4 Ways you can Improve your Ecommerce’s Accessibility
Nikita Tilsley August 23rd 2022 - 3 minute read
There are so many things you need to consider when you’re launching your online business. From marketing to supply and everything in between things naturally slip through the cracks. Online accessibility is one of the many things people can drop the ball on.
Whilst having a website for your business does increase accessibility, by implementing some simple measures you can make your ecommerce business even more consumer friendly.
Web accessibility simply means having an inclusive practice on your website, which reduces barriers for everyone, not just those with disabilities. Here are four areas you can focus on when improving your websites accessibility.
Do you remember a lot of early websites? With their odd colour blocking, flashing images and moving icons. That is an accessibility nightmare. Whilst websites like these have been banished to internet archives, colour pallets can still cause issues.
The colour of your text and background is fundamental to your users’ experience. Aim to have high contrasting colours. Typically, darker text on a lighter background works well but the reverse tends to be too much. Utilising high contrast colours will help visually impaired people or those with learning difficulties, like dyslexia, navigate your website more successfully.
If in doubt about your colour combinations, try using a colour wheel to find the best pairings.
There are other benefits to choosing the correct colour palette. it can help influence the mood and feeling of your website. By doing so you establish a subconscious connection between your brand and your consumer’s feelings towards it.
Where you can avoid clutter on your website. This serves two purposes; the first being it eases navigation as the site is cleaner. If your site is bloated it makes it hard for people to find what they want.
One of the main goals of for your business is to have a customer on a page for as long as possible. You risk losing someone if they get frustrated or overwhelmed by content. This can happen to your consumers if they have a learning difficulty, like ADHD, or they have a condition like anxiety. You want your website to have a non-hostile branding and layout as it instils as sense of relaxation and ease in your consumers.
The second reason you should focus on streamlining is to enable screen readers to function correctly. Screen readers are used by those with poor or no vision and are an imperative tool for them. If your website is cluttered and has poor navigation you risk isolating a potential part of your market.
You’ve probably heard this term, especially if you use social media to promote your business. Alt text is used to describe an image for users who have visual impairments. When a visually impaired person is using a screen-reader, it’s the alt text the reader register’s, not the image itself.
When it comes to writing alt-text, it’s best to keep it short and sweet. 125 characters is typically the recommended length. This is because alt-text is written in the html format. For example, this article’s image alt text might read: Black keyboard with green shift key labelled access.
When it comes to alt-text less is more but don’t let that stop you from being descriptive. Leave your alt-text blank and you risk a search engine filling it in for you. This can harm your ranking as the description may lack depth, or the engine will more likely misinterpret the image.
Take the time to fill in your alt-text and you’ll convey the message you want, whilst giving your SEO a boost.
Key Navigation and Clickable Areas
Being able to navigate a webpage using a keyboard is useful for those who are visually impaired and so rely on a screen reader. It’s also helpful for those affected by poor motor function and find it difficult to grip a mouse.
You can test keyboard navigation yourself by selecting your browser bar and clicking tab repeatedly. You’ll notice the links in your page are selected in sequence, starting with the navigation bar, which then switches to the side bar, if you have one, then it will select the links in the body of your text.
Running this test is a great way to see where your key information is located, so you can better prioritise your website. Whilst you’re at it, you could increase the clickable area of your buttons. In doing so you reduce the amount of miss clicks that occur for the visually impaired or whose who have reduced motor function.
This may seem like a lot of work but when these small things are implemented, they’ll elevate your user’s experience. Accessibility is for everyone, not just the disabled community. The beauty of these changes is they’re near seamless. Chances are your consumers won’t know they’re there unless they need them, and if they do, they’ll love how intuitive your website is.