Tag: online store

Build An Online Clothing Store with WooCommerce

If you’ve recently started a clothing boutique or fashion store, or you’re moving to WooCommerce from another platform, getting started may seem a little overwhelming.

This guide was designed to walk you through the setup process, teach you to create successful product listings, and show you how to market to your ideal audience. 

To begin, we recommend that you review the Getting Started with WordPress documentation.  This will teach you how to install WordPress on your hosting account, how to get started, and how to interact with posts, pages, comments, and more.

1. Selecting a theme and customizing your site design

After you’ve installed WordPress and logged in to your dashboard, you’ll need to choose a WordPress theme, which will play a role in the design of your site.  There are a lot of options available, from free themes to paid themes, and they can vary in quality.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing an effective WordPress theme:

  • Does it integrate seamlessly with WooCommerce? – A theme that’s built for WooCommerce makes the process of setting up your store and designing your site much easier.  While there are some great premium options out there, WooCommerce does offer the free Storefront theme, which was built specifically for online stores.  The Galleria child theme and the new Threads theme were both designed with clothing stores in mind, although other themes, both from original PSD and HTML designs and prebuilt, can be made to integrate with Woocommerce 
  • Does it come from a reliable source? – Make sure that you choose a theme from the WordPress repository or from an experienced, legitimate company.  Doing a little research and checking theme reviews can save you a lot of time and frustration!
  • Does the theme load quickly? – While there are a lot of ways to improve performance and load time yourself, choosing a theme that’s already optimized for speed starts you off on the right track.
  • Is it mobile friendly? – Check the theme demos on a mobile device and look at the documentation to ensure that it looks just as good on phones and tablets as on your desktop.
  • Is it SEO-friendly?< - Read through the documentation to see if the developers built the theme with SEO in mind.
  • What functionality and features do you want? – Make a list of the features you’re looking for in a website.  Do you want a product slider on the home page? How about built-in FAQ support?  While there are plugins you can add for additional functionality, it’s often easier if the theme already provides what you’re looking for.

Once you’ve chosen and installed your theme, it’s time to think about your website’s design. While your theme might have its own options and page builder, WordPress and WooCommerce offer easy ways to design your site however you’d like. 

If you go to Appearance —> Customize<, you’ll find settings that will allow you to upload a logo, change the colors and fonts used throughout your site, change the layout for WooCommerce pages, add custom CSS, and more.

The new Gutenberg editor allows you to build any page that you’d like through flexible blocks.  Drag and drop headings, text, images, columns, videos, buttons, galleries, and more.  

A great way to find design inspiration is to look at what other clothing stores are doing.  Of course, it’s important to come up with your own design and not copy others’, but this is a good way to get an idea of design and layout options.

2. Choosing the pages on your site

While the exact pages that you need will vary based on your business and audience, here are a few that work well for the clothing industry:

  • About – Use this opportunity to describe your mission and story.
  • FAQ – Answer the questions your customers ask all the time. 
  • Collections – Separate clothes based on season, gender, style, and more.
  • Fit Guide –  Describe how items fit, how customers can measure themselves, and the measurements for your clothes.
  • Stores – Do you also sell your products in retail locations?  List those on this page.
  • Contact – Make sure your customers can reach you with questions or feedback.
  • Policies – Describe your return policies, exchange policies, etc. and describe how you use and protect customers’ data.
  • Lookbook – Feature real life people wearing your clothing and show how to pair items together to make cohesive outfits.

If you have an existing business, you may want to consider reaching out to your customers to find out what they wish was on your site.  What information was hard to find or missing? This is a great way to learn the kind of pages that will connect with your customers.

3. Extending your store<

Think about additional functionality you might need or want on your store.  What business model will you use to sell your products? How will you accept payments?  Do you want shoppers to customize your clothes?  

WooCommerce offers a variety of useful extensions that will help you create any store that you can envision!  Here are a few that are particularly useful for fashion boutiques:

  • WooCommerce Subscriptions – Sell themed clothing subscription boxes or send clients a new pair of fun socks every month.  Easily manage recurring payments. 
  • Product Vendors – Allow different clothing designers to sell their products on your store and control commissions easily.  Perfect for a multi-vendor marketplace!
  • WooCommerce Brands – Create, assign, and list product brands.  Then, allow your customers to filter your clothes by brand.
  • Variation Swatches and Photos – Showcase color options for your clothes with visual, interactive image swatches.
  • Catalog Visibility Options – Only interested in selling your designs in a physical location?  Use WooCommerce as a catalog and remove all checkout functionality. 
  • Product Add-Ons – Allow your customers to request personalization, like text or graphics, to your t-shirts and other clothing.  Offer gift wrapping and additional options.
  • Smart Coupons – Sell custom-designed gift cards and offer advanced discounts.
  • WooCommerce Dropshipping – Manage drop shipping and send automated order notifications to your suppliers.

When deciding which payment gateway is the best for your store, consider your specific needs.  Here are a few things to think about:

  • Do you want to integrate with the POS that you user in-store?
  • Do you want to accept recurring payments?  Here are a few payment gateways that provide this functionality.
  • What fees are involved?
  • Do you need to accept multiple currencies?
  • Can you accept mobile payments?

Explore the payment gateway extensions that WooCommerce offers.

4. Writing Effective Product Descriptions for Fashion

Since your online store doesn’t provide shoppers with the ability to touch your products, try them on, or see the exact color in person, it’s imperative that you write product descriptions that provide them with the same experience.

Start by considering your target audience.  Are your clothes specifically for professionals?  Address their pain points. Discuss your anti-wrinkling technology that’s perfect for business travel and how your clothes can easily transition from the office to dinner.

Or do you sell kids’ clothes?  You may want to talk to their mothers.  Mention how easy they are to wash, how quickly a mom can get their toddler in and out of them, or how they age up with the child.

By speaking to your customers’ specific needs, they’ll better understand why your clothes are the perfect fit for them.

You may also want to consider suggesting ways to style your clothes.  If customers know that there are a variety of ways to use your product, they’re more likely to spend the money on it.

In your short description, don’t just list specs.  Show the personality of your brand and share the benefits of your products.  This is your opportunity to be unique and fun! Share what you love about your clothes, how it will make your customers feel, and how it will make them look.

Then, use longer description fields to list all those details. Jakke does a great job of utilizing these spaces.  They have a description that shows personality, showcases the style of their coats, and shares their benefits, all while using descriptive language.  Below that, customers can find a fit guide and specs about the product.  

Some information to consider including in your specs:

  • Size and fit – Does your product run large, small, or true to size?  Link to or include a fit guide so your customers feel confident that they’re buying the right size.
  • The size of your model – If you have pictures of a model in your clothing, you may want to mention how tall they are and what size they’re wearing.  This helps customers understand how your clothes fit different body types.
  • The fabric and materials used – But don’t just list “100% cotton” or “silk”.  This is where your creativity can come into play!  What does it feel like? Use descriptive language like “ribbed”, “breathable”, “walkable”, and “elasticized.”  These types of words help customers imagine what wearing your clothes will feel like. Learn more about the psychology of product descriptions.
  • Washing instructions.  Are your products dry clean only or can you throw them in the washer?
  • Other fit details – Consider pointing out the rise of jeans, the length of a jacket, or the height of a pair of socks so your customers can understand exactly how they’ll look.
  • Other important features – What makes your products stand out?  Are they insulated? Do they have hidden pockets? Do they glow in the dark?  

5. Choosing Effective Product Photos 

Because you want your store to emulate the in-person shopping experience as much as possible, it’s important to have good product photos.  It may be a good idea to hire a professional, but if you do take the photos yourself, make sure they’re clear and crisp, have good lighting, and are accurate representations of dimensions and color.

Make sure you show a variety of angles so your customers get a good idea of what your product is really like.  Show the front, back, side, and any other applicable angles. Also grab pictures of details, like unique patterns or embellishments.

Ena Pelle even uses videos to show several angles of their clothing.  Hovering over each product on a category page plays a video of the model slowly turning in a circle to display all sides.  The motion also showcases the products “in action.”

A variety of pictures with different body types and sizes, and several outfit pairings help people picture wearing them on an everyday basis.

6. Blogging Regularly

Blogging is an excellent foundation for marketing campaigns.  Creative content can be used in email marketing, social media marketing, digital advertising, and more.  It’s also a great way to educate your customers, answer their questions, and show that you know what you’re talking about.  Plus, consistent, high-quality blog posts play a big role in search engine optimization.

Clearly, blogging is important.  But how do you come up with topic ideas on a regular basis?

The best place to start is a brain dump.  Start a document on your computer and list out all the ideas that immediately pop into your head, no matter how good they are.  Even if you don’t go with those topics, you may get inspiration from them.

Here are a few other ways to find idea inspiration:

  • Customer questions – What questions do you get via email, social media, and phone calls?  Answer them thoroughly in the form of blog posts.
  • Seasons and events – You might want to put together a winter style guide or a list of Christmas gift suggestions.
  • Capitalize on trends – Is velvet very “in” right now?  What about neon or camo? Consider discussing how to incorporate those styles into outfits using your clothes. Google Trends is a great tool to find out what people are searching for and interested in right now.
  • Read other blogs in your industry – Follow top bloggers in the fashion industry and use their ideas for inspiration.  Don’t copy their posts, but instead use them to spawn your own ideas and apply to your own situations.
  • Share what you’re passionate about – Write about your business, tell your story, share the charity that you donate to, or highlight team members.  Customers love to know more about the people they’re buying from.
  • Use Quora – Make a list of words that relate to your products or industry and use them to search Quora.  Go through the conversations and you’ll find endless ideas!
  • Join social media groups – Find Facebook groups related to your industry and pay attention to the questions that are being asked.  Write on those topics.

Think about what information your customers will really find useful rather than promoting your products in every single post.  Be a source of information for people and they’ll be more likely to purchase from you long-term.

7. Optimizing for Search Engines

While there are a lot of pieces to search engine optimization, the biggest thing to remember is that Google focuses on the user experience.  They want to show high-quality content to their users, so it’s important that your site provides just that.

Consider terms (or keywords) that your customers might use to find your products.  For example, someone might search, “comfortable winter sweater for women” or “white lace dress.”  Try to incorporate those keywords naturally into your content. Don’t just stuff them in as often as possible!

Blogging and good product descriptions are a great place to start.  Once you have that nailed down, it’s time to consider on-page optimization.  Here are the main components:

  1. Page or Product Title – Include keywords naturally and make it compelling to users.  This should make people want to click on your page or product.
  2. Meta Description – Write a short snippet about your page topic and make it interesting!  Users should want to read more.
  3. Slug (or URL) – Keep it short, but descriptive, and include your keyword.
  4. Alt Tags – Alt tags are how Google and Screen Readers “read” your images.  Don’t stuff these full of keywords, but instead describe exactly what’s in the picture.

The free Jetpack plugin helps with page optimization by eliminating the need to edit any code and allowing you to customize the above fields.  

There are also other aspects to consider like site load time, website structure, accessibility, and more.  Here are some more articles to reference if you want to dive further into SEO:

Ecommerce

8. Marketing Your Clothing Store

Now that you have everything set up, it’s time to start reaching out to your audience.  There are a lot of different marketing strategies and the perfect marketing mix will be unique to your business.  Here are some effective ways to market a clothing store:

Abandoned Cart Emails.  Learn more about abandoned cart emails.

Social Media Marketing.  Instagram is a great place for fashion brands to start.  It’s the perfect visual format to showcase your products.  Their new shoppable posts feature even makes it easy for your followers to shop your products right on their phones.

Facebook can also be a great tool.  It provides a better method of connecting directly with your customers through Facebook groups, reviews, and longer, text-based posts.  You may want to share customer stories here or create a photo gallery of outfit ideas.

You can use our Facebook for WooCommerce extension you to quickly integrate your WooCommerce store with both Facebook and Instagram.

Hashtags are an important part of reaching your target audience on social media.  Spend some time researching the hashtags that your specific customers follow and try to incorporate those into your posts.  HootSuite provides a great guide to finding effective hashtags and utilizing them.  

Pinterest Marketing. 

The Pinterest for WooCommerce extension helps you sync your entire inventory with Pinterest and gain valuable analytics data.

Tailwind is a great tool to use for fashion retailers.  You can add images in bulk and automatically schedule them in the time slots that are most effective for your account.  Tailwind Tribes also allow you to join groups of like-minded, fashion-focused brands who all want to share each others’ content.  Find the best Tailwind Tribes for fashion.

Influencer Marketing.  An endorsement from a celebrity or social media influencer can be huge for your business!  There are several ways you can approach this, including:

  • Blog post – The influencer would wear an outfit that includes your clothes and blog about it, either in exchange for a free product or for money.
  • Try-on haul video –  The influencer would post a social media video trying on a bunch of different items from your store and link to them.  This is particularly great for vloggers!
  • Event styling – Dress a celebrity or influencer for an event or the red carpet.  Their audience will ask where they got their outfit and they’ll be able to answer, “Who are you wearing?” with your name!
  • Design collaboration – Create a line of products in tandem with a celebrity and include their name on the collection.
  • Social media post – The influencer would post a video, picture, or story about your products.  Feel free to be creative – the sky’s the limit!

Learn more about connecting and collaborating with influencers.

Giveaways.  It may seem counterintuitive to give away your products for free, but it’s an excellent way to gain social media followers or email subscribers.  People love free stuff!  

On your website, ask for an email address in exchange for an entry into your contest – just make sure to let them know that they’ll be joining your email list, too!  Or, use one of these giveaway tools to get likes and comments on your social accounts.  You can even partner with other retailers or bloggers in your industry to garner more engagement!

Digital Advertising.  Online advertising can be an excellent way to reach new shoppers or connect with previous customers.  There are a variety of platforms – Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. – and choosing the right one often depends on where your customers spend their time.

For example, Google Shopping ads put your products in front of customers who are searching for them on Google in a visual, compelling way.  But if your audience spends the majority of their time on social media, you may want to invest in Facebook ads.

Also consider remarketing ads, which target the people that have already been to your site or customers that visited a specific page (like your Checkout or Cart pages). You can create ads that offer a coupon code, advertise a sale, or address specific pain points – shipping concerns, pricing concerns, quality concerns, etc.  This can be an especially helpful way to gain sales.

Start Your Online Clothing Store 

Starting a fashion website may seem overwhelming, but the key is just that – start!  If you work through the steps in this article, spend time connecting with your customers, and create high-quality products, you’ll be on the right track.  Happy selling!

Start your WooCommerce store with these five steps. and if you enjoyed this post, why not check out this one on Wordpress Dynamic Content?

Filed under: eCommerce, WordpressTagged with: ,

Web Accessibility in Your Website or Store

As developers and online store owners, we often treat accessibility as a bonus. But it’s really a requirement! Each piece of a website build should be considered from the perspective of all site visitors, no matter their age, capabilities, or impairments. After all, it’s important that everyone can easily use your store and purchase your products.

When it comes down to it, accessible content is defined as:

  1. Perceivable. All information must be presented in ways that users can perceive, no matter what user agents (browsers, screen readers, or other software) they operate or what disabilities they have.
  2. Operable. Visitors need to be able to navigate around the site and use all functionality even if they don’t utilize a traditional mouse.
  3. Understandable. Content, forms, menus, links, and other site components need to be easily understood by users.
  4. Robust. A variety of tools, including screen readers, voice recognition software, and braille readers should all be able to read your content.

But how does accessibility become a core part of the development process?  What factors should be considered and how do you adapt an existing store? What tools can be used to test for web accessibility?

All of those questions will be answered below, but if you’re interested in a more in-depth look at why accessibility is so important, take a look at The Importance of Accessibility for Your Online Store.

Making Accessibility a Focus

An accessible website starts with the right mindset.  It’s important to get everyone involved – the developer, the business owner, the content manager, etc. – on the same page.

One of the best ways to gain an understanding of accessibility is to try using your favorite websites with a screen reader. NVDA is a great option for Windows users and VoiceOver is perfect for Mac users.  Take all the actions you normally would – search the website, read a blog post, add a product to your cart – and gain an understanding of what it’s like to do so from a different perspective.

Web Accessibility In Your Online Store What You Need To Know

The next step to focusing on web accessibility is starting with a good, high-quality WordPress theme. The WooCommerce Storefront theme, for example, adheres to accessibility guidelines, integrates seamlessly with WooCommerce, and is extremely flexible at the same time.  View all Storefront features here.

Or, if you’re using the WordPress theme directory, the work has already been done for you; search using the tag “Accessibility” and you’ll find some great options.  If you’re developing your own theme, the WordPress Theme Handbook has in-depth, clear accessibility guidelines that will start you off on the right track.

Then, as you go through the website building process, test things constantly. It’s much easier to adjust elements as you go than to rebuild once the site’s finished!

Tools for eCommerce Accessibility

The right tools are critical to building an accessible eCommerce site.  Below, you’ll find some great options for testing; many of these are also mentioned when discussing specific accessibility factors later in this post.

Screen Reader Testing:

  • For Mac (free): VoiceOver
  • For Windows (free, open source): NVDA
  • For Windows (paid): JAWS
Website visitor using a braille reader tool on his computer.

How to Make Your eCommerce Site Accessible

Accessible Images

In order to help your visually impaired users experience the images on your site, you need to make sure to add alt text for each one.  Screen readers use alt text to “read” your image (tip: Google does, too!). If you’re a developer, make sure that each element contains an alt attribute.  If you’re a site owner, you can use the default WordPress functionality to easily add alt text to your images.

A great place to start is by considering the purpose of your image:

1. Does it convey straightforward information,  e.g. a simple picture or icon?

In this case, describe your image in a way that will help your users picture it.  Good alt text would be, “Woman pushing a stroller down the sidewalk.”

2. Does it convey complicated information, e.g. an infographic or chart?

For complex images, it might be too difficult to describe the content in a concise way; you may need to add a long description.  There are several ways to approach this, including referencing an area of the page where the complicated image is described in more detail. Find out more ways to approach this here.

3. Is it solely decorative, e.g. a small flower element used as part of the site design?

Tell screen readers to skip over decorative elements by giving them an empty alt attribute:

Ideally, you should be including decorative images in your CSS rather than your HTML.

If you’re tempted to stuff keywords in your alt text for SEO purposes, remember that Google prioritizes user experience.  It’s more important that your alt attributes do a good job describing your image than listing a keyword.

Accessible Links

The important thing to consider when adding links is to always tell your site visitors what’s going to happen when they click. Even if they read the link entirely out of context (which is often the case with certain types of screen readers), they should know where they’re going next.

Examples of bad link text:

  • For more information about our candles, click here.
  • Download our sizing chart to find your perfect fit.

Examples of good link text:

  • For more information about our candles, see Candle FAQs.
  • To find your perfect fit, download our sizing chart as a PDF.

There may be times, however, when it’s valuable or necessary for you to use link text like “Read More.”  An example of this might be a grid of recent blog posts on your home page, where each short excerpt ends with a “Read More” link.  What do you do in that case?

A great solution would be to use the aria-label attribute, which allows you to add a descriptive label to your link.

Here’s what a link with the aria-label attribute might look like:



A bad solar installation can make your upfront
investment evaporate. Here are 15 questions to ask
any potential solar installer before you trust their
reputation. [Read more...]

But what if you want to link an image? In the case of images, your alt attribute will be your link text.  So if you have a mockup of your free eBook download, you want your alt attribute to be something like, “eBook about choosing the right lipstick for your skin tone.”  This tells your site visitors both what the picture is and what will open when they click on it.

Accessible Fonts

The first thing you want to consider is font size.  It’s important that your text can easily be read by people who are partially blind or who simply have trouble seeing smaller font sizes.  While there isn’t an official minimum font size, a good starting point is 16px for your body text.

Typically, it’s up to a user’s browser to resize fonts, which they do by either enlarging the text itself or by zooming into the page and applying responsive styles.  You should build your website in a way that allows a user to zoom up to 200% without losing the ability to use or view your site content. For example, you want to avoid truncated content or overlapping text when the font resizes.  The best thing to do is to test it yourself. Find instructions for each browser here. 

Consider the font choices that you make as well.  Cursive or intricate fonts are often very difficult to read and should only be used occasionally (such as a signature or decorative element).  Stick to only 2-3 fonts throughout your website to make your information less confusing and easier to understand.

An example of the Ishihara Color Blindness Test – circles filled with dots and numbers in different colors.
The Ishihara Color Blindness Test, often used to test for color blindness.

Accessible Colors

Not everyone sees color the same way.  In fact, approximately 8% of men and 0.5% of women have some form of color blindness.  So, your website should be entirely functional and usable in greyscale.  You can use tools like the Chrome extension Grayscale Black and White for testing.

Contrast is a big consideration for web accessibility.  Look at text on top of images or backgrounds as well as the contrast between elements (such as buttons and pictures) that are close to one another.

Ideally, you want a luminosity contrast rating of 4.5:1 for body text and 3:1 for large text. Contrast Checker is a great tool for testing foreground vs. background and even viewing your color choices in greyscale.

An important rule to keep in mind: Don’t rely on color alone.  Shapes and symbols can help communicate the same message.

For example, if your contact form error message is in red, you may also want to add a stop sign or exclamation point symbol that grabs attention in case your site visitors’ are red-green color blind.  Patterns and textures are also a great way to demonstrate contrast.

Accessible Headings

Remember that headings aren’t just there for size – they’re an important structural component of your content.  Using proper heading elements allow screen readers to quickly identify headings and sections throughout the page and navigate effectively.

What does a proper heading structure look like?

The H1 element should be used to identify the primary topic of the page and should only be used once per page.  This would be the title of a blog post or name of the product, for example.

H2 and H3 elements should be used to introduce different sections of the content beneath.

Here’s an example heading format for a blog post:

Why choose a stainless steel water bottle

Stainless steel water bottles are perfect for camping

They can be used to boil water in the wilderness.

They’re durable and can survive falls

Stainless steel water bottles keep drinks colder longer.

Stainless steel water bottles are the safer choice.

They don’t leach chemicals like many plastic bottles do.

They don’t rust like other metals.

They can be cleaned in the dishwasher.

As you can see, the content is organized in a way that a site visitor or a screen reader can easily understand what each section is about.

Strong Tags

In my subjective opinion, these are a throwback from the old html syntax, and I personally consider them a no no. In my view it is akin to regular shouting, and makes a mess of the page. If anything, to accent a word, I would prefer to use the I tag and I run a mile from posts which are peppered with strong tags, but thats just me, you might think differently.

Accessible Forms

Forms can be tricky for screen readers, but they’re often the way that you’ll collect payment information, product customization details, and even leads.  That’s why it’s so important that they’re accessible and easy-to-use.

A good place to start is by using labels – yes, even if you have placeholders!  A label should tell your users what to fill out (e.g. Email Address) while the placeholder should share how to fill out the field (e.g. [email protected]).  This is a critical piece of a screen reader understanding your form.

Make sure that any required fields are clearly labeled and that instructions (especially on formatting requirements for dates, phone numbers, etc.) are outlined in a way that’s easy to understand.

It’s also critical that your forms are keyboard accessible – they can be navigated and filled out only using a keyboard.  As a developer, be careful with your use of javascript when it comes to manipulating form data, submitting forms, and changing form elements.  Misused javascript is one of the most common reasons a form isn’t fully accessible.

Accessible Videos

Videos are a great way to explain your products, showcase their uses, and share testimonials from your customers.  Make sure they’re accessible, too!

One way to do this is by adding captions to your videos, which will help those that are deaf or hard-of-hearing to understand the audio.  The University of Washington provides great tips for adding captions to your videos yourself.  But, if a professional videographer is creating your video, simply ask them to add captions.

Adding audio descriptions is an important step to help those who are blind understand what’s happening in your video.  Create a separate audio track that describes important visual content, especially sections of your video that don’t already have narration.  You could also use transcripts to write out all audio content and describe the video itself.

You’ll also want to consider the video player.  Make sure that the option you choose supports closed captions and provides toggles to turn audio descriptions on and off.  You also want to make sure that all buttons on the player can be used with a screen reader or keyboard.

Keyboard Navigation

We’ve touched a bit on this already, but it’s important that your website can be operated using only a keyboard. This is especially helpful for people with motor impairments who may have difficulty using a traditional mouse.

Since the Tab button is used to navigate throughout the page, it’s important that your website navigation is set up so that it follows the visual flow of the page (left to right, top to bottom).

Test your website to ensure that you’re able to navigate with the Tab button in the following order:

  1. Header
  2. Main navigation menu
  3. Any page navigation and links
  4. Footer

Also take the time to go through any custom widgets, apps, plugins, etc. to ensure that they can easily be exited using the Escape key and that they follow the proper accessibility guidelines for widgets.

The biggest key here is to test, test, test!  Spend time going through all pages using only your keyboard to make sure they’re easy to use.

Accessible Downloads

If you sell digital downloads on your eCommerce site, it’s important to also make sure that the downloads themselves are accessible.

One great way to make PDFs accessible is to add PDF tags, which provide a hidden, structured representation of the content that’s visible to screen readers.  Adobe Acrobat provides a great guide to making your PDFs accessible

Of course, you’ll also want to keep in mind other accessible principles that we discussed above, like color contrast and font size, throughout your digital download design.

Woman with hearing aid using a laptop on a couch.

Accessible Courses

When creating online courses, make sure that you keep in mind concepts like video captions and audio transcripts.  Consider presenting your content in multiple styles, like video, audio, and text so that there’s something for everyone.  Many of the design principles above will also apply to your courses.

It’s important that you provide multiple methods of communication for your students.  For example, a nonverbal user may not be able to call and ask questions and a blind student may not be able to submit questions online easily.  The same thing goes for submitting any assignments or coursework. Be flexible with your students and work with any existing disabilities to help them get the most out of your courses.

When it comes down to making your online site or store accessible, the important thing is to take the time to understand how those with disabilities will use your site.  When you have a good understanding, it’s much easier to account for accessibility throughout all stages of the development process and, ultimately, provide an excellent experience for all of your customers.

If you’re looking for more information, WordPress provides a great web accessibility handbook that includes even more testing tools, development best practices, and tips for store owners.

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