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4 Reasons ADA Compliance is Important for Ecommerce Stores

Written by publishing team

Accessibility has been getting a lot of attention over the past five years — and it hasn’t stopped anytime soon. Everywhere in the digital world, people are adapting their presence (website, social media, forums, etc.) to include a wider range of audiences and give a helping hand to previously ignored people.

Think back to the time when all stores had to install ramps to access wheelchairs, similarly, there is now a need to make all online e-commerce sites accessible to a range of visitors with different abilities. It includes including people with a wide range of barriers to access – permanent, temporary or situational. People included range from completely blind, color blind and visually impaired. Of course, it is not only about visual conditions, but also people who are deaf, have movement impairments and even cognitive impairments.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990. It prohibits discrimination against anyone on the basis of ability or disability. Under the ADA, web content must be available to blind users, deaf users, and those who must navigate by voice, screen readers, or other assistive technologies. Failure to do so could result in a huge lawsuit.

In fact, in August of 2021, ADA lawsuits were on track to reach the highest number ever recorded. We’re now in 2022, and it won’t be surprising when that prediction proves true.

Not only can these lawsuits cost your business thousands of dollars, but they also make your company look apathetic and irresponsible.

Let’s look at four additional reasons why your ecommerce store should be ADA compliant:

Increases the number of potential customers for your store

The most obvious advantage of including everyone in your user group and making sure that a large group of visitors can access your site is that the more people who can use your website, the more people can convert and actually buy something. It’s the easiest way to grow your presence – and cater to people who have intent to buy, but are blocked by a lack of access.

In the world, it is estimated that more than 650 million people have a disability and some say it is as high as 15% of the world’s population. This user group has a purchasing power of $175 billion. Simply having an accessible website opens them up to a greater market share for these users – and at the end of the day, it also improves the experience for existing users.

Develops customer trust and increases brand value

Trust is one of the biggest aspects that makes a customer choose to do business. Trust comes with the company being consistent and understanding, which is reflected in the way the platform relates to its users. This can be shown by being present to users who have different abilities as well – and scoring cake points with the users.

Today, seven out of ten millennials in the US consider company values ​​when making a purchase — compared to 52% of all US online adults. Many of the company’s core values ​​include words such as inclusivity, empathy, understanding, etc. So the real question is – how does one have a company logo or core values ​​that are all about inclusivity and at the same time potentially alienate a significant portion of the population who wants to do business with your company? Talking walk!

Keeps your business safe from legal risks and customer dissatisfaction

Trust can also be broken once it is established. A lot of legal issues and customer outrage have involved access in recent years. In an iconic case, a student at the University of California-Berkeley (the president of the California Association of Blind Students) sued Target for having a website inaccessible to blind users. With the support of the National Federation of the Blind, Target had to pay $6 million for the final settlement and continue to cooperate with the NFB to ensure accessibility. The lawsuit is used to highlight the many companies’ websites that do not, if any, do well with screen-reading technology, and are widely referenced even today.

It keeps innovation going

By embracing accessibility and inclusive design practices, many organizations are able to access new innovations as a valuable by-product. People have found that designing with a more diverse group of people in mind leads to better overall creativity and new ideas that apply to all users. There are many everyday examples: capabilities such as screen magnification, annotations, and voice control are in regular use by the public without people thinking of them as purely accessibility features.

The largest companies have recognized this and considered accessibility a fundamental human right. They push their products to be better and more humane. Microsoft has had success in recent years with a growing focus on accessibility and has incorporated that into its marketing as well. Google also has innovation in the field of not just natural language processing, but non-linguistic processing, a method for processing sounds and tones – a way to benefit the hearing impaired. Apple, too, is not too far behind in pioneering access to Braille and other access measures for its products.

It is imperative that e-commerce platforms have accessible designs. But how to make sure that their website is accessible? One thing to do is to understand the ADA compliance guidelines and follow them in the next redesign. You can also outsource your efforts to platforms that handle the universal accessibility of your platform.

There is no doubt that accessibility is the way forward for every platform today.

About the author

publishing team