Soludos hired UsableNet to conduct an accessibility audit on it’s newly minted Shopify website, based on the company’s solid reputation with retail industry leaders in New York.
After receiving the results of the audit and reviewing them both internally and with it’s Shopify development partner, Soludos knew it needed more help with accessibility than what it’s existing resources and partners might provide.
Soludos also wanted the work completed quickly, cost-effectively, and with ongoing support in order to maintain accessibility as products were updated seasonally. Solutions to the issues outlined in the audit required in-depth and time-consuming work for the design, dev, and test teams. It included adjustments to the theme layer in some of the following areas:
- Images and alt text. Fallback text is essential for users of screen readers, who may not be able to see graphical elements.
- Icons. Icons are nearly ubiquitous in online retail, but accessible views will hide them from screen readers and instead use span tags with fallback text.
- Forms. Many common functions of an e-commerce site require forms—leaving a comment or review, signing up for a newsletter, even checking out. Labeling each field with text-based instructions can be an easy way to achieve accessibility.
- Tables. Headers and labels within a table can be customized with text, making them accessible to screen readers.
- Pricing display. Conveying prices clearly is essential for successful e-commerce. Avoid superscript and use span tags to display cents on the dollar.
- Color contrast. Proper pairing of background image and text is a key component of a universally accessible site.
As Soludos was expanding it’s website and reviewing the results of the audit, fellow New York-based retailers had become targets of accessibility lawsuits, with 1,471 filed in the state in 2018 (64 percent of the nationwide total), which works out to a stunning 123 cases filed per month. Soludos opted for a more proactive approach that would expand access to users of all abilities while avoiding potential legal action.