Salesforce B2B Commerce Accessibility Amid COVID-19

COVID-19 is challenging many areas of B2B Commerce, from disruptions in supply chains, surges in orders, to changes in customer behavior. One key component that isn’t always front-of-mind is B2B Commerce web accessibility to accommodate people with disabilities.
In this digital age where many services are only offered online, there is an unmistakable responsibility to comply with the latest ADA requirements when designing and maintaining a B2B Commerce website. That’s why Salesforce has stepped up by making their products accessible. But simply leveraging Salesforce components and technology doesn’t mean your B2B Commerce site is accessible or ADA compliant.

ADA Requires Prompt Action

Chances are many of your clients, partners, and employees have unique mobility, cognition, hearing, or visual needs – in America, 1 in 4, as reported by the CDC. These users may require accommodations such as screen reader compatibility, enlargeable text, enhanced color contrast, or language simplicity.
The U.S. Department of Justice regulates laws and design standards for businesses via the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to protect people’s rights to access services. Courts are recognizing online services as “public accommodations,” and businesses are legally responsible for ensuring people with disabilities can fully use their site; Especially when there is no alternative means available.

Salesforce’s Approach

Salesforce follows best practices and provides several resources on accessibility. Trailhead users can complete a Web Accessibility Trail to learn accessibility basics and how to mindfully configure Salesforce. Compliance documentation is also available for core products. While Salesforce Classic is no longer maintained for accessibility, Lightning Experience provides a “foundation” for accessible development through its components.
Salesforce’s guidance stems from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which offers principles for creating accessible websites. Developers, content creators, and designers look to the technical checklist outlined in WCAG to make information “perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.”

Your B2B Commerce Site’s Compliance

Salesforce provides accessible tools as a starting point, but responsibility still lies with the business to maintain accessibility through customizations. Even seemingly minor customizations (such as adding an image) require attention to accessibility standards.
For example, Lightning Experience supports alternative text for images (used by screen readers), but you will still need to add text and ensure its usefulness. Lightning components are built to not rely solely on color for communication, but color contrast and component interaction still need to be evaluated for accessibility. Forms come prepared with the necessary tags and labeling semantics, but you still have to make sure they are visibly labeled and can be navigated with a keyboard and screen reader.
It’s not uncommon for businesses that neglect accessibility standards to find themselves in lawsuits. The best course of action is to take the initiative and review your existing digital storefront offerings. If you’re in the planning stages of a new B2B Commerce site, start with an informed design to alleviate the burden from your audience and spare yourself a potentially urgent overhaul in the future.
COVID-19 is driving a surge of B2B Commerce customers, increasing the urgency for ADA compliance to accommodate people with disabilities. Leveraging Salesforce is a good move, but only pays off when implemented correctly. ForeFront has been assisting global manufacturers, education, and med device providers in their efforts. Our Team, experienced in recommending necessary WCAG improvements, is prepared to help review and assess compliance of your Salesforce B2B Commerce site.
Ready to get your B2B Commerce site a step ahead in Accessibility?