Chris Cortilet CMO & Product Developer
Accessibility That Meets All of Our Customers’ Needs
Our objective is to provide the best shopping experience for all users. This document is a record of planning to make sure we were not only creating an ideal user experience for all customers, but that we were putting in the appropriate tools to meet the most current ADA Compliance regulations. This document outlines a recorded history of the planning process that started in January when we began looking at creating a new website.
In this document we provide a timetable of ADA development and objectives starting January 3rd, 2020, and ongoing. It provides an overview of our ADA planning approach, ADA technology timeline, and reviews our ongoing efforts.
We use the latest technologies and best practices. Our website development standards from the very beginning are designed with a commitment to provide the best shopping experience for every customer. We don’t use automation tools or overlay tools because they do not provide the best user experience and are prone to errors. Every site is designed and tested to make sure the underlying technology we use is effectively supporting users with disabilities or anyone who is using ADA assisted tools.
The user experience must achieve several basic functions to meet ADA standards. A disabled user must be able to easily find product, put it into a cart, check out, and they must be able to easily access customer service if they need assistance.
360 Degree Perspective of Accessibility Has to Be Part of the Planning Process
When we recognized our previous website properties didn't meet user requirements and needed updating, we began the process of planning for a complete overhaul in January 2020. We started by discussing ADA compliance issues as part of the development process with key experts in ADA compliance. We also began to look for templates that Shopify recommends as having many out-of-the-box tools already built into them. With recommendations, we started with a theme called Debut. This became the ADA framework for our site development process.
ADA Compliance and Website Product Development Process
- January 3rd, planning and research for ADA compliance begins::
- January 13th, we talked to ADA technical experts to determine best practices in Shopify::
- February 3rd, we started implementing ADA underlying code that supports the entire website::
- February 12th, technical teams began testing the website and underlying ADA code::
- February 30th, we launched and started migrating consumer and domain information::
- March 2nd, creative teams started adding promotions and social media features. This required ongoing testing through the month of March because of ongoing creative changes and modifications to the website for ADA compliance::
- March 13th, Phase I of ADA Compliance testing for the website is completed::
- March 15th, ADA documentation policy is being written::
- March 30th, ADA documentation is reviewed, phase II testing to the website is being made::
- April 15th, phone numbers & email are added to the site for consumer interaction::
- April 30th ADA documentation is finalized and applied to the website::
- May 5th, Creative changes to the website require testing to ADA functionality and code::
- May 7th, ongoing modification of website creative and ADA updates to image assets::
- May 15th, a full history of the ADA compliance is completed and put on the website::
ADA Technical Overview
Working with Key Experts in ADA Compliance We Applied ADA Best Practices
The underlying code is using a technique that applies ADA compliance for any user that can only use the keyboard or needs unique ADA technologies to scan a website. This technology enhances the keyboard so that users can tab through the site without using a mouse, and these same fundamental techniques also apply to any ADA technologies that provide special assistance for disabled users. This tabbing technique allows the user to start at the top of the website and work their way down the entire page. This technique applies to every page of the website. And because this process can be labor-intensive, we have included jump links for disabled users so that they can skip to the main content or directly to the bottom of the page. This adds speed to finding content for those who need ADA assistance built into the website.
As you move through the website, we have also added underlying code that identifies buttons. We apply area labels to these so that disabled users can easily identify what these buttons are and what they are for. For example, leading you to checkout, taking you back into the website for ongoing shopping, etc. Any user that comes through our website will be able to select products, put them into a shopping cart, and complete a transaction without the use of a mouse. Note: in all Shopify websites the checkout process is controlled by Shopify, and this area of the site is already ADA compliant.
Lastly, images have underlying alternative text that can be read by readers. Again, it is never a good idea when using automated readers to assume these are reporting errors correctly. These need to be double-checked. Often, computerized readers like Google or Wave get confused with the underlying programming and misread errors. This doesn't mean the site isn't developed for ADA compliance correctly. Often, this is a false reading by the automated tools. As a matter of fact, you can use these tools several times on the same site, and it will give different readings. You always have to have a developer go through the site to check the underlying code to make sure it is performing correctly.
ADA Technical Implementation
Automation Tools Can't Be the Only Way You Test ADA Compliance
The ADA systems that are put in place require code that underlies the basic website code. Automation tools at best can only measure 45% of the technology that is accurately in place, and in most cases, tools like Google Accessibility or Wave don't read the underlying technology correctly and record mistakes. We go through multiple forms of testing to make sure our underlying ADA technology is going above and beyond standard practices. This process is also ongoing. As our website properties continue to change over time, tools are added, new promotions replace old promotions, and it is vital that we continually regulate ongoing performance. It is imperative that these tools are continuously being monitored and that we give users easy access to our help centers so that they can inform us of any roadblocks they are encountering.
Underlying Code Base
- Code base for ADA compliance is created in the Liquid Theme::
- ADA code underlies the functional code for the selected theme::
- ADA code complements and provide underling features for ADA users::
- Tab structure allows users who can't use a mouse and screen readers to guide users through every page of the website::
- Advanced tabbing features gives users ways to move through the website quickly::
- Alternative text for images provide screen readers the ability to read descriptions of images::
- Area labels give definition to all buttons::
Our product development teams are proud of the work we have completed. We are continuing to advance existing technical properties and introducing new digital systems that continue to ensure that our website is accessible to everyone. We will continue to advance all our digital properties to make the shopping experience the absolute best we can provide.
No website can function effectively without the ongoing support and feedback of our Rinse Bath & Body customers. We give our customers easy access to us, letting them ask questions or raise concerns about the issues they have about ADA or any website usability struggles they may have. We want our customers to be active critics of our digital properties so that we can provide the best user experience possible.
We provide online assistance for any user that may have a technical problem. We invite any feedback or comments to help improve the user experience. Consumers accessing any part of the website can call us at 678-525-1927 or access any of our online support by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We go to tremendous lengths to provide the information, items, or transactions our customers seek through any communication method that is accessible for them (for example, email or telephone support, etc.).