Each month I will be responding to a question; chosen from a pool of some of
the most commonly asked ones that I have been asked over the years and
continue to be asked.
This month, I’d like to answer the following question:
How can online shopping be made more accessible?
You may think that this could turn into a nightmare or humungous task but
truth be told, it is not as difficult as you may think. The trick of the
trade is for you to include this feature at the beginning of your design and
development phases. It would probably be more of a challenge if you were to
do it as a retrofit.
So to the crux of the matter: What makes online shopping accessible to all
of your customers/consumers?
1. Think of accessible online shopping as benefiting everyone.
2. Ensure that online order or request forms can be deciphered by screen
reading and large print technology software.
3. Provide keyboard equivalents for mouse pointer movements. This feature
would benefit not just blind persons. It will also benefit those with
4. Provide easy ways for shoppers to be able to enter their credit card
numbers. Maybe a way for them to check that they have entered the correct
credit card number.
5. Provide an accessible captcha feature. One that a blind person can use.
This means that they should be able to hear the numbers or text that they
are required to enter and not through an image that pops up on the screen.
6. Provide alt text equivalents and descriptions for images, icons, and
7. Do your best to avoid pop-up and drop-down menus.
8. It is always a good idea to provide a phone number that your consumer can
call if they do indeed prefer to deal with a live person.
9. If your consumer completes the online process, then be sure to provide a
message that says that their transaction has been successfully completed
and confirm this with an email.
10. If the transaction is running into difficulty, then be specific to let
the consumer know what the problem is. IE, which fields need to be
11. Finally, if date fields are required, then be specific with which format
is required. Example, ddyymm, ddmmyy, yyyyddmm, or whatever is required.
This list of course could be expanded upon but it is a good start.