Why your ecommerce website needs to be ADA Compliant
With ecommerce sales expecting to hit $4.5 trillion by the end of 2021, businesses are focusing on the speed and agility of their websites. But many brands are overlooking the need to have ADA compliant websites and the impact a noncompliant site can have on their revenue stream.
“At least 90% of ecommerce websites in the US have barriers that prevent people with disabilities from using them.”
Brand accessibility is vital to the growth of commerce. In fact, one in five people self-identify as having a disability. But many ecommerce websites fail to meet global accessibility standards. Implementing digital accessibility solutions can open the top of funnel consumers by 20%, while:
- Conveying Brand Purpose Through Compliance
- Supporting Acquisition
- Improving SEO
- Increasing Conversions
Here at PixelMEDIA, we’re committed to helping brands discover the importance of accessibility and have strategies to support them through the process of global regulations compliance as well as giving equal access to commerce. With our partners at eSSENTIAL Accessibility, we gathered our top questions to ask when testing your website for ADA compliance.
Why is digital accessibility important now?
Recent Supreme Court cases have determined that website operators can be sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for not having accessible sites. eCommerce sites in particular have been targets of litigation with up to 80% of digital accessibility lawsuits filed in January, 2021 relating to digital commerce.
What kind of evaluation do I need to do?
The best way to understand your site’s digital accessibility is to combine automated testing and manual evaluation. Automated testing can capture about 30% of the criteria needed for digital accessibility compliance, but it takes humans using assistive technologies (like screen readers for users with low vision or blindness) to ensure that experiences truly are accessible. Only the combination of automated and manual testing can effectively mitigate the risk of ADA related lawsuits.
How do you fix sites?
Once the problems are understood, prioritize the issues based on how they impact the customer experience. A critical path assessment that determines the most important interactions that site visitors will engage in is a crucial piece of the analysis. Then the process of updating code, content, and design can begin to remediate issues and make sure you are as accessible as possible.
Can I do this myself?
Digital accessibility can be a complex undertaking where the law, web standards and human experience meet. Understanding the interactions between technology and the law can be challenging. Engaging with an expert organization with the legal, technical, and design experience is often the surest path to quickly addressing issues and demonstrating a commitment to digital accessibility. It’s equally vital to have a strong implementation partner who understands your site and your underlying platform to make fixes that work and last.
What do I do if I get a demand letter?
If you’ve received a legal complaint, lawsuit, or demand letter related to digital accessibility, it’s critical to quickly evaluate the merits and determine a response plan. Engage with an experienced digital accessibility lawyer and technical experts who can properly advise on the issues cited and how to prepare a robust defense. Most importantly, develop a thorough digital accessibility program to minimize the risk of receiving a future legal claim.
Spinrite is the largest producer and marketer of craft yarn and craft sewing thread in North America. Established in Listowel in 1952, Spinrite researches, develops, manufactures, and markets a broad variety of consumer craft yarns and craft threads under the Bernat®, Red Heart®, Caron®, Patons®, Coats & Clark®, and Lily Sugar n’ Cream® brands. Spinrite has longstanding relationships with major mass merchants and specialty craft chains as well as smaller independent retailers. Consumers can also buy Spinrite products through its Yarnspirations ecommerce site (www.yarnspirations.com) as well as other third-party websites. Spinrite is an industry leader in new product development, bringing fresh ideas to a long-established craft. In addition, the company supports its market with patterns that provide customers with inspiration and creative ideas for craft projects.
“In evaluating our site for ADA compliance, we set a very aggressive goal. Working closely with eSSENTIAL Accessibility and PixelMEDIA, we easily achieved those goals and continue to work with our partners for ongoing improvement of our site.”
Spinrite’s success is attributed to their commitment to their customers, who often comment on their longstanding relationship with the yarn company and the exceptional customer service they receive. This dedication to their customers led to a more in-depth analysis of accessibility on their site. Though they have always taken accessibility seriously, they wanted to implement a comprehensive digital accessibility strategy to ensure their site was optimal for all customers. With a small technical team and multiple ongoing internal projects, Spinrite leaned on PixelMEDIA to collaborate with their partner, eSSENTIAL Accessibility, for a digital accessibility roadmap and strategy for continual improvement.
PixelMEDIA and eSSENTIAL Accessibility worked together to develop a comprehensive testing plan of Spinrite’s website. After the initial evaluation, eA created a comprehensive remediation plan that resolved three critical areas within the first 30 days. With the help of Pixel and eA, Spinrite implemented an accessibility icon program that promotes their commitment to ADA compliance with their accessibility statement. Their continued partnership with both PixelMEDIA and eSSENTIAL Accessibility has improved the design, development, and use of their digital experience for all of their website visitors.
How to Get Started
Following these digital compliance strategies can help you begin to optimize your website for all customers. Our partnership with eSSENTIAL Accessibility gives brands a comprehensive digital accessibility solution that offers features like assistive technology and a brand disability channel. As you advance your ecommerce goals for this year, consider benchmarking your site for accessibility compliance.