Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento) is a leading eCommerce platform, powering many of the internet’s top storefronts. It’s flexible and scalable thanks to a vast number of third-party extensions and support for custom modules — but out of the box, it’s not necessarily accessible.
Why? For starters, digital accessibility depends on the decisions of the content creator. Even if you use an accessible template, you could introduce barriers for people with disabilities by choosing a low-contrast color scheme, uploading pictures without relevant alternative text (alt text), or installing an extension with poor keyboard support.
Why Accessibility is Important for eCommerce
eCommerce stores have especially good reasons to think about the needs and preferences of users with disabilities. Online stores are frequent targets for web accessibility lawsuits filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
More importantly, an accessible online store provides enormous competitive advantages. If you care about improving your key eCommerce metrics, you need to think about real users — the best practices of inclusive design can help.
With that in mind, here are a few basic tips for building an accessible website in Adobe Commerce (or Magento).
Avoiding Common Accessibility Issues in Adobe Commerce
The Adobe Commerce platform has been tested for conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) versions 2.0 and 2.1, along with the Revised Section 508 Standards of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (those standards are based on WCAG and incorporate nearly all of WCAG 2.0 by reference).
But as we’ve discussed, content creators are responsible for following WCAG — and it’s certainly possible to make a wholly inaccessible website with Adobe Commerce’s site builder.
If you’ve already created your eCommerce website, the best practice is to test your content against the latest version of WCAG (currently, WCAG 2.2) and fix any Level A/AA success criteria. Learn more about the differences in WCAG conformance levels.
And if you’re just learning about accessibility, you should review your content for common mistakes:
- Missing or undescriptive alt text for images. This is especially important for product images that customers might use to decide whether to complete a purchase. Read about the best practices of writing alt text.
- Keyboard accessibility issues. Try operating your website with just a keyboard (no mouse) and make sure you can complete a purchase. Read about the importance of keyboard accessibility.
- Missing form labels and instructions. Labels can be especially important for people who use screen readers (software that converts text to audio or braille). Learn about how form labels and instructions impact accessibility.
- Low-contrast text. Text must maintain an appropriate contrast ratio with its background; otherwise, it may not be readable for people with color vision deficiencies. Learn how to use color in an accessible way.
- Poorly structured pages with improper semantic HTML, which may make navigation difficult for people who use assistive technologies. Learn about the importance of semantics for web accessibility.
- Redundant hyperlinks and “empty" hyperlinks. Links are important navigational tools for your users, so make sure they’re implemented in an accessible way. Learn the best accessibility practices for hyperlinks.
Testing your website for these issues will not make it perfectly accessible for all users — perfect accessibility doesn’t exist. However, you’ll address many of the most common barriers that impact users. That can quickly translate to improved engagement rates, lower shopping cart abandonment rates, and better brand positioning.
Testing Adobe Commerce and Magento Websites for Digital Compliance
While you can improve accessibility by testing against WCAG, you’ll need a long-term strategy to prevent new issues from cropping up. Ideally, you’ll use a combination of automated and manual tests — and manual tests should be performed by people who have experience with assistive technologies.
The Bureau of Internet Accessibility can help. We provide onsite and self-paced training, website accessibility audits, and 24/7 accessibility support, along with free resources for learning the basics of inclusive design.