Web accessibility for jewelry websites has always been important, but many business owners and marketing professionals don’t realize that standards exist. If you’re an online jewelry retailer, you may face a lawsuit if your website or app does not meet the needs of internet users with disabilities as defined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
In this post, we will explore what web accessibility is, the risks of not complying with WCAG standards, the importance of web accessibility for jewelry websites, and how you can avoid legal issues.
What is Website Accessibility?
Website (or application) accessibility refers to how the site functions for people with disabilities. A website that does not feature good web accessibility is difficult to use for someone with a sensory or movement limitation.
Customers who benefit from accessible websites may struggle with limitations in the following areas:
Some of these disabilities may be temporary, such as a broken hand, while others may be permanent or progressive, such as deafness or degrading eyesight.
Some examples of web accessibility features that help people with disabilities include:
- Adjustable font sizes and colors
- Speech-to-text features and vice versa
- Alt text for all images
- Closed captioning
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Responsive design
- Clear website navigation
Websites should be accessible by default with the option to turn off the accessibility features if not needed by the customer.
What Can Happen if Your Website is Not Accessible?
A 2021 report on ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) lawsuits in the US outlined many lawsuits taking aim at businesses that lack website accessibility. Jewelry stores must recognize these litigation risks as they are disproportionately affected on e-commerce sites.
When you bring web accessibility into the forefront of your website, you can prevent these types of lawsuits. You can also gain an advantage over competing retailers who don’t have accessible sites.
Configuring web accessibility for jewelry websites also stops customer frustration and thus improves business profits. Essentially, if your website is not accessible, you will lose out on customers. The jewelry market is highly saturated, and if your website is even a little bit challenging to navigate, your customers may shop elsewhere.
Should Jewelry Websites be Accessible?
While you might, in theory, think that website accessibility is a good practice, you may have lingering doubts about investing in accessibility for your jewelry website. After all, will accessibility even make a dent in your revenue streams to offset the initial set-up cost?
We, as a society, are on the brink of accessibility being the standard. With a renewed focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, we push toward a future that benefits everyone.
Although mandatory web accessibility is not yet legally enforceable, if you invest in accessibility now, you can get ahead of what is almost assuredly coming down the pipeline.
Your business will be the jewelry website customers turn to when other websites do not accommodate auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, or visual disabilities. On top of making a difference in your customers’ shopping experiences and making more profits, you can avoid pricey lawsuits.
What are the Statistics of Website Owners Getting Hit with Lawsuits?
While legally enforcing website accessibility is still a gray area in the US, you could be hit with a lawsuit if your website does not follow the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) WCAG standards.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines include:
- Providing text alternatives and visual contrast.
- Making content with clear words.
- Offering closed captioning.
- Creating structured content.
- Providing built-in error prevention.
In 2021, there were at least 10 lawsuits filed daily for lack of website accessibility and digital ADA complaints. Data reflects that small businesses are hit the hardest with digital ADA lawsuits, and e-commerce account for 74% of accessibility complaints.
Unfortunately, for small business owners, paying out a lawsuit or settling a demand letter can be such a costly undertaking that they lose their businesses.
It is always better to err on the side of caution by coding your jewelry website to be accessible. The upfront cost for coding is paltry compared to a reputation-damaging lawsuit that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
Avoid Any Issues and Get Compliant: Improve your Website Accessibility
Some website owners try to cut corners by applying overlay widgets, plugins, and toolbars to give the appearance of web accessibility. However, these overlay strategies do not fix the underlying code and thus do not provide your website with any form of legal protection.
Additionally, overlay widgets and toolbars are not helpful for individuals who need web accessibility. For example, if you use a screen-reader, the overlay widgets and toolbars could block your assistive technologies.
Web accessibility should not be performative but should instead benefit the consumer. Consider working with a web developer instead of using widgets and plugins to address accessibility concerns.
If you want to improve web accessibility for jewelry websites, contact Jewelry Store Marketers at JewelryStoreMarketers.com. We provide website development and website redesign services for online jewelers looking to expand their reach. We can help you get your website updated with user-friendly accessibility features.