How to make online shopping more inclusive

Legally as a blind woman, I keep getting questions about who dressed you, what stylist you have and how you can dress so stylishly? There is a big misconception that people with disabilities are not interested in fashion. And if you’re a disabled person that society sees as “fashionable,” it usually comes as a surprise. The main problem with this type of thinking is that it directly affects how much access we have to fashion. And since we are not considered fashion consumers, we are often left out of the conversation about how fashion is marketed and produced.

Adaptive fashion is a term that is becoming more and more popular as the fashion industry works towards becoming more inclusive. However, I often wondered where I would fit into the conversation because most of the time the focus was only on the design of the dress. Although, I totally agree that clothing needs to be more accessible to people of all abilities, I am hesitant to talk about it, since I do not struggle independently to dress myself. But then I started to see my shopping experience as a person who is marked as blind. I started a lot of discussions with other blind people, and the response was always the same – it can be very frustrating. The current online and in-store shopping system is not set up for people with disabilities to successfully shop independently.

The current online and in-store shopping system is not set up for people with disabilities to successfully shop independently.

Online shopping has become more and more popular year after year, especially due to the recent global epidemic. For a blind person using a screen reader, online shopping can be extremely stressful, the main reason being that most websites are not compatible with assistive technology. For example, images are not usually described on a website page. For someone who uses a screen reader, it will often read the word “image”. It tells a blind person nothing about the product or what is displayed on the page. We call this alternative or description like “alt” text. Alt text breaks the image and provides detailed information about the photo of those who use the screen reader. It is very important for brands to include alt text on their website because if done correctly it helps Google to increase their SEO. Another problem is that buttons and links are usually unlabeled on the website. For a blind person navigating through a website, it can be confusing because it will often read “buttons,” “buttons,” “button links,” “links,” “links.” Imagine that you know nothing about a consumer and product on the website; You probably won’t be particularly inspired to buy from that brand. “I want to support new brands and follow the latest trends,” Timber Lomax, a blind rehabilitation professional in the state of New Jersey, told me. There may be bits of description included in the product image thumbnail, but the written description for the product leaves some of the blind imagination. “

However, I would like to mention that when it comes to accessibility, a lot of responsibility falls on web developers like Shopify and WordPress. Accessibility It is up to them to make sure the plug-ins are actually accessible and they are using actual user testing in the process. It is up to them to provide detailed instructions on how to successfully use plug-ins. Alex Harold is the founder and CEO of Patty and Ricky, an adaptive fashion marketplace for the disabled. He has consistently pledged to gain a more inclusive shopping experience, but says he is struggling to navigate the accessibility overlays being offered for the website. “It’s really hard to figure out where to put my alt text,” the Herald said. “Accessibility shouldn’t be a stressful process and website builders need to do better for brands to use features. I’m paying for a feature I don’t know how to use and that’s a problem.” Dealing with accessibility for a brand can be a little intimidating, if you’re not familiar with how it works. I recommend working with an Accessibility Consultant to make sure you are a brand if your website is really accessible. However, when working with a consultant, you want to
Make sure it is a disability. It’s going to be a lot more understandable to consult with someone who has a living experience who can talk to you about problems with accessibility to your website. But if you’re starting a new brand, I know hiring a consultant may not always be on a budget. There is something you can do while working towards becoming a more inclusive brand. For example, social media is a great way to start practicing better accessibility. Instagram has become extremely popular for marketing and selling products for the brand. The great thing about Instagram is that the app already includes the alt text option. Whenever a brand posts a new product, they can go to more options, select alt text and write a description of the item they are sharing. It then invites the blind community
Shopping experience at no cost to the brand. It is also helpful to include photo descriptions in captions, especially when sharing videos.

“When you don’t rely on the mirror to look at yourself every day or apply your make-up, the beauty of touch, smell and emotion is really driven by how I want to spend my money.”

Lucy Edwards, a UK-based blind broadcaster, YouTuber and disabled activist, explains, “My hope for the future is that all fashion and beauty websites really have alt text.” “I think they need more than the average website because we need to imagine the costume in our minds. Anything the brand can think of to help us draw a mental picture in our minds would be great. The more creative, the better. When you don own Don’t rely on mirrors every day to look at or apply your make-up, the beauty of touch, smell and emotion really drives how I want to spend my money. ”Brands are losing a huge number of consumers by not being accessible. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control, one in four people has some form of disability. Therefore, the exclusion of persons with disabilities hits the brand’s market share and bottom line. Especially according to research done by reason Variety magazine, Total disposable income for disabled U.S. adults is approximately 0 490 billion.

Has the potential to be a leader in the actual inclusion of the fashion industry. Fashion has always greatly influenced culture and continues to shape the way we express ourselves through our looks. My hope is that they take the opportunity to move towards accessibility so that it is included from the beginning and not thought about later. Lucy Edwards shares the same sentiment: “I know for sure that if more brands hear about universal design at product development meetings every day, we will see a more inclusive world. I always say I know nothing about disability, unless I myself am a disabled person.” Done. “

Photo source: Popsugar Photography / Eric Helgas

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