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UserWay Releases AI-Powered Accessibility Widget for Shopify Stores

UserWay is the first to solve a widespread accessibility issue that excludes visually impaired users and costs millions in lost sales.

UserWay, the leading web accessibility company, announced today the release of its AI-Powered Accessibility Widget in the Shopify app store. UserWay’s widget automatically solves accessibility issues on websites to create a more inclusive and accessible user experience. By embedding the UserWay widget in their sites, Shopify store owners ensure that their shops are inclusive of the more than one billion people living with disabilities.

Creating websites that are fully accessible is challenging, requiring a high level of effort and expertise to cover hundreds of accessibility guidelines. A recent analysis of the top one million websites detected failures to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) in more than 97% of home pages. Among ecommerce platforms, Shopify sites were found to perform the best as far as accessibility.

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“Shopify has invested a great deal of effort to ensure that their ecommerce stores are at the top of their class when it comes to meeting accessibility requirements,” Allon Mason, founder and CEO of UserWay, said. “UserWay reviewed a few design templates that Shopify offers to website creators. These were found to have exceptional built-in accessibility capabilities, allowing users to generate highly accessible websites out of the box.”

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Millions of people worldwide with varying degrees of visual impairment and other differently abled users rely on screen readers, braille readers and other assistive technologies (AT). These ATs read the contents of a site, including images, forms and other interactive elements. However, many sites were built and coded in a way that prevents screen readers from properly announcing content and interactive elements.

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A common example is when products are listed at a discounted price, while the original price is displayed with a strikethrough (e.g., $49 $39). Unless developers give special attention to the underlying code, the two prices will be announced by screen readers with no indication that one is crossed out and no longer valid. In many cases the strikethrough is the only visual indication that an item is on sale, causing confusion for screen reader users.

The UserWay Widget is the first accessibility solution to solve this problem for ecommerce stores automatically, without any configuration. With UserWay, screen readers will correctly announce the crossed out price as the “previous price,” while the sale price is announced as the “discounted price.” This correctly communicates the intent of the promotion, and aligns what is seen on the screen with what is announced to users who are visually impaired.

“UserWay estimates that ecommerce sites lose tens of millions of dollars each year due to inaccessible pricing data alone,” Mason said. “This reinforces the importance of having an accessible user experience, not only because it’s a legal obligation and the right thing to do, but because it affects the bottom line and makes business sense. Ensuring an accessible experience guarantees that no user is excluded, providing the people who rely on assistive technologies with the ability to shop online, enjoy discounted products, contribute to online conversations, share their rich perspectives, and participate fully in the digital world.”

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