How Do You Create An ADA Compliant Shopify Store?
What does ADA Compliance mean?
ADA compliance refers to adhering to the guidelines and standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a United States federal law enacted in 1990. The primary purpose of the ADA is to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities and ensure they have equal opportunities in various aspects of life, such as employment, public services, transportation, telecommunications, and access to public and commercial facilities.
In the context of websites and digital content, ADA compliance means ensuring that your website or application is accessible to people with disabilities, including those who use assistive technologies such as screen readers, magnifiers, or speech input devices. This involves designing and coding your website in a way that accommodates the needs of users with various types of disabilities, including visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive impairments.
Web accessibility guidelines, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), provide a framework to help web developers and designers create accessible websites and applications. By following these guidelines, you can improve the usability of your website and ensure that it is more inclusive and compliant with the ADA.
It's essential to note that ADA compliance is an ongoing process, as web technologies and accessibility standards evolve over time. Regularly reviewing and updating your website to maintain accessibility will help you stay compliant with the ADA and provide a better user experience for all visitors.
How do you create an ADA compliant Shopify store?
To ensure that your Shopify theme is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant, you should focus on making your website accessible to users with disabilities. Here are the main areas to consider and the steps to take:
Use semantic HTML tags: Use appropriate HTML tags like
<aside>to structure your content. This helps screen readers to navigate and understand the content.
Ensure proper heading structure: Use the correct heading hierarchy (H1 to H6) and avoid skipping heading levels, as this can create issues for screen readers.
Add alt text to images: Provide descriptive alternative text for images by adding the
altattribute, which helps screen readers describe the images to visually impaired users.
<img src="example-image.jpg" alt="An example image description" />
- Use labels for forms: Make sure that all form elements, like input fields and dropdowns, have associated labels. Use the
forattribute on the label to link it to the input.
<input type="email" id="email" name="email" />
Ensure keyboard accessibility: Make sure all interactive elements, like buttons and links, are accessible via keyboard. Ensure they have a visible focus indicator for better usability.
Use ARIA roles and attributes: ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) roles and attributes can be added to elements to improve accessibility. For example, you can use
<nav>element to specify that it is a navigation region.
Use meaningful link text: Avoid using generic link text like "click here" or "more". Instead, use descriptive text that tells users what to expect when they click the link.
Make your site accessible with different devices and browsers: Test your site on different devices and browsers to ensure it is compatible and accessible for all users.
Test your site with accessibility tools: Use tools like WAVE (https://wave.webaim.org/) and the Accessibility Inspector in browser developer tools to check for accessibility issues.
How to implement the ADA compliance changes to a Shopify store?
To implement these changes, you'll need to access your Shopify theme files. Here's how:
- Log in to your Shopify admin panel.
- Go to "Online Store" and then "Themes".
- Click "Actions" next to the active theme, and then select "Edit code".
Ensure that you create a backup of your theme before making any changes, as modifying the code can cause errors if not done correctly.
Lastly, remember that achieving full ADA compliance requires a continuous commitment to accessibility. Regularly review and update your website to address any new issues that may arise.
Here is a link for an ADA Compliance page - Web Accessibility Statement Example.
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