shoppers. Likewise, adding closed captions in your videos is another way to reach those who cannot hear the audio, encouraging them to engage with your website more.
The best thing about focusing on transcription and video captioning for your e-commerce website is that it also carries secondary benefits across a wider user base. An excellent example is how users watch Instapage videos. A majority of users, both hearing-impaired and not depend on text running alongside the video. That results in more leads and potentially greater conversion rates.
Incorporate Accessibility Tools On Your Website
Web-based website accessibility tools are a helpful resource if you are looking to make sure your website meets established accessibility standards. However, since website accessibility is a subset of website usability, you have to ensure your website is accessible to make it usable. If you aim to bring your site into line with the Web Accessibility Guidelines, you require accessibility testing tools to audit your website’s content, design, and code. These tools are meant to assist website developers in making their sites more accessible for people with disabilities. Accessibility Spark introduces an interface that is fully customizable and adapts to your web design from sizes, icons, colors, shapes and much more!
Remember: Accessibility Features Benefits Everyone
Nearly 15 percent of the world’s population lives with some form of disability or the other. However, the remaining 85 percent is also affected by situational limitations like a broken arm, poor internet connection, or bright sunlight at some point. These people can benefit from accessibility features on your website and will value your brand for it.
For instance, the text-to-speech or voice recognition feature will help a visually impaired user and even a mother holding her baby. Similarly, adding captions on video content can help a person hard of hearing and someone in a noisy environment. When designing your website or mobile app, make sure you include such accessibility features, giving a strong message that your business believes in people’s right to use the internet and online services.
The significance of digital accessibility is growing every year. If your business site lacks digital accessibility, you are not only offending 15 percent of the global population but also attracting unnecessary expensive lawsuits that can damage your reputation.
Today’s online shopper is more discerning and conscious, meaning you cannot get by with poor web accessibility. This means you need to invest in making your e-commerce site more wide-ranging. If you don’t, you might lose potential sales and risk facing an ADA Title III lawsuit. Assess your site with empathy toward the disabled to improve its usability. Not only is it cheaper than a lawsuit, but it will get you more leads and conversions along the way. Accessibility spark is here to help you avoid any kind of lawsuits concerning ADA website compliance rules.