Digital Accessibility in E-Commerce

Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen an unprecedented shift toward online shopping, especially for people with disabilities. This shift requires companies to properly focus on improving their digital accessibility. Beyond being required by law, an accessible website is also a sound business decision as it can drastically improve sales.

People with disabilities are the largest minority group in the US, totaling 61 million people – that’s 26% of the population! And the law explicitly states that any commercial website must be accessible to anyone, whether they are sight impaired, color blind or cognitively disabled. A non-accessible website is deemed discriminatory under Title III of the American’s with Disabilities Act. These laws have been in place since 1990 and there is no excuse for arguing otherwise if your business is hit with an ADA lawsuit.

Whether your business is primarily a brick-and-mortar location, or you are exclusively e-commerce-based, all websites and apps must be accessible.

Avoid ADA Lawsuits

Web accessibility lawsuits are skyrocketing, forcing thousands of retailers to react and work toward becoming accessible. From publically traded companies, to local mom-and-pop small businesses, every digital property must be accessible. It is not a simple process, and it takes time. However, the longer a website or app is non-accessible, the more exposed it becomes for a lawsuit. And no sector has a higher exposure rate than retail, which makes up a massive percentage of the websites and apps that are targeted by serial litigants every year.

Avoid ADA Lawsuits

The best way to avoid such lawsuits is to get proactive and get your website accessible. Too many businesses hesitate to do so and get sued. Why not cut out the costly judgements and legal fees and get your apps and websites accessible?

Accessibility In Software Development

Accessibility: smart business, ethical business

Whether you have an online site to bolster your brick-and-mortar business or you are exclusively an e-commerce store, ensuring your website is accessible to everyone has multiple benefits beyond avoiding a costly lawsuit:

  • Ensure Every Customer Can Be Reached 61 million Americans are disabled. 50% of them use the internet daily. Some of them are your customers. Don’t leave them incapable of accessing your digital properties.
  • Happy Customers Are Returning Customers When a customer, regardless of limitations, can seamlessly access your website or app, it makes them happy. And as Baby Boomers age, they are acquiring new disabilities and having fully accessible websites and apps ensures they can continue to use your website despite these challenges.
  • Digital Accessibility Boosts Your Return on Investment (ROI) Beyond access for your customers, your digital properties is how you market yourself. Google and other search engines recognize when a website is optimized for accessibility and reward site owners with better placement in search results. They also penalize websites for not being accessible.

Document Your Digital Assets with a VPAT

Any commercial-based company faces incredibly stringent accessibility requirements. To minimize lawsuit exposure and secure contracts, you may need to get a VPAT for all of your digital properties. Whether that is your website, mobile app, or customer portal, they all must have a VPAT, documenting their accessibility.  The best way to secure a VPAT Template is by hiring a trained consultant to draft it for you. ADACP can help.

Accessibility Solutions: Manual Audits vs. Automated Scans

The best way to gain a complete understanding of how accessible your digital properties are and make sure that all the accessibility issues are addressed is to hire an expert who uses both automated and manual accessibility testing.

It’s unfortunate that many companies, keen to get into the ADA market as lawsuit threats continue to grow, tout automated software scans as a comprehensive solution when the AI is only capable of catching approximately 30% of non-compliant issues. In order to truly ensure ADA compliance, you must include a live audit, in which a trained technician tests your website for all the requirements.

Trained accessibility consultants can provide the guidance that companies need to find all conformance issues and create appropriate remediation strategies. Testing should include both manual and automatic testing.

Manual Audits vs. Automated Scans
ADA Compliance Pros

ADACP – Here To Help

With over a decade of experience, we are ready to deliver a hands-on approach to confirm that your company meets the required compliance for web accessibility. We will work hard to confirm that your website is compliant according to all required guidelines. Our Accessibility Team is composed of professional and skilled technicians who offer white glove support through the duration of the audit process. Although auditing digital products is complex, our quality of service is top-notch and our team does not rely solely on automated software scans because they are not enough to protect you from lawsuits or ensure your website gets sufficiently compliant.