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Accessibility in Ecommerce

July 18, 2019 |

The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect “- Tim Berbers -Le, Creator of the World Wide Web

Most eCommerce business owners are aware of the American Disability Act (ADA). Developing a website adhering to the ADA guidelines will provide people who are differently abled with the ability to access the website without any friction.

The ADA states, “no individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation.”

Why do eCommerce websites need to be accessible?

Around 30 million people in the US are differently abled. This includes cognitive issues, hearing loss, and vision loss. This group of people will also have Web-impacting disabilities, which create a barrier for them to navigate websites.Right now, we are experiencing the shopping shift taking place from brick and mortar stores to online storefronts. It was stated that there are approximately 4 billion internet users in the world as of March 2019. So eventually, this pushes the physical retail business towards online business. People who are differently abled should accept this change. But the question is, do they have a smooth user experience on the website? If the website is not developed and designed for accessibility by following the ecommerce ADA guidelines, then the whole business is shut down for this group of people who are differently abled.People with visual disabilities use screen readers to navigate through a website. But, most websites are designed in a way that supports mouse navigation. Differently abled people use a keyboard for website navigation. Therefore, the design needs to be done in the way for screen readers to read the pages, because visually challenged people depend on screen readers to read the content of a page. The screen reader follows the order of the content in the HTML file.  In the designing process, nesting should be followed to make the screen reader read in a structured way.

How can eCommerce websites comply with ADA?

In recent years, a number of lawsuits were filed against eCommerce giants like Amazon, Netflix, Nike, and Bed Bath & Beyond for not complying with the ADA guidelines. Business owners should invest in designing and developing the websites as per the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and make it ADA compliant. Most companies have been very disdainful towards implementing ADA compliance on their websites until they are faced with lawsuits.

You can cross-check your websites with the following items:

  1. The website should be accessed by the screen readers used by the visually challenged people.
  2. Providing alt text to all images and text descriptions/tooltip for all navigation elements.
  3. Including subtitles in the audio/video content. Closed Captioning is a must for all online videos.
  4. Every navigation in the website should be accessed by using tab, tab+shift keys on the keyboard.
  5. Clear labeling in the forms.
  6. Intuitive error messages which would be easily understood by people who are differently abled.
  7. Neat and elegant HTML code, as per the W3C standard.
  8. Color and contrast should be considered when selecting the contrast between the text and the background on which the text resides. The standard ratio is 4.5:1 for an ordinary text and 3:1 for a larger text.
  9. Awareness of font styles, family and capitalization which can affect accessibility.

As said by the Interaction Institute for Social Change(IISC) support “Equity not Equality.” The below image will help in explaining this scenario.

IISC Equality vs Equity

Image credit: by: Angus Maguire

Instead of facing potential litigation, business owners can take steps to make their websites accessible to all people. Besides adhering to compliance, developing sites accessible to differently abled people makes a good economic and social sense.


Here at DCKAP, we recommend Accessible Rich Internet Application (ARIA) development for your eCommerce store. ARIA is a special set of attributes added to your HTML markup which provides the opportunity for more differently abled people to access your website without any issues.

Doing an extensive dig through with the Quality Assurance teams who are experts in accessibility verification, you can find out the accessibility issues in your current website. DCKAP can help in making your site ADA compliant. Please contact us for any queries.



Sivaranjani is an ISTQB Certified Foundation Level QA professional with more than seven years of experience in QA Testing. She has extensive knowledge on all phases of the testing life cycle, including requirements analysis, project planning, scheduling, testing, defect tracking, management, and reporting, along with effective coordination and interaction with internal as well as client stakeholders of both onshore and offshore teams. Sivaranjani is proficient as a QA Lead with a focus on leading and training the QA team members. Swift in her work, and with a keen eye for detail, she constantly tries to better herself and is always eager to learn about new technologies.

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