Web accessibility, WCAG and ADA Compliance  for PrestaShop

PrestaShop is a freemium, open-source platform for building and running your online store. PrestaShop is mostly used by small Ecommerce businesses who appreciate that the platform has so many relevant features.

PrestaShop makes it easy to create and launch an online store seamlessly. With so many features, they promise to provide a solution for everyone’s needs. Unfortunately, this does not include the needs of people with disabilities attempting to access PrestaShop websites.

Currently, PrestaShop’s default platform is inaccessible. This means that the base code of a PrestaShop website does not incorporate the accessibility guidelines that would enable a person with disabilities to access a website. These guidelines, the WCAG, are the most widely adopted standard for web accessibility and have been referred to in accordance with most legislation such as the ADA. As of now, if someone with a disability wishes to access a PrestaShop website, they will not have an accessibility option to suit their needs.

There is currently only one accessibility module available in the Addons Marketplace which offers WCAG 2.0 compliance. However, the WCAG has since updated with version 2.1 which offers broader and more effective guidelines with screen reader compatibility and keyboard navigation. Since most web accessibility lawsuits come from these groups, it’s imperative that your website be fully accessible to their needs. Not to mention, ensuring an accessible digital experience for everyone.

Since PrestaShop does not offer a way to make a website fully accessible, users are left to do their own accessibility remediation. Manual remediation is accomplished by following the 1000 pages of the WCAG and making all of the necessary code adjustments by yourself. Since this can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned developers, many online store owners choose to outsource the work to an accessibility expert.

Unfortunately, manual remediation can take months to apply and can cost thousands of dollars. For small businesses and eCommerce websites, this is a hefty sum that could be put towards other business ventures. Keep in mind that manual remediation will need to be done to every update you make to your website, which can interfere with streamlined sales and marketing efforts.

The importance of an accessible PrestaShop website

As mentioned above, inaccessible websites are at risk of litigation. This is because in 2018 the DOJ affirmed that websites are considered places of public accommodation and should be accessible to people with disabilities, just like brick and mortar. In fact, web accessibility lawsuits have increased by 300% since then, with Ecommerce websites in the middle of the storm.

Access to the web is a fundamental right for everyone. It encourages people to contribute to society and creativity. In addition, since people with disabilities makeup 20% of the population, not only do you gain by tapping into new revenue streams but society as a whole benefit from growing commerce. Making your website accessible is the right thing to do for everyone.

Using accessiBe with PrestaShop

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.

For an accessiBe installation guide with PrestaShop, click here.