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‘Online retailers are failing disabled customers’

Scope, a disability charity from the United Kingdom, has started a campaign called ‘the Big Hack’ to make retailers aware of digital exclusion. Still, many disabled customers can’t shop online in a proper way.

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The Big Hack is a movement aim to make the digital world better for disable people. By working with the tech industry, disability charity Scope wants to break down the barriers disabled people face, both online and in real life.

For example, if someone’s eyes are very sensitive to light, it could help to invert the screen on a device. But if an online store doesn’t use clear contrasting colors, it’s almost impossible to read. And if an app doesn’t allow the text on screen to be enlarged, many users will be unable to properly shop online.

Disabled people’s spending power: 320 billion euros

According to Scope’s analysis, the aggregate value of disabled people’s spending power is almost 320 billion euros. If not for the clear ethical motives, online retailers should take a look at this number and maybe consider the financial imperatives.

5 fixes for ecommerce websites and apps

Scope has also come up with five simple fixes for online retailer’s websites and apps:

  • include captions with video
  • ensure displays feature color-contrasting text and backgrounds
  • have descriptions written in plain language
  • avoid cluttered layouts
  • make buttons descriptive and big

‘Have more disabled people work in retail’

James Moore, columnist for The Independent and a wheelchair user, even wants to add an extra fix: more disabled people in the retail workspace. “Because this would naturally result in more consideration being given to our needs.”

“I’d imagine [companies don’t have websites adapted for disabled people] because designers, and their managers, simply don’t register issues like those Scope raises”, he says. “And that’s because they don’t encounter people whose disabilities make online shopping difficult for them.”

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