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How to Check if Your E-Commerce Store is Accessible or Not?

"Digital accessibility" refers to the practice of building digital content and applications that can be used by people with disabilities. Here's how to make sure (beginner's guide) your e-commerce store is accessible, as suggested by our lead UX & UI Engineer.

Online shopping makes it possible for anyone with an internet connection to browse products and make purchases at their convenience. Naturally, the shopping experience is different for everyone, as we all have different tastes, habits, and preferences. However, for some people, online shopping can be quite tricky.

In this post, we share advice and steps you should take as an online store owner to ensure your e-commerce store complies with accessibility guidelines.

Before we mention any of our tips, let us just quickly go over the fact that you should not be checking the score of the performance of the web pages only once, before the launch.

Making sure that people with disabilities have equal access, even in the web and digital world, shouldn't be just a thing to check off your list.You should treat all of your customers as equally important, which means making sure they all have a fantastic experience shopping on your site.

Don't wait for a bad review.

Don't wait for mandatory compliance with government regulations.

Don't wait for things to go bad before they start going good. Make sure they are great.

Here's how.

Quick Tips

If you decide to glance over this article, we want you to remember at least the following:

  • Usability. Make sure every part of your e-commerce has more than one point of access. Think options for information input such as an on-screen keyboard, or site maps for looking up information.
  • Appearance. Customers need to be able to increase the size of your website by 200% with clear readability. Also note the hyperlinked information should be different from the normal text (underlined, bolded, in italics, or a different color).
  • Presentation. Descriptive text is written content that presents information. Color is a design element, and it is not needed to understand the content. Forms are easy to fill out and easy to fix. Also, your code is free of faults. No consumer is impressed with a broken site.
  • User control. Avoid pop-ups and auto-play. Make sure your site isn't timing out as there are individuals who need more time for specific activities.

Top Tricks from Our Lead UX & UI Engineer

But how to actually check if your e-commerce store is accessible or not?

If you are not sure where to start, our lead UX & UI Engineer has some advice. Read on.

Automated accessibility testing

For an initial analysis, Luiz recommends using an automated tool to check accessibility. Such tools will generate documentation that you can study, use, and follow to get the results. It is important to remember to check all the main pages of your e-commerce, not only the homepage.

Try to buy something in your store using only a keyboard

After that, the most straightforward is using your computer keyboard to try and make a purchase. You just need to use the key tab to move forward and tab + shift to move backward, then press space bar and enter to interact with the focusable elements of the page.

With this approach, you will be able to see if the page's focusable elements have different styles of focus.If you get lost using your keyboard and do not know where you are with the focus, you probably have an issue.

Use a screen reader

Another important tool that your operating system probably has is a screen reader. With this kind of tool, you will be able to browse any site and get voice feedback to inform you which element you are selecting. Then its purpose is to guide the user with visibility issues through the site.

On Mac OS and iOS, you can use VoiceOver. On Windows, you can use Narrator, and on Android, the screen reader's name is TalkBack. In any of these operational systems, you just need to enable it to start using and testing.

Ask for help

To avoid any issues, Luiz strongly suggests you ask for help.

You can get feedback from real users by using various user testing services. This will allow you to get objective feedback that you can use to improve customer and user experience.

You can also ask for someone with disabilities to test your store and ask for a professional front-end audit.

Whatever your course of action might be after reading this article, don't just do what's "good enough." Good enough isn't enough.

Your ultimate goal should be making your store accessible for multiple kinds of shoppers, devices, and needs.

Because we understand the complexity of the issue, we encourage you to do some additional research on the topic - W3C is a great place to start.

Alternatively, you can also reach out, our team and Luiz would gladly help to make your store optimized and your customers happier.

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Founded in 2011, IM Digital is a full-service e-commerce agency for D2C, B2B, and retail brands ready to become a household name.

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