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How Non-ADA Compliance Impacts the Holiday Season

December 6, 2019 |

It’s always been a massive challenge for business owners to implement ADA compliance in their online stores. There will always be some question that pops up in the stakeholders’ discussion about needing their website to be ADA compliant, such as:

  • Are there any differently abled users accessing the website?
  • How much does it cost to implement the ADA compliance from the annual budget?

The answer is:

  • Yes, of course, the site should be ADA compliant to avoid any lawsuit from being filed.
  • The user count of differently abled visitors visiting the website; there are currently no reports that show how many differently abled users have visited the website.
  • Google Analytics will show you how visitors come to your website through factors such as – the age group, devices, and the location of your audience.

There are many people with disabilities that make a great spending online. You can find the real online experience of a blind user below:

Lee is colorblind and encounters barriers when shopping online. He has one of the most common visual disabilities that affect men: red and green color blindness. Lee frequently shops online and sometimes encounters problems on websites and apps, where the color contrast of the text and images are not adequate, and where color alone is used to indicate the required fields and sale prices. When the red and green color combinations are used, Lee cannot distinguish between the two, since both look brown to him. It is also very challenging for him to make product choices when the color swatches have not been labeled with the name of the color.

Like Lee, there are plenty of differently abled users that are unable to buy gifts online for their loved ones. Fortunately, Lee has had better experiences with online sites and apps that use adequate contrast, thus allowing him to adjust the contrast settings in his browser. He has also been able to recognize better at the time when the information is required when asterisks are used. Lee is more easily able to identify the products that he would like to purchase, especially with clothing, when the color label names are included in the selection options rather than the color swatches alone.”

To know what needs to be done in an online store to make it accessible for everyone without any barriers, let’s start with the federal law that enacted this accessibility barrier for differently abled users.

What is ADA?

The ADA is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life.

Why is ADA Important?

  • Address People’s Accessibility Issues – Introducing the essence of equality even in the virtual world.
  • Expand Networks – Giving businesses and enterprises a chance to widen their bases and networks.
  • Have Tax Incentives – Pay lower taxes and have a better website, where you can get 50% of your money as your tax credit, based on the expenditure in implementing ADA compliance on your website.

Keeping all this in mind, let’s have a look at some of the statistics. It’s always good to have some numbers while brainstorming, to implement new features on the website.

According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, “61 million adults in the United States live with a disability.” Nearly 1 out of 4 people in the US have some kind of disability.

Why Does It Matter to Be ADA Compliant?

Disabilities may increase in the next decade.
Governments and businesses must be prepared to completely accommodate people with disabilities.
In particular, organizations must ensure that their websites, apps, and all the digital properties are accessible.
Discarding ADA compliance on your website will have you exposed to customer lawsuits.

There is a steep increase in lawsuits filed under Title III of the ADA, which deals with compliance issues in the areas opened for public access in the federal court. From the graph given below, we can clearly picturize the increase in lawsuits in recent years.

Business Setbacks

Threat #1 – Being Sued With a Lawsuit for Not Being ADA Compliant

Websites are the “places of public accommodation.” If the sites have accessibility barriers in the user interface for differently abled users, they will be considered as an alien, thus leading to litigation.

Threat #2 – Reduced Market Share

As per the US Department of Labor report in the US, people with disabilities have $175 billion in spending online. If your website is closing the doors and is unable to cater to the needs of the differently abled, you are, in turn, reducing the market share.

Threat #3 – Brand Damage

Being a non-ADA compliant website shows your corporate social responsibility among your customer groups. This will lead to a decrease in customer loyalty, and eventually, the loss of trust in your brand.

Threat #4 – Website Ranking

The fixes for being an ADA complaint include:

  • Providing a stable and accurate alternative text for your images.
  • Button elements
  • Accurate transcripts for your audio files.

This shows that SEO goes hand in hand with web accessibility by accommodating all types of users, irrespective of the disabilities. If the websites are non-ADA compliant, there will be a lower conversion rate and a higher bounce rate, which will tend to lower the site’s ranking, as the Google algorithm always appreciates the best practices.

Disability inclusion, as a part of your business strategy, will help in increasing the productivity of your business. When the accessibility is enabled for the differently abled users on your website, you will have a closely connected business. Being an ADA compliant website without any accessibility issues will spread a positive message about your brand among your customer groups.

As per the Baymard Institute, the average eCommerce site can improve its conversion rate by 35% just with a better design, which has an inclusive approach.

Last holiday season, gift cards were ranked in the first place, as per Deloitte survey on the US internet users during the holiday season. Gift cards were the most wanted holiday gifts among 61% of the US internet users surveyed. This constitutes a good number of online users that are differently abled.

The holiday season is nearing, make your website ADA compliant and get rid of accessibility issues. Open the doors for differently abled users to give them a chance to have an excellent user experience to buy gifts for their family and friends. Each penny spent by you on ADA compliance implementation is worth it, hence bringing smiles on the faces of millions of users.


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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