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Magento Accessibility & ADA Compliance for e-Commerce Websites

Author: Carolyn Menz Category: Web Accessibility Articles, Web Design Date: December 17, 2019

Man writing texts "web accessibility" on a transparent screen

As we continue to hear about major legal cases like the one brought against pizza giant Domino’s for its lack of accessibility on the company’s online ordering website, Magento accessibility has become a popular topic of conversation for many merchants with online stores. To avoid the potential for litigation, many e-commerce businesses are opting to take the steps necessary to make their Magento websites compliant with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and, therefore, accessible to all people regardless of ability. Magento, in particular, has become a popular e-commerce platform choice for merchants because of its flexibility and customizability – and those features are especially beneficial for companies aiming for e-commerce accessibility compliance.

Do websites have to be ADA compliant?

The simple answer to that question is that, no, not all websites are legally required to be ADA compliant under the current laws. However, the full answer to that question is much more complicated. Of course, if you’ve built your site in Magento, which is expressly designed as an e-commerce platform, that probably means you’re a vendor of sorts, which in turn means you’re likely running some type of online store. Many judges and legal experts are in agreement over their interpretations of Title III of the ADA – which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in “places of public accommodation” – and have ruled that online stores, just like their brick-and-mortar counterparts, are indeed considered places of public accommodation. So, if you are running an online store, then yes, you should be working toward Magento accessibility and ADA compliance.

Is Magento ADA compliant?

Building a Magento website or selecting an ada compliant Magento theme for your e-commerce business doesn’t automatically guarantee full ADA compliance, but Magento accessibility can be achieved fairly easily because the platform allows for the sort of coding language that is necessary to create the types of accessibility features that are outlined in the WCAG website accessibility guidelines, which aim to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Although WCAG, unlike the ADA, is not legally binding, following their guidelines is a great way to meet the needs of many different types of people, and it is a recommended first step toward achieving Magento ADA compliance.

How do I ensure Magento ADA compliance for my business?

There are several tools available to help e-commerce businesses ensure Magento accessibility and ADA compliance. To start, you can use the bullet points below as accessibility scorecard, with the goal of checking all the boxes.

Ask yourself the following questions. Does your Magento website:

  • Use alt-text descriptions for all images on the site?
  • Provide a sharp contrast in text and background colors?
  • Avoid the use of flashing images?
  • Offer captions for all audio and video content?
  • Include clear labels on all data tables and headers so they make sense when read aloud?
  • Allow for keyboard-only navigation?

From there, running your site URL through the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool, which is available as a browser plugin, is a simple way to check that the above compliance requirements, and others, have been properly implemented on your Magento site.

Of course, no online tool or blog checklist will ever be as thorough as a human, so calling on a website compliance expert to either double check your compliance efforts, or to build you an accessible Magento website from scratch, is the best course of action.

If you have additional questions regarding Magento accessibility and ADA compliance, or if you’d like to speak to an expert about helping you with your Magento web design, contact Paradigm Marketing and Design today to schedule a consultation.

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