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An online shop must be easily accessible for all users. This also means that it should be easy to use for people with visual impairments or blindness. An important aspect of this is screen readers, which enable the content of a website to be read aloud for blind or visually impaired people. But implementing this technology is a challenge for online shop operators.

What are screen readers and how do they work?

Screen readers are programmes that read out the content of a website. They use the structure of the page to arrange and read out the content in a meaningful way. This includes, for example, headings, lists and buttons. Screen readers can be used either as software on a computer or as an app on mobile devices.

Technical challenges in implementing screen readers

An important prerequisite for the use of screen readers is a well-structured website. However, especially with online shops, it can be difficult to organise all content in a meaningful way and to provide it with the appropriate HTML tags.

The use of JavaScript and other dynamic technologies can also cause problems. If a screen reader is not able to recognise the dynamic content, it will not be read aloud.

How online shop operators can support screen readers

Online shop operators can support the use of screen readers by structuring their website well and minimising the use of dynamic technologies. It is also good practice to provide alternative text for images and other media so that screen readers can also read this content aloud.

There are also special tools and services that can help online shop owners make their website accessible to screen readers.

Summary

In summary, online shop operators need to consider the use of screen readers to make their websites accessible to all users, especially visually impaired users. This can be a technical challenge, but it is important for the business to provide equal access to all customers and clients. By providing a well-structured website, minimising the use of dynamic technologies and providing alternative text for images, online shop operators can make their website more accessible to screen reader users.