Accessibility in website development is no longer an optional feature – it's an aspect that can significantly impact an e-commerce business's budget and conversion rates. As much as 15% of the global population has some form of disability, and making services accessible to these people isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s in the commercial interests of businesses, too.
Yet, the state of affairs is bleak. In 2022, the number of ADA-related (Americans with Disabilities Act) US lawsuits reached 3,255 – a new record and a 12% increase from 2021. Moreover, a 2023 study by Web Accessibility in Mind uncovered that out of the top 1,000,000 homepages, 96.3% have WCAG 2.0 failures. And this comes at a time when the EU-wide 2025 enforcement of the EAA (European Accessibility Act) is approaching, legally mandating that all e-commerce businesses with at least 10 employees be fully compliant with WCAG 2.1.
Bigger companies already suffered from legal repercussions in the past. Amazon was sued in 2018 because its website was incompatible with refreshable Braille displays, which prevented a blind customer from researching the store’s products and thus violated the WCAG. A case against Domino's was filed back in 2016 after a visually impaired client failed to order a pizza using a screen reader. The settlement was reached only in June 2022 after 6 years of legal fees and negative publicity.
Amasty’s Commitment to Accessibility
Amasty understands the major role accessibility plays in the brand image safety, financial security, and long-term success of any e-commerce venture, be it a huge chain or a smaller business. By integrating WCAG and ADA principles into our offerings, we ensure that users with disabilities can navigate, understand, and interact with e-commerce websites effectively.
Here are some of the real-life examples of our guideline compliance:
- Alternative Text for Images – We are diligent in our inclusion of alt-text because we know it helps screen readers describe images to visually impaired users. In relevant extensions, including Product Labels, we also use title alt tags to provide additional visually conveyed context. With these tags in place, screen reading technologies will vocally signify which product images have ‘new’, ‘on sale’, or other labels attached.
- Color Accessibility – We want to help users with visual impairments distinguish text and other elements without strain. That’s why one of the early patches for Advanced Product Reviews ensured that the text/background color combination matched the WCAG 2.0 standard of 4.5:1 for text up to 17p and 3:1 for text of 18p and higher.
- Clear Content Structure – Amasty emphasizes creating clear and consistent content markup. Thanks to aria-label, label, and other tags and attributes used throughout its HTML code, Improved Layered Navigation empowers visually impaired visitors to easily navigate even through the richest and biggest catalogs.
- Accessible Forms – Willing to facilitate engagement for all groups of e-commerce clients, we ensure that any form field in our extensions is thoroughly, clearly labeled. Our Custom Forms module, for one, successfully passed the accessibility test with NVDA.
- Captcha Compatibility – We strive to match text-to-speech requirements even when preference for text over image defeats security purposes. Our Google Invisible reCaptcha offers audio format alternatives that a screen reader can easily play back.
We are dedicated to continuous improvement in accessibility and encourage all clients to provide honest feedback. Our team is always ready to address any concerns and make necessary adjustments to ensure that our products meet the needs of as many people as possible.
Triple Alliance for Inclusive E-commerce
To further amplify our commitment to accessibility, Amasty has joined forces with Hyvä and Snowdog, two active advocates for ADA and WCAG compliance.
Hyvä – Amasty’s trusted partner – is known for its high-quality front-end development for e-commerce platforms. Their commitment to accessibility is evident in their recent release, which places a strong emphasis on making e-commerce websites more inclusive. Hyvä's dedication to WCAG compliance ensures that e-commerce websites built with their technology are accessible to a broad audience.
Snowdog has also made significant strides towards enhancing accessibility, providing consultations and user testing to help e-commerce businesses meet ADA and WCAG 2.1 AA requirements. Snowdog’s focus on UX consulting aligns seamlessly with Amasty's mission while their expertise in user-centric front-end development adds an extra layer of accessibility enhancement to the collaboration.
Hyvä’s focused effort in creating more inclusive e-commerce websites and Snowdog's expert guidance on meeting accessibility standards set the perfect stage for the three of us to learn from each other and enhance what we offer. Amasty believes that this partnership will make a real, positive difference, and we can’t wait to get started!
Forging an Accessible E-commerce Future
Aiming to develop extensions that meet the high standards for e-commerce accessibility, Amasty strives to help its clients comply with legal requirements, follow moral imperatives, and make smart business decisions in general. Our partnerships with Hyvä and Snowdog only reinforce the commitment to making the digital marketplace a more inclusive space.
The whole team at Amasty is ready to roll up its sleeves alongside Hyvä and Snowdog and drive change in the e-commerce industry by prioritizing WCAG and ADA compliance. We’re here to help you connect with what is probably the most appreciative and devoted customer segment that deserves to access your services just like anyone else.