Making ecommerce accessible for everyone

Accessibility is a hot topic. From Alison Mau’s opinion piece pointing out the ridiculousness of pedal bins in disabled toilets to the push back for plastic straws to be kept available in restaurants for those with disabilities, it is an issue more people are becoming aware of every day.

And with New Zealand’s ageing population, accessibility will continue to be an important feature both online and off. According to analytics collected by Google, more than 250,000 Storbie users are over the age of 55, with almost 95,000 of those 65+.

Being actively inclusive benefits everyone. But for the 24% of New Zealanders who identify as having a disability, it can make a world of difference.

Online should be accessible to all. Allowing shoppers to browse your Storbie website in their own time, on whatever device and from wherever they are, along with having items delivered to their home, are just some of the advantages.

Accessibility is especially important if your business provides products for the elderly and disabled, and should be a major consideration in the set up of your website.

Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can make to ensure your Storbie website is accessible for everyone.

Images with Alternative Text for visually impaired users

Alternative text helps SEO and is a feature of web accessibility. Visually impaired users browsing with screen readers will be read the description of an image to better understand what it is. You don’t need to say “This is a photo of…”, just simply describe it, remembering to incorporate your keywords.

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Clear, concise text in an easy-to-read font

It’s not just those with visual impairments that could be on your website. People with reading difficulties and English as a second language may also be interested in your products. Keep text simple, use your keywords, and choose legible fonts.

Considered colour choices for those with colour-blindness

Colour blindness affects approximately 1 in 12 men and 1 in 260 women. That’s around 200,000 Kiwis with colour vision deficiency. Some ways to make your site colour-friendly is to limit your colour palette to 2 or 3 choices, use texture and patterns along with colour differences to show contrast, and incorporate symbols where you might otherwise just use colour to convey a message or attract a customer’s attention.

Some colours to avoid putting together are:

  • Green and Red
  • Green and Brown
  • Green and Blue
  • Green and Grey
  • Green and Black
  • Light Green and Yellow
  • Blue and Purple

Need help choosing colours? Read our article on choosing the right colours for your website.

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Videos with captions for the hearing impaired

Closed captions are great for a number of reasons. They help the hearing impaired as well as giving your video an SEO boost. And as the majority of online shoppers now browse from their mobile, it enables people to watch wherever they are, without headphones.

Clear pathways to and from products

Dropdown menus that only appear when hovered over can be frustrating for those with dexterity issues. Your site should be easy to navigate and follow logically from home page through to its child pages. This is helpful for those with short term memories as well as providing another boost for SEO. Having a clear “home” button is also important.

Stress-free Shipping

Delivery of products is a huge benefit of online shopping. However late items, or packages not turning up at all can cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety and stress. Provide clear shipping information on your website and, if possible, integrate your Storbie site with a shipping service that will track goods and provide updates and reassurances for customers.

 

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