Is your online journey accessible for deaf and disabled customers?

“Online sales as a proportion of all retailing reached a record high of 22.3% in the UK in March, demonstrating a huge shift to eCommerce by consumers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.” This was according to ONS data released at the end of April 2020.

More than ever, we are all searching and buying more online.  Disabled customers make up a large proportion of shoppers.


The Click-Away Pound


A research survey called The Click-Away Pound is designed to explore the online shopping experience of people with disabilities and examine the cost to businesses of ignoring disabled shoppers.

In the 2019 report, it was found that there were 7.15 million with access needs.
69% of those clicked away from a site that was inaccessible.

The value of this ‘click away’ spend was £17.1 billion (up from £11.75 billion in 2016).  This spending was a loss for businesses with an inaccessible online journey.  And a win for those who have really considered how disabled customers shop online.

Disabled customers have a spending power of £212 billion annually.

You have the opportunity to:

  • Know more about deaf customers than anyone else
  • Get closer to your customer than anyone else
  • Emotionally connect with your customers better than anyone else


So, is your online journey costing you deaf and disabled customers?


Here we share 10 ways to improve your online experience:


1. Know your customer:

Before you even start, do you have a suitable deaf customer avatar?  Get a clear idea of your deaf customer.  This will allow you to look at any new products, services or systems alongside this avatar to check for conflicts.  It will also allow you to articulate the world in a way that a deaf customer sees it.


2. Review your ‘access’ or ‘accessibility’ page.

It is useful to have one page that collates all of the information.  But it is also important to remember that deaf customers will browse your products and services just like you or I would.  So check that you have all of the relevant information on that page and filter some information throughout your website.


3. Check your search terms

Here are the search terms that we would recommend you feature throughout your website:

  • deaf
  • hard of hearing
  • hearing loss
  • hearing impaired
  • BSL
  • British sign language
  • Sign language

These are the terms that your deaf customers will be searching under.   These are terms to be used on your access page and throughout the site content.  Conduct searches on your website using the same terms above and see how much relevant information you can find.


4. Review your contact options

It is important you provide a range of contact options to make it easier for deaf customers to get in touch,

A selection of these options are:

BT Relay
Email contact
Live chat
VRS options

Click here to download our July 2019 newsletter, which has an article featuring: VRS or Live Chat


5. Improve drop off

Carefully consider where in the online journey you can add in contact options to reduce drop-off.  This will help deaf customers in areas of your site where you are asking customers to call.


6. Review Apps

Conduct an Accessibility review on any apps that your brand has for online shopping.  Users shopping via apps are ever-increasing, but functional accessibility is not always considered.


7. Clean pages

The most commonly cited issue in the Click-Away Pound report was websites having crowded pages with too much content.  Treat each page individually and aim only to communicate what is necessary.


8. Caption your videos

This seems like an obvious one, but you will be surprised how many videos rely on YouTube closed captions – which creates a lot of mistakes in the captioning.

Take a look at our July 2019 article Why Subtitling is a must


9. Use Plain English

Using jargon and technical language can kill customer experience.  Pare down on excessive use of terminology and aim more for how you are making your customer feel.


10. Structure your content

It is much easier for our brain to digest information when it has been laid out in a structure.  Use headings, bullet points and lists to break up the text and make it really easy for the reader to understand what you are saying.


Want more help?

Click here to book a call to find out how your website stacks up!