One of the beautiful things about the Internet is that it allows people who are housebound to lead fuller and more connected lives. Accessibility with the Internet has become very important to many United States citizens, according to the Internet Society.org. Housebound people are not the only disabled online users. Disabled users run a huge range including epilepsy, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. When designing an eCommerce site, you need to keep in mind that disabled users will try to access your site and design an experience that they can all enjoy.
Stop the auto-play.
Back in the MySpace days, everyone had music automatically playing on their websites. These days the practice has gone out of favor. Some people who are very sensitive to sounds, such as those on the Autistic spectrum according to Nero Health.com. By randomly playing sounds or music, you’re throwing these people out of their element and possibly triggering a loss of productivity, a shock, or even in some cases, panic. Overall, auto-play is a very disruptive practice, even to non-disabled users. It’s obtrusive and if you have more than 5 tabs open, you have to quickly search to find what, exactly, is making all the racket. Instead, take the time to adjust the settings on your site so that the user can play videos or music as they wish.
Watch out for flashing.
Though this is a problem for any user who can suffer from sensory overload, people who have reflex epilepsy face very real dangers from certain websites. When speaking about epilepsy, most people don’t realize that the illness that has different triggers. Some people exhibit only one type of epilepsy (called epilepsy syndromes according to Epilepsy.com). For Internet usage, however, the major focus is typically called reflex epilepsy. Reflex epilepsy occurs when a seizure is obviously brought on by very specific triggers. These triggers disrupt the pathways in the brain and then result in seizures.
Some of the most common triggers are flashing lights, sudden sounds, and specific groupings of colors. While there is no way to completely avoid every single thing that could trigger a person, keeping your site to not auto-play and to avoid flashing lights or colors is a good way to ensure the safety of people who are coming to your Shopify page to buy something. An extremely easy way to keep most people happy is to have an obvious ″text only″ button on your pages.
Many people are color blind.
If you’re able to see the full range of colors, you are said to have Trichromacy. This is because you’re using all three different color receptors. The two most common forms of colorblindness are red and green, though some people see the world in monochrome or they simply code one color, such as blue, as grey. Generally red colorblind people have difficulty on the warm spectrum while blue have issues with the cool.
The best way around that is to use good negative space in your site layout. You want to make sure that when you do use colors, you keep them outside of the same family. For example, don’t have dark blue text on top of a green background. Instead, use black and a pale color for your text and choose to use colors for accents. Not only will this help your site be read by colorblind people, but it will look cleaner and more professional as design principles are moving to a more simplistic setup.
Some people cannot see at all.
The Internet has swiftly become more than simply a tool and entertainment for people. These days you need to use it to do almost everything from registering to vote to applying for a job and taking training. Screen readers are tools for visually impaired people that allow them to read the Internet either with a speech synthesizer or a Braille display. The Braille display assumes that the reader is going line by line and refreshes accordingly.
This means that things like multiple columns on a web-page are extremely difficult for visually impaired people to read. To make your sight accessible, you want to remove things like tabs or columns whenever possible. Make sure that the template you choose is well suited to this sort of layout and design.
When you’re trying to gain the largest audience possible, it’s important that you take a lot of different variables into consideration. This sometimes includes toning down the coloration of your Cyber Monday displays, watching out for any “blinkies,” and forming your specials without the use or columns. One of the best things about these changes is that for unimpaired users, your changes will, for the most part, go without notice.
However, to the disabled people who are using your site, it will make a world of difference. They will then inform their friends and family about the easy experience. This will, in turn, filter users to your site and increase your own reputation online.