The Independent’s Playbook: Is Your Website Accessible?

August 25, 2020

By Jim Dudlicek, NGA Director of Communications and External Affairs

By now, it’s no secret that the pandemic has accelerated the anticipated growth of grocery e-commerce. But are you really reaching all the people you should be?

With so many more consumers embracing online shopping, pickup and delivery, along with spending more time on social media platforms and mobile devices, the need for your web platforms to be accessible has never been more important. Along with this growing trend in usage of e-commerce platforms, retailers are also experiencing more threats of litigation alleging noncompliance with Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates for access.

To help independent grocers achieve compliance, NGA recently hosted a webinar presented by the team at Envision’s BVI Workforce Innovation Center, a non-profit organization that provides accessibility expertise to businesses.

Speakers included the center’s executive director, Joel Leftwich; Mika Pyyhkala, its director of digital accessibility; Project Manager Kim Casey; and Assistive Technology Specialist Terese Goren. The team shared ways to make your website accessible to everyone, how to work with website developers to meet accessibility standards, and how to leverage best practices when advertising online or utilizing online retail platforms. They also provided a real-world example of an NGA retailer member and offered best practices for boosting the accessibility of an online grocery shopping platform.

Here are some key takeaways from this webinar:

Legal, ethical, profitable: People with disabilities represent a vast, underserved market. Globally, there are more than 1 billion people with disabilities, according to World Health Organization estimates – that’s $8 trillion in buying power. That’s also a lot of potential litigation; according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, more than 26,000 new ADA discrimination lawsuits are filed each year. And with consumers embracing companies for doing more than just offering goods and services, you can improve your organization’s culture and brand by being a leader in inclusivity and diversity.

Use the POUR principles: Leading organizations comply with Web Contact Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA standards for accessibility. Content must be …

Perceivable – Users are able to identify content and interface elements.

Operable – Users can use controls, buttons, navigation and other necessary elements.

Understandable – Presentation and design follow a predictable pattern and users can comprehend the content.

Robust – Designed to function on all appropriate technologies.

Things to watch for: A study of 1 million webpages, revealed that 98.1% of webpages have detectable errors. The most common issues? Text is difficult to read due to color contrast. Images need alternative descriptions. Link purpose is unclear. Forms are not clearly labeled. Page language is not defined.

It’s an ongoing process: Ensuring accessibility and usability is a journey, not a destination. It’s best achieved when a protocol is in place to consistently monitor and remediate issues.

The William L. Hudson BVI Workforce Innovation Center at Envision focuses on creating progressive career opportunities for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. The center shares its accessibility inclusion expertise to organizations of all sizes, across multiple industries, throughout the United States. Its digital accessibility team provides auditing, reporting and consulting solutions to ensure technology systems such as websites, applications and digital documents meet and exceed accessibility requirements.

To view this complete webinar and others in the series, visit: