Easy Tips To Make Your ECommerce Site More Accessible for Everyone

Image of computer keyboard with an accessibility key with a red icon of a stick figure in a wheelchair

Picture this: you’re strolling down a busy street window shopping. You see a store that catches your eye, so you check it out. You walk up to the door, but instead of a handle or button, there’s just a touchscreen with no instructions. Then, you try tapping, swiping, and even saying “open sesame,” but nothing happens. Frustrated and confused, you give up and walk away.

Imagine if your eCommerce site was like that store — inaccessible and frustrating for your customers. That’s why it’s crucial to make your website accessible to everyone, regardless of ability. In this post, we’ll share some easy tips and best practices for making your eCommerce site more accessible, so you can reach a wider audience, improve user experience, and build a more inclusive brand.

What Is Web Accessibility?

Image of a person with motor impairments navigating the web using a keyboard instead of a mouse.

Web accessibility refers to designing websites and online content to make them usable by people with disabilities, like visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive impairments. For instance, a visually impaired person may use screen readers to access the internet, while someone with motor impairments may navigate the web using a keyboard instead of a mouse.

The Importance of Making Your Site Accessible to Everyone

Making your eCommerce site accessible to everyone is crucial, not only because it’s a legal requirement, but also to create a more inclusive and welcoming experience for all users. Designing an accessible website shows you value and respect every potential customer, regardless of their abilities. In addition, accessibility can also increase your customer base and boost sales. 

By making it easier for people with disabilities to use your site, you are opening up your business to a broader target audience and tapping into a market your competitors may have overlooked. Furthermore, accessible design is not only beneficial for people with disabilities but also for those without disabilities who may use your site in different contexts, such as in noisy environments or with a slow internet connection. Overall, ensuring your eCommerce site is accessible to everyone can positively impact your business.

5 Tips for Making Your Site More Accessible

1. Write Page Names, Headings, and Subheadings in Logical Order

Wooden blocks with black letters that spell “Order” and “Chaos”.

Writing page names, headings, and subheadings in a logical order is crucial for making your eCommerce site accessible to someone using a screen reader. Screen readers read the text on a web page from top to bottom, so it’s essential to structure your content in a way that makes sense to a listener. 

For example, if you’re selling clothing, you might have a page for “Men’s Clothing” with subheadings for “Shirts,” “Pants,” and “Accessories.” If so, use more subheadings to categorize products within each subcategory, such as “Graphic tees,” “Tank tops,” and “Polos” under the “Shirts” category. Structuring your page this way makes it easier for someone using a screen reader to navigate your site and find the products they want. Furthermore, writing page names, headings, and subheadings logically can also help with SEO, making it easier for people and search engines to understand your site’s structure and content.

2. Make Pop-Ups and Slideshows Easy for Screen Readers To Understand

Boy wearing red sweatshirt and headphones, holding a pen while looking at a laptop screen.

Optimizing pop-ups and slideshows for screen readers is another essential step in building a more accessible eCommerce site. Pop-ups and slideshows can hinder site visitors who use screen readers because they often interrupt the user’s experience or change rapidly, making it challenging to keep up. To make these features accessible, provide alternative text for images and videos that appear in pop-ups or slideshows. This alternative text should describe what the image or video is about so that someone using a screen reader can understand the content. 

For example, if you have a pop-up promoting a sale, include alternative text that says, “Limited-time sale on men’s shirts – 25% off all styles.” This provides the necessary information without relying on visual content. Additionally, make pop-ups and slideshows easy to pause or close so users can control their experience.

3. Choose Simple-to-Read Fonts

Letter block stamps in simple-to-read fonts

Using overly decorative or complex fonts can make it difficult for people with visual impairments or cognitive disabilities to read your content. Instead, choosing a simple, easy-to-read font is best. Sans-serif fonts, such as Arial, Helvetica, and Verdana, are good options because they are legible at any size. Additionally, make sure the font is large enough for people with visual impairments. A font size of at least 16 pixels is recommended. 

Finally, ensuring enough contrast between text and backgrounds is essential to make content easy to read. For example, white text on a black background may look stylish, but it can be hard for some people to read. Instead, a dark gray or navy blue background with white text would provide better contrast and legibility.

4. Let Users Choose Whether To Open Another Page

Compute with a open a link in a new tab icon

Letting users choose whether to open another page is a simple but effective way to make your eCommerce site more accessible. When users click on a link, let them decide whether to open it in the same window or a new window or tab. This is especially important for anyone using screen readers or other assistive technologies because opening a new window or tab can disrupt their browsing experience. By giving users the choice, you help them navigate your site comfortably. This practice can also improve the user experience for all users by allowing them to easily return to your site after visiting an external link. 

For example, if you have a link to a blog post that discusses your products, you might include a note that says, “Click here to read our blog post (opens in a new tab)”. You can also include an icon alongside the link text, such as a box icon with an arrow pointing upward. This lets users know they have the option to open the link in a new tab if they choose to do so.

5. Use Colors Carefully

Splashes of contrasting colors ranging from orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, and magenta

People with color blindness or other visual impairments may have difficulty distinguishing between specific colors, so choose ones that provide good contrast and clarity. Additionally, using color alone to convey information can make it challenging for shoppers who need help to see the colors and understand your content. Therefore, using color to supplement other design elements, such as text or icons, is best. 

For example, if you have a button that says “Add to Cart,” you might include an icon of a shopping cart to provide additional context. This helps users who cannot see the button’s color understand its purpose. 

It’s also important to avoid using color as the sole indicator of status or action. For example, include an icon explaining an error instead of using red text to indicate an error message.

Make Your eCommerce Site More Accessible and Inclusive With Boxwood!

Inclusivity and accessibility aren’t just buzzwords — they’re essential for creating a better online experience for everyone. By implementing these easy tips and best practices, you can make your eCommerce site more accessible, user-friendly, and welcoming to all. And if you need help with optimizing or designing your website for accessibility or improving online visibility through SEO and PPC advertising, Boxwood Digital Marketing is here to support you. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you reach more customers online.