Having an online presence is critical for businesses. Platforms like Shopify have made it easier than ever for business owners to create their eCommerce stores. It's essential to ensure your Shopify store is accessible to different users, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.
Accessibility isn't just about adhering to legal standards — it's about providing an inclusive shopping experience for all customers. The following tips will guide you on how to enhance the accessibility of your Shopify store.
1. Audit Your Site for Accessibility
Before delving into more detailed accessibility enhancements, it's imperative to have a clear understanding of your site's current accessibility level.
- Familiarize yourself with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and conduct an accessibility audit of your site to identify any issues.
- Utilize automated testing tools to check for common accessibility problems like missing alt text, improper button labels, and broken links.
- For a thorough audit, consider consulting with accessibility experts or services specializing in web accessibility evaluations.
2. Adopt Accessible Themes and Templates
Your choice of theme can significantly impact the accessibility of your store, hence the importance of making an informed decision.
- Choose accessible themes and templates that comply with accessibility standards.
- Avoid modifying themes in a way that may break accessibility features. For instance, modifying a commercial or Shopify-provided theme can create challenges when implementing future upgrades.
- Develop custom templates with accessibility in mind, ensuring that your site remains compliant with WCAG guidelines.
3. Ensure Content and Media Accessibility
Content is the cornerstone of your online store. Ensuring its accessibility is paramount for an inclusive user experience.
- Provide alternative text (alt text) for images, and use correct text formatting, such as proper headers and color contrast, to aid visually impaired users.
- Ensure that videos are accessible by providing closed captions for deaf or hard-of-hearing users and considering the needs of those who rely on text-to-speech technology.
- Maintain a proper document structure. Avoid using structural headings for merely enlarging body text size, as it can create an improper document structure.
4. Utilize Accessibility Tools and Apps
Leveraging the right tools can considerably simplify making your Shopify store accessible.
- Employ accessibility tools like Accessibly, a Shopify accessibility app that provides automated accessibility testing and fixes for common issues.
- Regularly monitor your website for accessibility issues and fix them promptly to ensure an all-user-friendly experience.
- Stay updated with Shopify's accessibility guidelines and recommendations to ensure your store complies with accessibility standards over time.
Enhancing the accessibility of your Shopify store is a step towards embracing inclusivity, broadening your customer base and reflecting positively on your brand's image. By tapping into a wider spectrum of customers, your business adheres to ethical and legal standards- cultivating a reputation of empathy and understanding.
By implementing the above tips and maintaining a proactive approach towards accessibility, you create a welcoming online environment. This commitment to inclusivity fosters customer loyalty and promotes business growth. It invites all Shopify store owners to take the necessary strides in making their platforms accessible and user-friendly. Your customers, brand, and the broader community will reap the benefits of such thoughtful inclusivity.