Designing websites for accessibility: 5 common errors to avoid
By Rick Crossley, 2023
Accessibility is vital for your webpage, here’s some pro advice on how to get it right.
The results of a recent survey delivered a stark warning to retailers: the failure to prioritise accessibility could result in billions of pounds in lost online sales, alienating a significant share of UK consumers.
Accessibility issues are causing more than half of UK consumers (55%) to discard purchases at the point of sale – both in store and online. While retailers and their digital teams have made efforts to meet the needs of the disabled market, considerations for the true scope of accessibility are falling short.
Here, we share 5 of the most common mistakes e-commerce merchants are making on their website, and how they can be fixed. (And see our guide to accessible web design.)
Auto-caption generation is a start, but it’s not 100 percent accurate so merchants should ensure the information they provide within captions is accurate.
There are a number of platforms on the market which can help with e-commerce video captioning. Many use embedded YouTube videos, which can auto-generate captions but there are invariably errors, so ensure your transcript matches the video content.
Issue 5: Flashing images and iconography
Stimulating, bright content might feel like a way of enticing people to buy, but it can lead to users leaving a website immediately.
In just one example of many, people with Autism Spectrum Disorder can be more susceptible to visually-triggered seizures as a result of flashing lights and images so retailers should carefully consider how such content is handled.
Businesses who run online and offline stores also need to consider the lighting in their shops. Harsh lighting can often be painful for a person with autism.
Marketing and e-commerce departments should ask themselves if flashing images and busy content are really worth turning away a percentage of potential customers.
It’s easy to consider just visual and hearing impairments when approaching web accessibility, but there’s much more to take into account.
In an ideal world, a person would be able to use a button which turned off flashing content and use a simplified version of a website. Maybe it’s something for us in the world of web development to seriously consider.