A blind man tried to order pizza online from Dominoes using his screen reader, but their website wouldn’t provide the necessary access for it to work. Frustrated and unable to order, Guillermo Robles sued Dominoes for discrimination under the Americans for Disabilities Act.
The 2016 case known as Domino’s Pizza v. Guillermo Robles started a deluge of similar lawsuits. In 2017 there were 814, and by 2021 there were 2,352 website disability access-related lawsuits filed.
Beyond the legal concerns, it’s a good business practice to make your website or online stores accessible to everyone, including those with physical limitations.
"Currently, 1 out of every 4 people in the U.S. lives with a disability, contributing to this significant market size and a buying power that adds to your company growth and website's value."
This article will discuss the importance and value of accessibility and how you can easily incorporate features to make your website accessibility compliant.
Why is ADA & WCAG Compliance Important?
Government statistics indicate that 61 million adults live with a disability in the US. Accessibility is an international issue and online stores that don’t comply may find themselves in court facing fines up to $150,000.
Not every country follows the same compliance regulations:
- U.S. commercial websites must follow the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0 Level AA
- Canadian websites must follow the AODA
- In the European Union, the regulation is EAA/EN301548
Besides the humanitarian concern, there are financial reasons to make your sites inclusive. Retailers can tap into an average annual spending power of $490 billion by serving the U.S. disabled community. The global spending power of this group is about $8 trillion!
Creating easy access for people with disabilities means exposing your brand to an additional 20%+ of the population.
How do stores and websites get compliant? Some websites use overlay tools to meet ADA requirements and save costs, but they have some issues.
Don't Rely Solely on Overlay Tools
Overlay tools don’t address all aspects of accessibility or satisfy all compliance requirements. For example, three hundred of the disability lawsuits filed in 2021 used overlays on their websites. They can create problems such as missing alternative text, incorrect labels, media captions or transcriptions, keyboard navigation, required form fields, ambiguous anchor text links, and more.
AccessiBe blends an overlay tool with manual accessibility solutions to give the user control to change the website to their specific needs.
Web Accessibility Solutions by AccessiBe
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. Then in 2017, the Department of Justice broadened the scope of ADA to include websites, online stores, and internet portals. So how can your store become compliant without revamping the whole thing?
AccessiBe’s automated solutions can provide complete access to everyone plus ADA and WCAG compliance without reformatting the website or store. They are the market leader for AI web accessibility solutions and technologies.
ADA Compliance for eCommerce
There are six default accessibility profiles AccessiBe covers based on disabilities:
- Hearing Impaired – Closed captioning and sign language interpreters.
- Blind Users – Provides full context to screen readers.
- Visually Impaired – Content adjustments such as sizing and spacing of text, colors, contrast, etc.
- Cognitive Disability – It highlights important links and includes a built-in dictionary.
- Epileptics – ‘Seizure Safe’ profile freezes all flashing GIFs, animations, or videos.
- Motor Impaired – Complete keyboard-only navigation.
Benefits of AccessiBe's Compliance Solution
Two components work simultaneously to achieve complete compliance for your eCommerce website. The accessibility interface automatically adjusts the screen, keyboard, and other options depending on the disability and options selected by the user. Additionally, AccessiBe’s advanced AI application makes all the personalized adjustments on the fly wherever the user navigates.
The accessibility interface addresses about 30% of WCAG requirements, while the AI handles the other 70% running in the background.
The benefits include:
- Positive user experience and increased customer loyalty
- Your eCommerce website and business remain ADA compliant
- You gain an increased in traffic, conversions, and sales for your store
- Shoppers can access the program as soon as they enter your website
How the AI Makes Your Site Compliant
The AccessiBe AI program starts by making a complete scan of the website. Before fixing anything, it analyzes and learns every element on each page, such as images and buttons, to understand their purpose and function. It will make a new scan every 24 hours to ensure any new content or updates remain compliant.
Using ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) codes, AccessiBe’s AI automatically adds the code to all web pages to enable screen readers and keyboard-only navigation. Users can easily access every button, tab, social media icon, pop-up, menu, or clickable links.
Customizable For Any Disability
Features that make it easy to use:
- Accessibility Interface – It has a user interface that adjusts to individual disabilities. The interface complies with WCAG 2.1 AA & AAA requirements.
- AI-Powered Processes – Based on the user’s preferences, the AI technology automatically makes the necessary adjustments to webpages, keyboards, colors, displays, and screen-readers.
- Pre-Set Categories – The system pre-adjusts settings based on six disability types. It provides easy navigational adjustments for on-screen and keyboard navigation for users with disabilities.
AccessiBe saves settings when customers return to the same stores and websites, making it easier for them to navigate and shop.
Accessible Shopping for Users with Disabilities
Doesn’t it make sense to expand your market reach to an additional 6 million potential customers?
Using AccessiBe’s AI-powered program provides worry-free, automatic protection from compliance issues. And, if there is a legal problem, they offer a complete support package for clients in the event of a disability access litigation.
To get started you can try AccessiBe free for 7 days here.