Website Accessibility

Shopify Accessibility Guidelines:
The Definitive Guide (2024)

Shopify Accessibility  Guidelines: <br>The Definitive Guide (2024)

If you run a Shopify store, web accessibility is a term you should have in your vocabulary.

Web accessibility ensures that disabled users can access and engage with online content easily. It involves adjustments, tools, and technologies that make web content perceivable, understandable, and engaging for all users.

This guide will walk you through:

  • How to make your Shopify store accessible
  • Why web accessibility matters
  • The legal requirements associated with web accessibility
  • The ramifications for failing to comply with accessibility guidelines

Let’s dive in.

How To Make Your Shopify Store Accessible

Making your Shopify website ADA-compliant doesn’t need to be complicated and you don’t need to delve into the code of your site either.

Not only does Shopify have several built-in accessibility features and tools, but there are other third-party solutions available to simplify this process, too.

Comparison of the tools that can help make your Shopify Store Accessible

(5/5)
(5/5)
(4/5)
Existing Customers
Virgin Mobile Logo
Toyota Logo
Barons- Market Logo
Northeast Health District Logo
Technotronix logo
skynet client
Technology Fully automated web accessibility solution Fully automated web accessibility solution All in one web accessibility PRO widget
Compliant in Countries
Compliance WCAG, ADA, Section 508, AODA WCAG, ADA, Section 508, AODA WCAG 2.2 and ADA
Prices
Starts at
$49 per month
Starts at
$49 per month
Starts at
$250 per year
Partner Program (for Web Agencies)
  • 20% partner commission
  • free license
  • No commitment or signup fees
  • 15% discount for each client
  • Free registration
  • Affiliate Partnership
  • White Label partnership
Customer support Email only Email only Call and email support
Free Demo Yes
Free demo available
Yes
Free demo available
No
Free Trial 7 day free trial
No credit card needed
10 day free trial
Credit card required

Enhance your Shopify store’s functionality with the help of these leading accessibility companies. Find out how each one can empower your site and improve user experience.

accessibe logoaccessiBe
  • WCAG
  • ADA
  • Section 508

If you want your Shopify site to be Section 508, ADA, and WCAG compliant, accessiBe comes highly recommended. It’s one of the quickest and simplest ways to identify accessibility issues on your site, ensuring you’re compliant globally. Installation is fast and new users can access a 7-day free trial to test out the tool’s capabilities, including the accessibility panel that your customers will be utilizing on the front end.  AccessiBe’s AI analyzes and scans websites using contextual understanding and recognition. It learns which elements and functions are being used and adjusts them accordingly.

Pros

  • Account managers available to guide you through the product, pricing, and any questions you may have
  • Fast turnaround with a 5 min installation, and 48-hour compliance process
  • 200,000+ clients use accessiBe including legal and government organizations
  • Includes accessibility statement and certification

Cons

  • Built specifically for websites and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)- some web apps might not be compatible

Existing Clients

Userway service logoUserWay
  • WCAG
  • ADA
  • Section 508

This automated, AI-powered solution is another firm favorite among businesses of all sizes. Like many other of the top tools, UserWay ensures your Shopify store is ADA Title 3, Section 508, and WCAG 2.2 compliant. The UserWay panel allows your customers to modify your storefront in a way that meets their needs as disabled user. The tool is also capable of helping you generate an accessibility statement.

Pros

  • Quick and easy process
  • 1M+ website installations
  • Affordable cost & dynamic pricing
  • Multiple solutions and services offered

Cons

  • Does not include mobile apps as of now

Existing Clients

logo of Duke University
Toyota Logo
Chapter 2

Why Web Accessibility Matters?

Why Web Accessibility Matters?

As a Shopify website owner, it’s your social and legal responsibility to ensure that all users, including those living with disabilities, can access your website, products, and any digital content you publish. 

The good news is that taking the time to make your website accessible is beneficial to both you and your customers. 

Importance of Accessibility for your Shopify Store

Enhanced User Experience

One of the main goals of accessibility is to create platforms, services, and online environments that are easier to access, use, and understand. Disabled users can’t always navigate a website in the same way that anyone else can, which is a frustrating experience if a site is not ADA compliant. Moreover, you may be missing out on business from disabled users!

By making your Shopify site accessible, you are ensuring that every user has the best possible shopping and browsing experience.

Infographic: Importance of Accessibility for your Shopify Store

Reduced Legal Risks

ADA lawsuits are more common than ever before, which means if your Shopify site isn’t compliant, you could be the next recipient of a demand letter. Everyone has the right to access the web and all that it offers, including those living with disabilities.

Taking some simple steps to adjust your website can mean the difference between more sales or costly legal fees and a damaged brand reputation.

And in today’s market, a brand’s reputation is everything! People want to do business with brands that are inclusive and that make their customers feel seen and heard.

Understanding the Current Landscape of ADA Compliance Lawsuits

Improved Market Reach

Did you know that close to 35 million people are living with disabilities? And this is in the United States alone! 

By making web accessibility and ADA compliance a priority, you are automatically expanding your target audience and boosting your bottom line. Why lose sales to something that’s so easy to change?

Media accessibility audio and video

Improved SEO

We all understand the importance of SEO. The better your rankings, the more sales you can generate. However, what many might not realize is that web accessibility and SEO work hand-in-hand.

By making your Shopify site accessible, you are providing shoppers and browsers with a better user experience, and search engines love a good user experience. 

Once you start looking at SEO and web accessibility best practices, you can clearly see why they’re so closely related. 

Non-compliance with accessibility regulations is far more costly and damaging than actually taking the time to make your website accessible.

Chapter 3

The Legal Requirements Associated with Web Accessibility

The Legal Requirements Associated with Web Accessibility

Web accessibility is essential to ensure that all individuals, including those with disabilities, can access and use websites without barriers. It is essential for businesses and organizations to comply with these legal requirements to ensure equal access to information and services for all users, regardless of their abilities.

 

Let’s learn more about it!

An Overview of the Legal Requirements of Web Accessibility

The legal requirements for web accessibility vary depending on the country or region, but some common ones include:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States

Title III of the ADA mandates that places of public accommodation, including websites, must be accessible to people with disabilities.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act in the United States

This section requires federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to individuals with disabilities, including websites.

European Accessibility Act (EAA) in the European Union

The EAA aims to improve the accessibility of products and services, including websites, across EU member states.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in Ontario, Canada

The AODA requires public and private organizations to make their websites accessible to Ontarians with disabilities.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

While not a law, WCAG is a globally recognized set of guidelines developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Many countries and regions use WCAG as a reference for their accessibility regulations.

How Accessibility Tools Can Help You Avoid Accessibility Lawsuits

The right tools can help you achieve your accessibility goals and avoid costly lawsuits and a loss of sales as an online store owner or manager.

Accessibility overlays from brands such as UserWay and accessiBe give your users more power over their experience on your site.

Adding overlays to your site allow users to make minor adjustments to the appearance and functionality of your site, ensuring they can use it in a way that works for them.

 

Here are the Policies and Guidelines Applicable to a Shopify Store

Text Accessibility

Using the correct text formatting can make a big difference for customers with visual impairments. Some of Shopify’s guidelines include using the correct color contrast, headers, text size, and alignment. Text links should also be identified using an underline or a visual differentiator.

Alternative Text

It’s important to make images accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. To achieve this, you can add ALT text to the images on your site. ALT text works with screen readers to ensure a user knows and understands what’s on your site.

Slideshow and Video Accessibility

It’s also important to make sure that your videos are accessible to all customers with disabilities by considering their needs. Some customers rely on text-to-speech, while others are deaf or have hearing difficulties and require closed captioning.

Shopify-accessibility-policy

Why Is It important For Shopify Websites To Be ADA Compliant?

Now that you know the importance of general website accessibility, it’s time we dive into the importance of Shopify ADA compliance because Shopify websites are subject to the exact same legal claims as general websites.

importance of shopify ADA compliance

1. Shopify is one of the largest e-commerce platforms

Shopify’s digital presence has impacted the e-commerce space in a big way. Given their size and reach, it’s essential that Shopify complies with ADA requirements, both for legal reasons and to maintain their reputation.

2. Lawyers are specifically targeting e-commerce websites

If you’re still not convinced of the benefits of ADA compliance, focus on one thing: it’s now mandatory. Law firms are looking for a win, which is why there’s a strong focus on US-based companies with a physical and online presence. So, even if your site is only visible in the US and you don’t sell to US customers, you’re still at risk. Even companies with just an online presence have been found to be covered by the ADA. Thus, regardless of where your site and business are based, ADA compliance is a must.accessibility law

3. ADA compliance is a social responsibility

From a moral perspective, there’s no debate. Prioritizing Shopify accessibility for ADA compliance is the right thing to do.

Achieving accessibility means delivering a website that is accessible to everyone, regardless of ability. It is something that most companies overlook, but it has an enormous impact on people’s lives.

With more people relying on your brand’s online channels than ever before, you’ll make a bigger impact by becoming ADA compliant.

The Ramifications for Failing to Comply with Accessibility Guidelines

Now that web accessibility is such a hot topic, a number of law firms have entered this niche and are making a lot of money suing website owners. 

Any Shopify stores that fail to comply with ADA requirements are at risk of costly legal demand letters, which typically start from about $5,000. And should the matter go to court, you could be facing settlement costs that add up to tens of thousands of dollars!

 

Tips To Make Your Shopify Website ADA Compliant

If you’re ready to make your e-commerce store accessible as a Shopify website owner, here are some of the basic steps you can take:

1. Audit your site

Once you understand the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), it’s time to audit your site. There are a number of tools you can use to check for accessibility issues, including missing alt tags, buttons, and links. 

2. Check Shopify accessibility guidelines

The platform’s guidelines will recommend ways you can make your site accessible. According to the WCAG, your website should be perceivable, understandable, operable, and robust to meet compliance. Scanning these guidelines will help you pinpoint the specific aspects of your site that need to be fixed or improved.

Accessibility Checker

Scan your website for accessibility related issues for free

Chapter 4

Summary

Summary

ADA compliance is an integral part of running an e-commerce business. Internet usage has become a civil right over the years, so meeting Shopify accessibility standards is your responsibility.

ADA compliance not only protects you from lawsuits, but also helps you impact the lives of millions of people by giving them equitable access to your website.

Carrying out a web accessibility audit is the first step in achieving ADA compliance. Find out if your website is accessible and compliant by scanning your website now. 

Frequently Asked Questions

To make your Shopify store accessible, you need to start with a site audit. A third-party tool is generally best for this. From there, you can either choose to make manual edits or you can install one of several accessibility apps available on Shopify to make your site accessible. Changes you can expect to make include color contrast adjustments, adding alt text, and adjusting header structures.

A Shopify website isn’t automatically fully ADA compliant. Website owners need to make the necessary changes and adjustments to ensure full compliance. This can be done manually or with the help of a web accessibility tool that automatically changes the code of your Shopify site.

To conform with WCAG 2.0, Level AA, Shopify will review any new website content and make the necessary amendments.

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