Web shops and online stores are almost impossible to imagine these days. As a business with a physical store, you cannot escape also having a web shop in addition to your store. In addition, more and more companies are opting for a fully digital store in the form of a web shop.
Moreover, the popularity and number of visitors to web shops have increased significantly in recent years, with the pandemic providing a huge boost. Yet it appears that the digital accessibility of web shops is still not always in order.
The result? About three-quarters of all people with disabilities fail to successfully complete an online purchase. This is obviously very unfortunate for this large group of people with disabilities, but also a great loss for business owners in terms of sales.
When it comes to digital accessibility, there is still much to be gained for web shops. How? You can read about that in this blog.
What is a digitally accessible web shop?
First, it is important to be clear about what exactly digital accessibility is. Digital accessibility also means that the functions of a web shop, website or app are accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.
This group can use assistive software to navigate a Web site. Consider a screen reader or just the keyboard. So web shops should also be usable through this software.
A digitally accessible webshop is thus one that can be used to the same extent by all visitors, regardless of any disability or assistive software used.
How do you measure the accessibility of a web shop?
To determine the extent to which a Web shop is digitally accessible, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are used. These guidelines consist of 50 criteria. Examples of these criteria include the provision of subtitles for videos and whether Web shops are keyboard accessible.
In addition, WCAG is divided into three levels: A (beginner), AA (intermediate) and AAA (advanced). Levels A and AA will become mandatory for Web shops when the European Accessibility Act takes effect in 2025.
Why a digitally accessible web shop is important
As many as a quarter of the Dutch population suffers from one or more physical or mental disabilities that make using the Internet difficult. Examples include deaf or hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired, color blindness or dyslexia, or the inability to use one or more limbs.
Because the Internet plays an important role in our daily lives, it is important that it is equally accessible to everyone. Moreover, the group of Dutch people with disabilities is expected to increase in the coming years due to aging, making digital accessibility even more important. In addition, a digitally accessible webshop often looks better to the public and has a very positive effect on the image!
How do you make a webshop digitally accessible?
Now for the answer to the big question: how to make your webshop digitally accessible?
First, then, it is important to check the state of affairs. In other words, grab the WCAG guidelines.
Because we know that reviewing WCAG guidelines can be a time-consuming and complicated task, as experts in digital accessibility, we are happy to take this off your hands. Please feel free to contact us as well!
Once the WCAG guidelines regarding digital accessibility have been checked and the problems have been uncovered, there are basically 3 options regarding making your webshop digitally accessible:
1. Grab the quick wins in the accessible area
Just a few small and visual changes may be necessary to make your webshop digitally accessible. For example, consider adjusting the text colors and contrast of the shop.
In addition, for example, the images used may not contain alternative text. Adding them to images increases the digital accessibility of a web shop or website.
2. Adjust the structure of your shop
The problems regarding digital accessibility of your webshop may also have to do with its structure. Consider, for example, annoying pop-ups or hard-to-fill order forms. By changing the structure of your shop and using digitally accessible software, you solve these problems.
3. A whole new web shop
In some cases, the digital accessibility problems of your website are so great, or the software is so outdated, that an entirely new web shop is the best solution.
Indeed, updating an outdated web shop with many problems can be very time-consuming and therefore costly. By choosing a new web shop built with digital accessibility in mind, you save a lot of effort, time and money in this situation.
Having a digitally accessible website, web shop or app developed
So digital accessible is incredibly important and is expected to become even more important in the future. Make sure your website, web shop or app does not fall behind in this area. No one should be knowingly or unknowingly excluded from the Internet. Moreover, as a business owner, you lose a lot of sales if a large proportion of your visitors fail to successfully place an order in your web shop.
As an internet agency consisting of a team of developers, designers and content strategists, we at Brthrs are all too happy to help you develop your digitally accessible app, web shop or website. Of course, we also help make existing websites or apps accessible.
Curious about what we can do for you or do you have any questions? If so, please feel free to contact us!