Six Ways to make an online store for Autistic Brain
Creating an online store that is accessible and accommodating to the autistic brain can be a challenging task, but it’s also a rewarding one. By prioritizing the needs of the autistic community, you can create a shopping experience that is not only more inclusive and accessible but also more profitable.
As we celebrate Autism Month, it’s essential to acknowledge that autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting millions worldwide. It is estimated by the World Health Organization that worldwide about 1 in 100 children has autism. Autism can impact an individual’s ability to communicate, socialize, and sensory process information, making everyday tasks challenging. Online shopping, which has become increasingly prevalent over the past decade, can be particularly difficult for people with autism.
The overwhelming visual and auditory stimuli, the complicated checkout process, and the lack of products that cater to their unique needs can all be significant barriers for autistic individuals when shopping online. To address these challenges, it’s essential to create an online store that caters to the unique needs of the autistic brain. By doing so, you can not only provide a more accessible and inclusive shopping experience for people with autism, but you can also tap into an underserved market that mainstream retailers often overlook. Here are six ways to make an online store tailored to the autistic brain.
Avoid Sensory Overload
One of the challenges for people with autism is sensory overload. Therefore, creating an online store that avoids sensory overload is crucial.
Loud noises, bright lights, and overwhelming visual stimuli can all cause sensory overload, leading to anxiety, frustration, and a desire to avoid certain situations altogether. It’s also important to consider how sound can impact the shopping experience. For example, loud or sudden noises can be jarring for individuals with autism, so it’s crucial to avoid using sound effects or background music that could be distracting or overwhelming.
Therefore, when designing an online store for the autistic brain, it’s crucial to consider ways to minimize sensory overload and create a calming shopping environment.
Straightforward Website layout
A straightforward website layout is one of the most effective ways to minimize sensory overload. Avoid using overly complex designs, flashing animations, or cluttered pages that can be overwhelming for some individuals with autism. Instead, use a clean, straightforward plan with plenty of white space and a clear visual hierarchy. This can help reduce visual clutter and make it easier for autistic brains to navigate the website.
Using larger and bolder fonts for headlines and using smaller fonts for body text. Additionally, using headings and subheadings to break up content can help create a sense of organization, make it easier for users to find what they are looking for and create a straightforward website layout.
Use Simple and Gender Neutral Colors
Another effective way to minimize sensory overload is to use simple and gender neutral colors throughout the website. Bright and loud colors can be overwhelming for some individuals with autism, so using calming and muted colors can create a more soothing shopping experience. Use consistent color schemes and fonts throughout the website to provide a sense of familiarity and continuity.
When using color, it’s also essential to consider how color combinations and contrasts can impact the shopping experience. For example, high-contrast color combinations can be overwhelming for some autistic brains, while low-contrast combinations may be difficult to distinguish. Therefore, it’s essential to use similar contrast levels and avoid combining bright or bold colors that could be visually jarring.
Provide Relevant Autism Products
As an online store catering to the autistic brain, providing autism products that cater to their unique needs is essential. This can include sensory-friendly items such as weighted blankets, fidget toys, and noise-canceling headphones. Additionally, consider providing autism products that promote positive sensory experiences with muted colors, such as aromatherapy diffusers and calming music.
In addition to sensory-friendly products, consider featuring products from famous autistic people. This not only provides autistic people with a sense of representation but also helps to promote and support the autistic community.
Clear Digital Communication
Digital communication should be on point when catering to the autistic brain. Using clear, concise language that avoids metaphors and colloquialisms is essential. For individuals with autism, language can be a significant barrier, and complicated or vague language can cause confusion and frustration. Avoid using complex sentences, as these can be difficult to understand for people with language processing difficulties. Avoid using overly complex words or technical jargon that could be difficult for people with autism to understand. Instead, opt for simple, concise language that conveys the necessary information clearly and effectively.
Ensure that all product descriptions are easy to read and accurate. People with autism often rely on providing clear product descriptions which helps them feel more comfortable with their purchases.
It’s also vital to use visual aids to supplement written communication. For example, using images or videos to demonstrate how a product works or how to navigate the website can be extremely helpful for individuals with autism. Additionally, using icons or symbols to convey critical information can help reduce confusion and provide clear digital communication.
Provide a Seamless and Fast Checkout Process
Creating a seamless and fast checkout experience is essential to minimize stress and anxiety. People with autism may have difficulty with executive function, which can overwhelm the checkout process.
Complicated forms or confusing instructions can cause anxiety and frustration for autistic brain, so keeping the checkout process as simple and straightforward as possible is essential. Providing clear and concise instructions, using a progress bar or visual indicator, and minimizing the number of steps required help improve the overall shopping experience for individuals with autism.
You can also provide a progress bar or clear step-by-step instructions to guide the user through the checkout process. Additionally, allow users to save their information for future purchases to avoid the need for repetitive data entry.
Famous Autistic People
Many famous autistic people have contributed to various fields. For example, Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science and an advocate for the autistic community, has revolutionized the livestock industry with her designs for more humane animal handling facilities. Another well-known autistic individual is an artist and author, Stephen Wiltshire, who has an exceptional photographic memory and is known for his detailed and accurate cityscapes. Other famous autistic individuals include software developer and entrepreneur Satoshi Tajiri, creator of the popular video game franchise Pokémon, and musician Susan Boyle, whose performance on “Britain’s Got Talent” went viral and launched her career. These famous autistic people and many others have helped to challenge stereotypes and highlight the unique strengths and talents of the autistic brain.
In conclusion, every individual with autism has unique needs and preferences, and what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, it’s crucial to continually seek feedback and make improvements to the online store based on the needs and experiences of the autistic community.
Consider making a blog or forum where people can share their experiences and recommendations. This can also be a good way to provide additional resources and support for people with autism and their families.
Creating an online store tailored to the autistic brain requires a combination of empathy, creativity, and careful consideration. However, by following the six strategies outlined by Tekglide in this article, you can create an online store with muted colors that not only caters to the unique needs of the autistic community but also provides a more inclusive and accessible shopping experience for all this Autism month.