Over the last 20+ years, web pages and their e-commerce capabilities have experienced a massive evolution. Since the origins of IBVIsupply.com and its e-commerce functions, our team has gone above and beyond to create a highly functioning website that has always been ADA compliant and accessible to our blind and visually impaired employees.
Let’s look back at how our innovative and inclusively designed website has served as a model for others like it over the years and how we plan to enhance it in 2024 and beyond.
A history of inclusion and compliance
What a lot of people might not know about our current president and CEO, CJ Lange, is that he was first hired at IBVI as an E-Commerce Manager. When he started back in 2000, he was immediately thrust into a project that would continue to evolve over the next 7 years and beyond; and he quickly discovered that there would be no “model” or “template” to reference throughout the process.
“I was tasked with not only creating a functioning website that included e-commerce capabilities, but also creating a site that would be accessible to people who are blind. At the time I thought ‘there must be other sites out there trying to do that too’, but we couldn’t find any, so we were basically on our own.”
Lange recalled the uniquely thorough processes of building each webpage to function properly on the backend, and then redeveloping each landing page with someone who knew screen reading tools (like JAWS) and could confirm that each page was accessible for blind or visually impaired users.
“There were a couple of other sites out there that were accessible to blind or visually impaired users, but the sites were very old and slow, making our highly functioning www.basesupply.com one of the first of its kind for functionality and accessibility. From there we continued to add more intuitive functions like quick order forms and related products, which were hugely innovative e-commerce features back in the early aughts.”
Lange also stressed that one of the biggest factors for www.basesupply.com’s early success was due in large part to the site’s government compliance for credit card spending. By making it clear and simple that all purchases on the IBVI website were government compliant, the website hit $1million in sales by 2003 and continued to grow from there.
Shifting focus to user security
From roughly 2003-2013 www.basesupply.com served as one of the highest functioning models of a government compliant ecommerce store that was also accessible to blind and visually impaired users. For some time, IBVI was also helping other agencies build their websites to function in a similar fashion.
It was around 2013, when IBVI became more heavily involved in custom kitting, that the company realized we needed a more robust, organized, and integrated system to keep track of everything, while also preventing the manual manipulation of information and web pages for our users’ security. From this point, the company shifted the focus of our web developments to enhancing our site’s safety, IT, and information security.
“The functionality of IBVIsupply.com has been continuously evolving since its inception, and after forging our own path founded on compliance and accessibility, we now find ourselves competing with similar sites whose technologies have caught up to ours, and against monster sites like Amazon,” said Lange. “In order to best service our customers and reestablish ourselves as the one of the leading ADA compliant suppliers, we hired our new e-commerce director, Jason Radliff, who’s already made incredible strides in just 6 months.”
The future of IBVI Supply
IBVI sees a bright future for the evolution of IBVIsupply.com, thanks to Radliff. With many years of experience advancing Walmart’s online sales and website functionality, he has already kick-started enhancements to IBVIsupply.com and has an abundance of ideas to improve the site in the future.
“Thanks to our improved order communication and search capabilities, paired with an overall improved look and feel, and new categories to complement the already large assortment, we are confident customers can shop IBVIsupply.com with ease and convenience while finding most, if not all of what they want or need,” said Radliff.
With strong new expertise coming from Radliff, Lange is thrilled to chase down new opportunities and launch a new chapter of IBVI’s e-commerce capabilities.
“We’ve spent the last few years getting our systems back up to speed and there’s a lot of opportunities to pursue in the near future. By expanding our online offerings and functionalities, we’re looking forward to going after new (commercial) business and winning back old customers too.”
Browse through our ever evolving e-commerce platform and find the products that your business, workplace, or agency needs at IBVISupply.com.