Unlocking Shopify Accessibility to Boost Sales & Avoid Lawsuits

March 6, 2024

Welcome to the digital era where inclusivity isn't just a buzzword—it's your ticket to unlocking untapped market potential and safeguarding your Shopify store against costly legal pitfalls. Did you know that nearly one in four adults in the U.S. lives with a disability? Yet, countless online stores unknowingly shut the door on this demographic, leading to increased cart abandonment and missed revenue opportunities. More startling is the sharp rise in ADA compliance lawsuits, hitting businesses where it hurts the most. This isn't just about doing the right thing; it's about smart business. If you're running a Shopify store, understanding and implementing web accessibility could be the game-changer you didn't know you needed.

The Silent Sales Killer: Inaccessible Websites

Imagine entering a store, eager to make a purchase, only to find the aisles cluttered and the products out of reach. This is the daily reality for millions of disabled users navigating inaccessible websites. Such barriers are not just frustrating; they're a breeding ground for cart abandonment. The truth is, disabled users represent a significant portion of the consumer market. By overlooking web accessibility, you're not just excluding a vast group of potential customers; you're leaving money on the table.

Legal Landmines: The Rising Tide of ADA Lawsuits

Beyond the business implications, there's a looming legal threat over inaccessible websites. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and various global regulations mandate digital accessibility, and non-compliance has led to a surge in lawsuits. These aren't just minor legal skirmishes; they're costly battles that can tarnish your brand's reputation and drain your resources. It's not only big corporations that are in the crosshairs. Organizations earning less than $25 million annually are the subjects of 77% of these lawsuits. In 2023, the eCommerce industry accounts for 84% of all ADA litigation with average settlements ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.

Ignorance is no defense in the eyes of the law, and the message is clear: make your website accessible, or risk becoming the target of litigation.

Navigating the Path to Accessibility

Fortunately, making your Shopify store accessible is more straightforward than you might think. Shopify itself offers some built-in accessibility features, and with the assistance of an experienced Accessibility team you can enhance your website's usability for disabled users. Zenyth can help you achieve conformance with key standards like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG),  ensuring your site is accessible, navigable and enjoyable for all users.

A Win-Win: Business Benefits of Web Accessibility

Embracing accessibility isn't just about dodging lawsuits; it's about expanding your market reach and enhancing the user experience for all customers. An accessible website can significantly improve your SEO, as search engines favor sites that cater to a wider audience. Moreover, it demonstrates social responsibility and inclusivity, traits that resonate with today's consumers and can set your brand apart in a crowded digital marketplace.

Taking Action: Steps to Test Your Shopify Store Accessibility

Automated Testing Tools

  1. WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool: This tool provides a visual breakdown of potential accessibility issues on your website. Use it by visiting the WAVE website, entering your site's URL, and reviewing the highlighted issues. It helps identify missing alt text, poor contrast ratios, and more. For detailed instructions, visit WAVE's official website.
  2. Google Lighthouse: Available in Chrome DevTools, Lighthouse performs various audits for performance, SEO, and accessibility. For the accessibility audit, it scores your site and suggests improvements. Access it by right-clicking on your web page, selecting "Inspect," going to the "Lighthouse" tab, and running the audit. More information can be found on the Lighthouse overview page.

Manual Checks

  • Keyboard Navigation: Ensure your site can be navigated using the Tab key for forward navigation, Shift + Tab for backward, and Enter to select. This checks if your site is navigable without a mouse.
  • Screen Reader Testing: Test your site using a screen reader (like NVDA for Windows or VoiceOver for Mac) to understand the experience of visually impaired users. Focus on how well your site communicates its structure and if all elements are accessible.
  • Contrast Ratio: Inspect your site for adequate text-to-background contrast to ensure readability. Tools like the WebAIM Contrast Checker can help verify contrast ratios.

Expert Evaluation

For a comprehensive review, consider contacting Zenyth for a free estimate and free assessment. We specialize in web accessibility and can provide expert evaluation to identify and resolve complex issues. This step is crucial for ensuring your site not only meets legal requirements but is genuinely accessible to all users.

In Conclusion

Web accessibility is not just a legal requirement; it's a strategic business imperative. By making your Shopify store accessible, you're not only safeguarding against legal risks but also enhancing the shopping experience for every potential customer. Remember, an accessible website is a more profitable one. Start your journey towards digital inclusivity today, and watch your brand thrive in an equitable online world. Consider partnering with Zenyth.

Written by Crystal Scott, CPWA

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