About Web Accessibility
Web accessibility is essentially a set of rules, behaviors, code standards, and design guidelines that were created by the W3C and are called the WCAG 2.1.
The WCAG 2.1 is a massive 1,000-page guidebook that encapsulates a range of disabilities that go from hindering internet use to making internet use impossible without adjustments. This spectrum actually comprises 20-25% of the general population depending on if we’re going with the CDC or WHO.
There are many disabilities covered, and the primary categories that require attention are:
- blind people using screen-readers,
- the motor-impaired using only the keyboard to navigate,
- epilepsy, color blindness,
- cognitive and learning disabilities,
- visual impairments, and more.
The WCAG 2.1 at the AA level has been adopted as the global standard for web accessibility acting as the benchmark in legislation such as the ADA title 3, Section 508, AODA, EN 301549, and many others.
About the Legislation
I wish I could tell you that the exponential increase in demand for web accessibility has been a result of everyone coming to understand that business owners and people with disabilities have so much to mutually gain from this endeavor.
Frankly, ADA compliance lawsuits are on nothing short of an intense rise. 200% year over year, with reports of 10’s of thousands of demand letters and lawsuits, targeting businesses of all sizes. At first, only the largest of enterprises and government institutions were legally pressured to become accessible, which makes sense. One of the most significant shifts in the legal climate was when the DOJ in the end of 2018 officially affirmed that all websites are considered public accommodations and therefore must comply with Title 3 of the ADA. Many did not think for a second that it will ever happen to them, but that was not the case at all.
In fact, 2019 ended up tripling 2018 in the number of papers served. This means that for every business hour in 2019, a business was served for not being web-accessible. You will also find that in almost every situation, the plaintiff wins the case on its merits because it’s a strict liability law and judges are often understandably sympathetic to people with disabilities who really only want equal rights. There is virtually no chance of winning an ADA case when you’re not compliant. The lawyers simply advise their clients to write a check since there is no point in fighting it.
A quick example of what’s going on as well: A visually impaired woman from Broward County, Florida sued 175 business owners several of which closed down as a result.
Now in the Covid era, we’re seeing those in quarantine have less access to physical locations and amenities, and they are finding more difficulty in accessing the web for essential services.
What makes the situation even more difficult for business owners are the current alternatives.
The current options in the market today are either free or low-cost plugins that do not provide you more than 10-15% of the accessibility you need in order to become compliant.
You also have manual accessibility services that do bring you up to full compliance, but they cost thousands of dollars per site, they take several weeks or months to implement, and the worst part is the tedious and costly maintenance. Imagine spending all of that time and money and coming to understand that every time you want to make a change or revision to your site, you have to either spend 1000s of dollars or sacrifice a significant amount of the accessibility that you worked so hard to attain.
Those options, as you can imagine, leave 99% of businesses without a feasible solution, making them easy targets for lawsuits and prevents them from helping people with disabilities.
To solve this impossible situation, we are now offering this incredible AI accessibility solution.
The accessibility tool is an AI-powered machine-learning software that was developed with the understanding that successfully automating the process creates a simple, immediate, affordable, and compliant solution that serves as a win-win for the business owner and people with disabilities, who just want equal access to the internet.
Taking into consideration our pricing model, which is a fraction of the cost of manual remediation, our solution is not only a no-brainer in comparison to the other alternatives in the market. It actually makes being accessible and compliant a no-brainer in general for the majority of businesses that otherwise wouldn’t have a reasonable solution.
This solution runs side by side with leading experts in accessibility and assistive technologies in order to ensure the highest success rate in the industry with respect to going above and beyond the standards for compliance.
It is important to note that one of the legal requirements of being ADA compliant is to have an accessibility statement that highlights your website’s accessibility. This document on the right is our accessibility statement which also acts as a certificate of performance. It explains all the adjustments the solution has made to the website, browser, and assistive technology compatibility and describes how to report feedback.
The statement will be personalized to the name of your domain and dated. It will be available to all users within the interface and sent to you via email, within 48 hours from the installation once the AI completes its process.
Monthly accessibility compliance audits.
The statement will be reinforced with monthly accessibility compliance audits, which can be downloaded and shared as proof of ongoing compliance efforts. I like to think of it as a track record of your website’s compliance.
From our experience, business owners have found that the best part of becoming compliant with us is definitely the super simple process.:
- [Installation] First, we integrate with your website or CMS platform.
- [Interface] Then, your website displays the accessibility interface.
- [AI Process] simultaneously, the AI kicks in, and in up to 48 hours, it is finished, and the website is accessible and compliant. This is also when you receive the accessibility statement in your email.
- [Maintenance] the biggest advantage is automatic maintenance. The AI re-scans the website every 24 hours, making sure that any changes or additions are also being remediated.
OK, so let’s dive into the features:
We achieve compliance by leveraging two components.
The first is our accessibility interface that is responsible for handling the UI, design and cognitive-related adjustments.
This interface is structured by disability profiles and enhancement features. That way, users with different disabilities can simply select the profile that best suits their needs. Among these profiles, you’ll find; an epilepsy safe profile, a visually impaired profile, a cognitive disability profile, ADHD-friendly profile.
This interface is also fully customizable and can be fitted to your website’s brand and design.
The second is our AI, machine learning-powered process, that handles keyboard navigation adjustments for the motor-impaired and blind people’s screen-readers.
A screen-reader is software used by blind people to operate computers and websites and it’s installed on the operating system. It basically reads aloud the content focused on the screen, and it also helps with navigation and orientation aspects. Adjustments to those screen-readers are what the legislation requires.
The AI handles all on-site aspects using a “Contextual Understanding” AI technology that is responsible for remediating menus, drop-downs, pop-ups, forms, icons, buttons, and all other elements by applying the appropriate screen-reader text and website behaviors.
To automatically provide accurate alternative texts for images, also known as alt tags, our solution utilizes IRIS and OCR technologies to scan and learn the objects as well as the text that is embedded within the image.
By the way, everything I mentioned is fully supported in 14 different languages.