Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice. As with any legal requirement or compliance issue, the Out of the Sandbox terms and conditions do not guarantee that any theme is compatible or compliant with any legal or regulatory requirements or guidelines.
Shopify has announced significant efforts to improve accessibility issues surrounding the Shopify platform, themes, apps and other aspects of the ecosystem.
As of this writing, Shopify has announced plans to move toward Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 compliance in 2021, however, this is subject to change.
At this time, Out of the Sandbox themes are not guaranteed to be fully compatible with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) or W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) regulations or standards.
However, some features of Out of the Sandbox themes, such as microformats, miscellaneous markup and image alt tags may improve your compliance with some or all of these regulations or standards.
At this time, we plan on making all Out of the Sandbox themes updated to comply with WCAG 2.0 when further directives and requirements are released and subject to the timeline and deadlines provided by Shopify.
Please note, however, that even once WCAG 2.0 is implemented on the Shopify platform in 2021, these requirements may not fully meet the requirements in certain jurisdictions or industries and it is the responsibility of each store owner to ensure full compliance.
It's also important to note that, as with with any legal requirement such as the recent GDPR regulations, that just because theme code or a platform becomes compliant, there may be additional steps that the store owner needs to take to be fully compliant (or, on the flip side, there may be actions that the store owner takes that impacts compliance or compatibility negatively).
There are numerous settings and content that you, as the store owner, develop independently of the theme that can cause your store to become non-compliant.
Beware of legal threats
There is a growing trend of predatory legal professionals targeting small business owners, such as Shopify stores owners, and filing lawsuits or threatening legal action against them due to lack of accessibility features.
If you are served with such a complaint or lawsuit, it is important to immediately consult a licensed legal professional in your jurisdiction for next steps. However, you should carefully consider who you hire and ensure that they do not engage in predatory practices that require you to pay them high legal bills for their advice or legal expertise.
Out of the Sandbox cannot provide legal advice for these situations and, as outlined in our terms and conditions, our themes are not guaranteed to be compatible with any law or regulation, and may require customization or changes based on the advice of your attorney.