Ecommerce Website Accessibility & Lawsuits

Website accessibility and ADA compliance is of utmost importance for ecommerce websites. Having an ADA compliant website could significantly increase your web traffic and boost your SEO efforts allowing you to reach a wider audience. Allowing potential customers to have control over their online retail shopping experience is a great start. Website accessibility for retail looks at things such as users being able to easily choose different clothing variations and sizings. An ADA compliant website also ensures that a user can complete his or her purchases with the use of assistive technology.

Ecommerce Website Accessibility Checklist
Online shopping is increasingly popular year after year and it has changed the way consumers think and changed their shopping behavior as well. According to Statista, there were 220.6 million digital shoppers in 2018 in the US, about 224.1 million in 2019 and a forecast of 230.5 million by 2021. It is important that the different features on your ecommerce website are accessible to online shoppers.

  • Store locators
  • Promotion and discount code tools
  • Email marketing integration
  • Easy-to-use checkout
  • Multiple payment options (credit card, PayPal, PO, Terms, etc)
  • Search and sort to easily find categories
  • Ability to select product variants


Ecommerce Website ADA Compliance Lawsuits
In the wave of technological advances in recent years, assistive computer technology is an increasingly prominent part of everyday life. It allows blind and visually-impaired persons to fully and independently do online shopping. A survey conducted by BigCommerce that showed 96% of Americans will shop online. In 2018, an NPR poll showed roughly two-thirds of Americans have bought something from, one of the biggest online retailers.

A brick-and-mortar retailer provides the public with a wide array of goods, services, price specials, employment opportunities, and other programs. This is true just as true for a retailer’s online ecommerce store.

Users with a disability, in this instance, users who are blind or visually impaired, have an even greater need to use online shopping due to challenges faced in mobility. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, retailers cannot deny persons with a disability equal access to goods and services provided by the retailer as they would to persons without a disability. Customers can bring a civil rights action, or file a federal lawsuit against a retailer for their failure to design, construct, maintain, and operate their websites to be fully accessible to and independently usable.

Ecommerce websites can contain thousands of access barriers that make it difficult if not impossible for customers who are blind and visually impaired to use a retail website. For example, a retailer that might have only one way for a customer to checkout. If your form fields cannot be navigated, a user using keyboard controls or assistive technology might not be able to fill out their name or billing address

Or imagine if you were shopping for sweater online and the image was blurry or didn’t load properly. Simply adding alternative text , or alt text, would give an idea to users what color the fabric is and more. Having a website that has access barriers such as these, excludes users with a disability from the full and equal participation in the growing Internet economy that is an increasingly common part of daily living.

There are readily available accessible technologies that heavily trafficked retail websites use, such as alternative text, accessible forms, descriptive links, resizable text and limits the usage of tables and JavaScript. When a retailer decides to use an exclusively visual interface, persons who are blind or visually impaired need to rely on sighted companions to assist them. A retailer failing to make their retail website accessible to blind persons violates basic equal access requirements under both state and federal law.


Check out these major online retailer lawsuits: