Mini Cart

  • No products in the cart.

8 Common E-commerce Website Accessibility Issues

Home / Blog / 8 Common E-commerce Website Accessibility Issues

In a world where shopping from the comfort of your home is increasingly common, e-commerce sites must be user-friendly for everyone. Surprisingly, a report shows that 94% of major online stores don't fully meet key web accessibility standards, which can make shopping frustrating for people with disabilities. 

This is a big deal because over a billion people worldwide live with some form of disability. Making your site more accessible isn't just the right thing to do; it's also smart business, especially as online sales continue to soar. Ready to make a change? 

Here are the top 8 mistakes to avoid to ensure your e-commerce site welcomes all shoppers. 

1. Insufficient Color Contrast

What It Means: Color contrast refers to the difference in color between text (or an object) and its background. This is crucial for users with vision impairments to read content.

How to Fix: Use a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text, as recommended by the WCAG. Tools like the WebAIM Color Contrast Checker can help you evaluate your website's color contrast. For example, black text on a white background provides a high contrast ratio, making it readable for most users.

2. Non-Descriptive Hyperlinks

What It Means: Hyperlinks that say "click here" or "read more" don't tell the user or screen readers where the link goes.

How to Fix: Use descriptive hyperlink text that indicates the link's destination or purpose. For instance, instead of "click here," use "read our comprehensive guide on website accessibility." This approach aids understanding and improves SEO.

3. Unhelpful Alt Text

What It Means: Alt text is a brief description of an image's content, crucial for screen reader users.

How to Fix: Provide concise yet descriptive alt text for every image. For example, instead of "img1.jpg," use "a golden retriever playing in the park." This ensures users who can't see the image understand its context and purpose.

4. Incorrect Use of Headings

What It Means: Headings structure the content, making it easier for users to navigate through a page.

How to Fix: Use a logical order for headings (H1 for the main title, followed by H2 for main sections, and so on). Avoid skipping heading levels. This structure helps users with screen readers understand how the page is organized, similar to a table of contents.

5. Missing Text Within Images

What It Means: If important information is conveyed through text within an image, users with visual impairments might miss it.

How to Fix: Ensure all text displayed in images is also presented as text on the page or within the image's alt attribute. For instance, if you're promoting a sale with an image, also include the sale details in text form on the page.

6. Non-Accessible PDFs and Documents

What It Means: PDFs and other documents that are not optimized for accessibility can be challenging for screen reader users.

How to Fix: Make sure PDFs are tagged correctly, include alt text for images, and are structured so that they can be read in a logical order. Adobe Acrobat offers tools to check and fix accessibility issues in PDFs.

7. Inadequate Keyboard Accessibility

What It Means: Some users rely on keyboard navigation instead of a mouse. Websites need to be fully navigable using keyboard commands.

How to Fix: Ensure all interactive elements are accessible via the keyboard. For example, users should be able to tab through menu items, links, and form fields without getting stuck. Implement visible focus indicators so users can easily see which element they are interacting with.

8. Improperly Formatted Tables

What It Means: Tables can be difficult for screen readers to interpret if not set up correctly.

How to Fix: Use simple table structures with column and row headers appropriately tagged. Avoid complex nested tables. Provide a summary for tables where necessary. For example, a table displaying product features should have clear headers for "Feature" and "Description," and each row should accurately describe each feature.

Addressing these issues not only broadens your website's audience but also enhances the user experience for all visitors. For e-commerce platforms, where user experience directly impacts sales, accessibility should be a priority from the outset. 

Investing in a comprehensive accessibility audit and adhering to established guidelines, like those from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), can help ensure your site is accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *