Ecommerce Web Design: Disabled Friendly Web Design
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Web design must not focus on creating visually appealing web sites alone. If you have a business web site, you'll want to optimize your site for the disabled as well. If not, you could be missing out on a potentially large number of customers.
Here are tips for making ecommerce web design friendlier to the disabled:
- Provide text alternatives to visual and auditory content. That way, if the user is blind or has trouble reading, the text can be output to a speech synthesizer or Braille display. If they are deaf, the text can of course be read.
So in practical ecommerce web design, this means adding an "alt" text to an <img src> tag. If it's an animated presentation, add synchronized captions.
- Be careful with the colors you use. Choose colors that can be distinguished even by color-blind people and monochrome screens.
- Use HTML and CSS for formatting. Don't use tables for page layout, as this will make it unintelligible to special readers that disabled people use. In ecommerce web design, one must use the appropriate language for what you need. It's more professional. CSS and not tables should be used for layout and formatting.
- Code tables properly. Table code has always been a nightmare both for web designers and disabled users. Learn the proper use of table tags and how to make them accessible to specialized software. (For example, use the "summary" attribute.)
- Validate your with HTML Validators. This keeps your code clean and organized for specialized software.
- Avoid blinking or flashing effects. Or at least, give your viewers the option to turn them off. Some people can have seizures while looking at them. (Not to mention, blinking text is a mark of poor taste in ecommerce web design.)
- Make sure your web site complies with W3C guidelines (which this article is based on).
- Use the right markup for the language of the text. For example, the "lang" attribute in XML. This makes it easier for screen-readers to pronounce them.
- Provide device-independent access for your web pages. If a user can't use a mouse, they should be able to use a keyboard or some other input device.
- Provide keyboard shortcuts.
- Finally, read the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines by the W3C or World Wide Web Consortium. It is a complete list of guidelines for making web sites friendlier to disabled users. If you want to customize your ecommerce web design for blind, deaf and otherwise handicapped users, that article is a must-read.
Ecommerce web design must provide for the various disability groups or merchants may alienate a lot of potential customers. We hope you will be able to integrate these methods into your web design, for the benefit of your customers and for your own.
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