Zoovu (credit image/Pixabay/Gerd Altmann)Zoovu, a provider in AI powered eCommerce product discovery, has announced new tools and applications to its platform. The enhancements allow enterprise ecommerce companies to create product discovery experiences that comply with level AA of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.

WCAG 2.1 is a globally recognised benchmark for digital accessibility. It marks an important step toward providing more accessible and inclusive digital real estate to people with accessibility issues.

Today, 27% of the US population have accessibility challenges, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Yet, more than 45% of major eCommerce sites fail to comply with ADA requirements. Furthermore, 96.3% had a detectable WCAG failure, according to the Bureau of Internet Accessibility’s 2023 State of Ecommerce Accessibility. This deficiency in accessibility has resulted in millions of consumers not having the proper access to shop online. It has also led to a 43% year-over-year increase in accessibility lawsuits, according to data from UsableNet.

“When you consider more of our lives are digital, it’s clear that ensuring accessibility is more than following the law. It’s just the right thing to do,” said Bryan Gould, director, National Center for Accessible Media, a non-profit. Accessible Media helps to drive accessibility standards and compliance.

Millions of people interact with Zoovu’s product discovery experiences every year. The company says this new round of capabilities ensures online businesses have all the tools they need to build product discovery experiences that meet ADA compliance requirements.

These new features include:

  • Making it easier to provide live video and audio captions.
  • 4.5-to-1 contrast ratios to ensure text is readable by those who may have colour blindness.
  • Up to 200% text resizing, and simpler navigation with consistent menus and buttons.

For online buyers, Zoovu’s AA level of compliance reduces cognitive load and enhances understanding for users with diverse abilities.

Zoovu is known for managing massive and complex collections of product information, frequently changing content and product pages, chat assistant dialogs, and complex eCommerce functionality. This experience enables the company to have a deeper understanding of the ways frequent website changes can inadvertently disrupt the customer’s online experience and result in a violation of ADA compliance.

(Credit image/LinkedIn/Jonathan Taylor)
Jonathan Taylor, Zoovu’s chief technology officer.

“For over a decade, Zoovu has been support ADA-compliant customer experiences. This includes the world’s leading B2B and B2C brands in retail and manufacturing,” said Jonathan Taylor, Zoovu’s chief technology officer. “Our next level certification allows any business that sells its products online to set themselves apart by empowering every consumer to discover the right products. This focus on inclusivity creates bonds with customers that lead to much stronger long-term relationships.

Enterprise Times: What this means for businesses

Hundreds of millions of people around the globe cannot access eCommerce sites due to the design flaws of these sites. Accessibility issues are real barriers that make it difficult or impossible for disabled users to access, navigate or engage with website content.
E-commerce is broken, and Zoovu says it is fixing it. This is why helping brands create accessible ways to shop has been part of the company’s DNA since day one. Zoovu says the enhancements address gaps in eCommerce accessibility by enabling brands to easily create accessible shopping experiences at scale. Its platform supports brands in creating personalised shopping experiences that comply with WCAG 2.1 and ADA (level AA) guidelines.

Keeping pace with the latest WCAG guidelines as they emerge is a challenge but a necessary one for consumer-facing retailers. Brands and retailers wanting to maximise their return on marketing investments must improve the digital experience for all users. This ensures a wider reach and more audience engagement and, hence, more product sales and revenues for brands and retailers. This is why enterprises need to take accessibility issues more seriously by identifying and proactively fixing them. Otherwise, they may face penalties for non-compliance in the US, EU and UK.



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