Web accessibility, WCAG and ADA Compliance  for OpenCart

OpenCart is a totally free, open-source eCommerce platform for building and managing an online store. 

Making your website accessible and ADA compliant is a necessary step for all websites but for eCommerce store owners it could make or break your business. Unfortunately for OpenCart users, the platform isn’t accessible. This means that the default code on which the websites are built does not comply with the WCAG, or the web content accessibility guidelines, which are the most widely adopted standards for accessible websites. In addition, there are no accessible themes, addons, plugins, or features that OpenCart users can use to streamline the process of web accessibility.

For an accessiBe installation guide with OpenCart, click here.

The reason eCommerce stores are so vulnerable is that they are more exposed to customers. Everyone, including people with disabilities, is moving online to purchase goods and services, and if your website isn’t accessible - there’s a high chance it will be noticed. With user experience expectations increasing throughout the digital environment, no one will have the patience to attempt to access an inaccessible website and will most likely leave your site right away.

For OpenCart users, it’s best to get to this sooner rather than later because website remediation is completely a DIY affair. The open-source nature of the platforms allows you to access the code and make adjustments yourself. However, spotting and fixing WCAG deficiencies is a complex process, even for the most advanced developers. 

You can outsource the work to an accessibility expert but it can cost you thousands of dollars. Whether you do it yourself or hire an expert, you’re looking at full remediation in up to 3 months. If you need to settle a lawsuit with remediation, you won’t be given this much time. You’ll also need to manually adjust any new updates that you make to your website, to ensure that it doesn’t affect your compliance status.

The importance of an accessible OpenCart website

Remediating your website according to the WCAG makes it accessible and thus protected from website ADA lawsuits. Since the 2018 DOJ affirmation that websites are considered places of public accommodation and should be compliant with the ADA, web accessibility lawsuits have increased by 300%, with eCommerce and small businesses making up the majority (~65%).

Enabling an accessible digital experience isn’t a privilege, it’s a right. People with disabilities should have access to the web and the ability to contribute to it. Since people with disabilities account for 20% of the population, by enabling accessibility on your website, you’re not only tapping into massive revenue streams but you’re also promoting the spread of knowledge, information, and creativity. 

Using accessiBe with OpenCart

with accessiBe, you don’t have to choose between beauty and accessibility. accessiBe’s AI-driven, automated solution makes existing websites ADA compliant by remediating the website’s code according to the WCAG 2.1 AA. accessiBe’s solution is session-based, meaning only those with disabilities will see adjusted design elements, leaving your design completely intact.