REAL SHOPPERS. REAL ISSUES.
- A clothing company disables pinch-to-zoom on their site and a woman with low vision is unable to see the details of a printed skirt.
- A shoe company uses automatically-generated captions on their videos, leaving a deaf shopper at a loss for words. Literally.
- A baggage website does not include alt text on their product images, so a shopper who is blind cannot tell what the images show about the laptop bag he wants to buy.
THE ADA & YOU
The Law: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
First passed: 1990
Recent court decision: 2017, vs. Winn-Dixie
Applies to: “Places of public accommodation.” In the past, this was not interpreted to mean a retailer’s website, but with the recent 2017 judgement against Winn-Dixie, we expect to see more litigation in this space.
Requires: Retailers must provide accommodations for shoppers with disabilities.
NOT ACCESSIBLE? THAT'S RISKY BUSINESS.
The #1 reason motivating most of our clients. (It's okay if that's what gets you in the door.) Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of a demand letter or lawsuit.
People with disabilities want to shop online too. (No driving, crowds, or salespeople!) Ignore accessibility and you ignore these customers.
Accessibility cases are also tried in the court of public opinion. Word spreads quickly in the community when an organization values accessibility—or doesn't.
WHAT IS ACCESSIBILITY?
Digital accessibility refers to the ability of users with disabilities to effectively use information technology (IT) systems including websites, mobile or web-based applications, software, and hardware. Digital accessibility is generally concerned with ensuring that IT systems are designed in such a way that they interact appropriately with assistive technologies.
Assistive technologies can include:
- Screen readers, Braille keypads, or screen magnification software so users who are blind or low vision can read your content.
- Voice recognition software that helps those with mobility disabilities (even arthritis) navigate the web and type using only their voice.
- Head pointers and switch devices that allow those with more limited movement navigate without using their hands or a traditional mouse.
Some of our elders remember the days when a computer filled an entire room. Now, we have computers in our pockets. So many aspects of our lives are made easier by technology.
Yet, those with disabilities are often left out when hardware, software, websites, and apps are designed without a thought for their needs.
By some estimates, one in five people has a disability that affects their daily life. Having equal access to technology has a profound, enabling effect for people with disabilities.