There are two primary objectives that any eCommerce website must be able to fulfill. First, it must be able to make their prospective customers aware of the products and services it offers, along with their features. Secondly, it must be able to assist a customer in choosing a product and purchasing it.
Most eCommerce websites achieve both these objectives through a visual User Interface (UI) that uses texts and images and can be interacted with a mouse. However, that might not be convenient for a person who cannot see or use a mouse with their hands. So how does an eCommerce website make sure that it does not lose those customers?
To make a website accessible to people with disabilities, eCommerce business owners have to ensure that they optimize the site’s accessibility. That means when a blind person visits the website to purchase a product, the screen reader must be able to describe each part of the website.
That includes essential images, icons, navigation landmarks, so on and so forth. The truth is, customers with disabilities can face problems with each step of an online purchase process. They might have difficulty understanding the product, choosing one, and buying it.
That is why eCommerce website owners turn to accessibility solutions to optimize their digital store for customers with disabilities.
While there are many accessibility solutions available to business owners, there are some that are better than others.
Website owners who look for a budgeted solution can choose an AI-powered solution like accessiBe to ensure that their customer’s needs are met. Others rely on manually optimizing their websites by engaging web developers who modify the codes carried out by a service like Level Access.
They need to make sure that their website meets the recent Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) and is ADA compliant. It is a time taking and expensive process, which is easier for large multinational companies that have dedicated developer teams.
Amazon has taken advantage of this strategy and optimized their website for accessibility in several ways. In this article, we are going to discuss some of their accessibility measures and what you can learn from them.
The Accessibility Winners for Amazon
Amazon ensures that its customers can find products and complete their purchases with any hindrance, irrespective of their abilities. Some of the accessibility features that make a difference for people with disabilities while shopping on Amazon are:
- There are proper headings and landmarks placed strategically.
- The controls are optimized for accessibility
- The processes are convenient for assistive technologies.
#1. Proper Headings and Landmarks
The information is displayed in an organized manner on the Amazon homepage. The page is divided into several well-organized sections with individual headings and landmarks. When visually impaired people use screen readers to access the website, the same headings and landmarks are read out to them.
It allows them to go through the page with ease and choose the preferred section that they want to visit. For example, they can go to the search bar or the previously purchased section for things they want to reorder. Customers can also choose the landmark to see their orders and the status of shipping.
Without these headings and landmarks, a person using an assistive device that uses keyboard function would need to go through every information that is there on the page to reach the section they want to use.
Not just that, people who rely on readers to access websites will have to remember a lot of that information to access the desired section on the page. If the page did not have enough headings and landmarks, the buying process would be so tedious that the customer would leave the site and never return.
#2. Optimized Controls
People often rely on visual cues to interact with a website and access the pages or features on it. Amazon has efficiently labeled the controls so that people who cannot use a mouse can use a keyboard only to interact with the website. They can tab through the website, while the shift-tab takes them back in that order. Pressing enter in a link will take them to that page or object.
People who use assistive technologies can use the labels on the controls to use the website. For example, people can access the search options without using a mouse or looking at the screen. They can also use the filters to shortlist the products they want to peruse through. Customers with disabilities can choose the brands they prefer or specify their budget with their assistive devices.
#3. Convenient Processes
Convenient processes are probably the most essential accessibility feature of all. Without optimized processing, customers will not be able to follow and complete the steps involved in the purchase.
Research has shown that people with disabilities often abandon an online purchase midway because the process of the website is not optimized for accessibility. The processes on Amazon helps a person using assistive devices go through and choose the preferred products as well as complete the transaction after selecting the preferred payment method and delivery address.
By providing accessible purchasing options, Amazon has tapped into a market that is worth more than $6.5 billion annually. Most eCommerce websites do not realize that not optimizing their website can mean such losses in revenue.
Some of them use half-hearted efforts or do not ensure constant accessibility. So if you have an eCommerce website, use the smart accessibility solutions to gain revenues from people with disabilities. You can also get brand loyalty from their friends, families, and well-wishers.