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Looking for a way to expand your brand audience on Shopify and establish goodwill at the same? It’s time to start a conversation about digital accessibility with your web development team.
Without digital accessibility measures integrated into your eCommerce storefront, you are unintentionally barring millions of potential users from your brand. But let’s not forget there are persuasive incentives for making this investment, too: Mitigating liability for discrimination against disabled communities, optimizing a site for search engine ranking, and substantially expanding your potential clientele.
This article will address some of the ways any Shopify business can create a digital storefront with accessibility in mind.
Shopify Themes at a Glance
Shopify’s site builder demonstrates the ease of using its platform with equitable digital access in mind. Shopify uses a set of pre-built templates, modules, and style settings called “Themes” which let users easily style an eCommerce platform to their liking. This means sole proprietors don’t need to learn to code or hire pricey web developers. Shopify’s pre-built catalog of themes provides a variety of paid and free options. The theme chosen should best suit your brand, industry, or the kind of experience you want your customer to have. For example, a plain minimalist background might suit a chic fashion eCommerce platform.
Ultimately, Shopify has leveled the playing field to start and run an eCommerce business online.
If everyone can start an online eCommerce store, surely everyone should be able to use it, right? Of course. Shopify themes absolutely need to be digitally accessible. Otherwise, they’re not being open to all your potential customers.
Building Accessible Themes
Because Shopify Themes are oriented toward designing eCommerce stores, color contrasts are important when implementing ADA-compliant principles. How you decide to pair your background with the text can lay the bedrock for a successful eCommerce site. For example, having a white background with gray writing may make your site impossible to read for customers who have problems with their eyesight. Making it more perceivable will only improve your website’s appeal to customers, plus its not only good accessibility, but also good user experience (UX) design too.
Being screen-reader inclusive is one of the best ways to be accessible. Screen readers are hardware that read aloud what’s on the screen. They literally change lives and are invaluable for people who have eye-sight-related disabilities. This could involve visually hiding your header when working with tables, so that screen readers can still read the content on your site easily. Likewise, including alt-text descriptions for the images on your site allows a screen-reader to perceive and read out the information to the user. Alt-text is an invaluable tool for someone who has problems with their eyesight.
For more information Shopify has provided some technical advice on how to make your themes more accessible.
In 2021, online retailers lost $828 million in Christmas sales due to having inaccessible websites. Being inaccessible isn’t worth it, and with a few modifications your Shopify platform can be accessibility compliant, bringing in new customers far and wide.