Why is accessibility important?
Today, by the power of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), every business website has to be accessible to people with disabilities. The Law prohibits discrimination based on disability by places of “public accommodation”, meaning websites or brick and mortar facilities.
What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility is a set of rules, behaviors, code standards, and design guidelines that ensure people with disabilities, who comprise 20% of the world’s population, can use websites effectively.
To achieve this, the W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium) has created the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1), for direction on how to make websites accessible. These guidelines have been adopted by governments around the world and have been incorporated into various legislations such as the ADA, Section 508, and EN 301549.
The WCAG focuses chiefly on three areas of accessibility: 1) blind people using screen readers (e.g. JAWS, NVDA). 2) people with motor impairments who only use keyboards, and 3) a variety of other disabilities, including color blindness, epilepsy, and minor visual impairments that mostly concern the Ul and design of the website (color contrasts, animations, fonts, etc.)
ADA Title III
Some Articles of Interest
How does accessWidget achieve compliance?
accessWidget’s interface is a session-based design and UI adjustment tool that makes accessibility modifications based on a user’s individual needs. All adjustments are compliant with WCAG 2.1 AA requirements.
accessWidget’s AI machine learning technology uses contextual understanding and computer vision to address the complex, back-end requirements needed for screen reader and keyboard navigation adjustments.
After the initial remediation, you’ll receive an accessibility statement, also visible within the interface, that confirms your website’s compliance status to all site visitors.
Here’s an example of an accessibility statement:
Here are some of our interface’s capabilities:
The accessibility interface
Users can select various color contrast profiles such as light, dark, inverted, and monochrome. Additionally, users can swap color schemes of titles, texts, and backgrounds, with over 7 different colors.
Users with epilepsy can stop all running animations at the click of a button. This includes videos, GIFs and CSS flashing transitions.
Users can increase and decrease font size, change type, adjust spacing, alignment, line height, and more.
Users can emphasize important elements, such as links and titles. They can also highlight particular focused or hovered elements.
Users with hearing devices may experience headaches or other issues due to automatic audio playing. This option allows users to mute the entire website instantly.
We utilize a search engine that is linked to Wikipedia and Wiktionary, allowing people with cognitive disorders to decipher meanings of phrases, initials, and slang on the spot.
Users can change the cursor’s color and sizing, view in printing mode, enable a virtual keyboard, and much more.
The AI application
accessWidget’s AI is responsible for handling the more complex accessibility adjustments such as screen-reader optimization and keyboard navigation. Prior to accessWidget, these could only be achieved manually, with long, complex, and costly projects.
accessWidget’s AI applies the contextual understanding processes while analyzing a site. It visually matches elements and behaviors to millions of past encounters, to learn from context what elements actually do and their purpose on the page. Then all the necessary code adjustments are implemented in order to reflect to blind people using screen readers exactly what’s on the screen and the purpose of every element, exactly as it was intended originally.
For example, accessWidget automatically and accurately labels forms and adds descriptions for actionable icons, such as social media. Additionally, our AI scans all of the website’s images and provides an accurate, elaborate image descriptions, or ALT (Alternate Text) tag. It also extracts texts that are embedded within the image, using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology.
Note that accessWidget will not override your ALT tags, titles, or any other manual accessibility work that has been done. We take into consideration that if you’ve made adjustments yourself, it’s probably for a reason. Screen reader users in need of these adjustments receive automatic announcements to turn on these adjustments as soon as they enter your website.
Keyboard navigation optimization
accessWidget’s Contextual Understanding AI engine matches the behavior, style, and structure of your website’s elements to millions of past experiences, to learn their functionality and provide keyboard navigation and operational functionality to each of them.
This includes navigating the entire site using the TAB and SHIFT+TAB keys, operating dropdowns with the arrow keys, closing elements with Esc, triggering buttons and links using Enter, navigating between radio and checkbox elements using the arrow keys, filling them in with the Spacebar or Enter key, navigate using key shortcuts, and more.
accessWidget’s automated service has only a few exceptions with is remediation of PDFs, documents, and multimedia (video/audio subtitles), as they are not a part of your codebase.
Lastly, if your website has an element that is unique and does not exist almost anywhere else, such as a quiz, game, ticketing section, map, or any other rare component, accessWidget may not be able to fix it. AI and machine learning technologies depend on a high amount of encounters and data to be accurate.
accessWidget will not change a thing for the majority of users. It will only be activated when turned on via the interface (or by a screen-reader if the user is blind), and only for the user’s specific session.
Therefore, accessWidget won’t affect your design, UI, or performance at all. The entire process is automated, from remediation to becoming compliant. Additionally, we don’t collect user data, so we don’t affect your GDPR compliance.
Browser, OS, and Assistive Technologies Compatibility: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera, Microsoft Edge, and IE 11 or above, JAWS and NVDA (screen-readers), both for Windows and MAC users.