E-commerce now often pivots towards an online presence, and the concept of web accessibility is gaining recognition for its far-reaching implications. A published article in Southern Jewelry News, “Web Accessibility for Jewelry Websites,” discusses why jewelry retailers should sit up, take notice, and integrate accessibility into their online platforms.
Let’s start and discover how jewelry websites can become more inclusive and customer-centric, one click at a time.
Understanding Web Accessibility
The article defines web accessibility as “how the site functions for people with disabilities.” While often overlooked, it carries substantial weight in a digitally-driven society. I think it’s indeed important to make websites usable for everyone, including those with disabilities.
This is a point that resonates with the core of web accessibility — inclusivity. According to Pineda, the article’s author, websites should, as standard, offer accessibility features “by default” along with “turn off” options.
After all, the internet should be a space where everyone can participate, regardless of their abilities.
Legal Limbo and the Risk Factor
Pineda brings up an uncomfortable but necessary truth: the legal risks of neglecting web accessibility. The surge in lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) related to websites has been on the rise, and it’s affecting a wide range of businesses, including jewelry retailers.
E-commerce, in particular, is the subject of 74% of accessibility complaints. The jewelry industry can’t afford to be sluggish in making its online presence inclusive. The numbers speak volumes about the urgency of the matter.
Now, we get it — making your website accessible may not seem like the most glamorous part of running an online jewelry store. After all, your focus must be on showing off your beautiful jewelry collections. Why should you care about web accessibility beyond just ticking off a compliance checklist?
But being ADA-compliant is about more than just following the rules. It’s going far and beyond to ensure your website is accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities. This includes features like screen readers for the visually impaired, keyboard navigation for those who can’t use a mouse, and clear alt text for images to make your site a welcoming place for everyone, regardless of their abilities.
The Future Is Inclusivity
One argument that particularly stands out is Pineda’s take on the future of web accessibility. He suggests that as our society grows more aware of “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” accessibility will become the norm. This forward-thinking perspective makes sense. Being ahead of the curve in providing an accessible website can give a jewelry business a competitive edge.
Between a fully accessible and inaccessible website, a potential customer with a disability is more likely to choose the accessible website, even if the prices and products are similar because it offers a seamless browsing experience. A jewelry business that goes beyond compliance by conducting regular accessibility audits and making continuous improvements sends a powerful message of inclusion.
In this inclusive future, hopefully, accessibility will not be seen as an obligation to avoid lawsuits for not complying with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) but as a standard practice that benefits both businesses and their customers.
The Right Way to Do It
Instead of taking shortcuts with overlay widgets and plugins, Pineda recommends working with web developers to genuinely improve accessibility. Why? Because accessibility shouldn’t be skin-deep. It should focus on enhancing the user experience for people with disabilities.
Proper accessibility measures might include providing alternative text for images to enable screen readers to describe the products to visually impaired users.
On the other hand, jewelry websites that use overlay widgets for compliance may find themselves in hot water if these widgets fail to meet legal standards or if they obscure underlying accessibility issues.
Collaborating with developers to create a responsive design with scalable fonts and clear contrast ratios not only accommodates users with varying disabilities but also adapts to new devices and screen sizes seamlessly.
Consider this discussion about web accessibility a wake-up call wrapped in valuable insights. It’s an invitation for the jewelry industry to make the online world equally welcoming for everyone.
True web accessibility requires collaboration with web developers who understand the intricacies of the code. I couldn’t agree more; genuine change comes from the foundation. Because in an industry where aesthetics and beauty are paramount, why wouldn’t we want our websites to be beautiful for everyone, regardless of their abilities?
Read the article here to discover web features you can incorporate for improved accessibility on your jewelry website.