Accessibility and creating websites that are accessible to everyone are often overlooked by most. While the subject is gaining more and more popularity in recent years, due to a significant increase in web-based ADA lawsuits, it is still far from being a widely implemented practice. But why is that?
One reason is that making websites accessible is not easy and traditionally costs a lot. Since most business owners rely on template-based websites that aren’t built with accessibility in mind, making their websites accessible is far from their #1 priority. But today, the market has evolved, and there is an affordable AI-based solution in the market: accessiBe.
accessiBe is an automated, AI-driven web accessibility solution for ADA & WCAG compliance, and in this review, we’ll see if accessiBe is a good solution for making websites accessible or not.
Why Make Websites Accessible?
One primary reason is that accessibility makes it possible for every user to use your website without any issue. As a business that respects its customers, making sites accessible should be part of your ethics. In addition, since people with disabilities make up more than 20% of the population, their buying power is $8 trillion. This is a significant market for every business owner.
Another reason to make websites accessible is the ADA guidelines. If your business does not comply with the ADA guidelines, you can get slapped with an expensive lawsuit. In fact, ADA lawsuits for websites have increased by 300% since 2017.
A few years back, the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group released the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. It contains a long list of recommendations and suggestions to make the different elements on your website PWD-friendly.
But as I mentioned above, it is easier said than done. It requires significant code changes and website overhaul to meet the requirements of the guidelines. For this, you’ll need to hire a WordPress developer, and on top of that, they should know WCAG 2.1 and ADA guidelines and be good at coding and implementing them. While there are professionals out there who specialize in this niche, they aren’t cheap, and the process of code overhaul can take weeks or even months.
Meeting these requirements for small businesses and organizations is almost impossible. Still, even if they decide to forego this, they’ll be at the risk of getting slapped with a hefty lawsuit.
This is where accessiBe comes in.
accessiBe: Making Accessibility Achievable for all Websites With AI-Based Tech
AI implementation to improve day-to-day activities is already fascinating. The AI tech can make websites accessible to disabled users, making things more interesting, and accessiBe has done it.
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accessiBe comes with an automated mechanism that scans, records, and tweaks/optimizes the content and elements of the website so that it complies with the WCAG 2.1 and ADA guidelines.
accessiBe combines two applications to achieve a high-quality level of compliance.
Foreground Interface: Every website optimized with accessiBe comes with an interactive menu interface that enables the visitors to customize and adjust the design elements to make the website accessible based on their needs.
Background Framework: This is where the heavy lifting is done. The code running in the background works on optimizing the website with functioning tools like the screen reader, navigation keyboard, etc.
Is Your Website ADA & WCAG Compliant?
If you are not sure if your website is ADA & WCAG compliant, you can test it by simply entering the Domain URL in accessiBe’s accessibility compliance testing tool.
You just need to enter the website address, and you’ll get results in a few seconds. You can see how well your website is doing and what is not done well to make your website compliant.
I’d highly recommend giving this tool (aCe) a test run for your website: Test your website.
Installing and Using accessiBe for WordPress Websites
Once you’ve installed the plugin, accessiBe’s accessibility icon will show up on your website’s front end. This is the icon your visitors will be using to adjust the front end of the website.
It can take around 48 for the algorithm to skim and optimize your website. Once the scan is complete, the script will run automatically once every 24 hours to check compliance for new elements and content.
accessiBe is loaded with a bunch of features like automated accessibility compliance and integrations. Let’s take a look at its most prominent features.
Every accessiBe enabled website has an accessibility icon at the front. You can visit any of the websites showcased on their platform to give this interface a try. You can click on the accessibility icon at the lower right corner to open the accessibility interface.
The interface comes with quick toggle switches that enable all the settings related to a specific disability. For example, people who often experience seizures can toggle on the switch, make all the elements safe, and eliminate the risk of seizures from flashing or blinking animations and striking color combinations.
Other than setting the options based on the disability, users can make adjustments to elements individually. Here are some of the things your visitors can do:
- Content Adjustments: Visitors can change the font size, style, type, spacing alignment from simple options. Moreover, users can use the magnifier or scale the content or highlight the links for better readability.
- Color Adjustments: Colors of almost every element can be customized like text, title, and background. More adjustments can be made, such as dark contrast, light contrast, monochrome, or low/high saturation.
- Orientation Adjustment: In this section, users can hide images, mute all sounds, stop animations, including GIFs, among other things. Users can also use the reading guide or highlight focus for better reading assistance for visually impaired viewers.
accessiBe’s backend features like the screen readers and keyboard navigation sets it apart from other ‘accessibility’ plugins out there. Prior to accessiBe, these could only be achieved by manual implementation but it is possible to have this functionality automatically.
Even for images, accessiBe uses smart image recognition using IRIS for images with no alt tags to provide an accurate description of these images. If a blind user enters a site, the screen readers will use the Image recognition-based results to provide accurate information.
You don’t get this compliance protection just once, rather it is done on a daily basis to keep up with new content being added to the website. The AI takes care of the popups, links, menus, icons, images, dropdowns, buttons, and even forms to make the website more accessible.
If you aren’t sold on the features of accessiBe, the pricing will do it. For the value it provides, accessiBe comes at a pretty good price. If you wish to give accessiBe a try, you get 4 pricing options depending on the size of the website.
- The standard plan (for websites under 1000 unique pages) costs $49/month.
- Large plan (for websites under 10,000 unique pages) costs $149/month.
- Huge plan (for websites under 100,000 unique pages) costs $199/month.
- Jumbo plan (for websites under 1,000,000 unique pages) costs $349 per month.
If you think the prices are quite high, try googling manual WCAG 2.1 and ADA compliance charges from professionals. I am sure these prices won’t look that expensive then. Not to mention if you choose to go with the annual plan, you get a flat 20% discount.
If you are still not sure if you are ready to pay right away, you can sign up for the 7-day free trial.
accessiBe: Final Thoughts
As a website owner, it is your legal responsibility to ensure you have proper ADA & WCAG compliance in place. While the traditional way of implementation was way more expensive than for small and medium-sized businesses, accessiBe has a powerful and reliable solution that makes it easier and faster to comply with the guidelines and make your website accessible for even disabled users.
The fact that is being used by more than 100,000 customers including Abbott, The Next Web, Belkin, and even Jimmy Choo tells a lot about the product. So, to summarize, if you are looking for a solution for making your WordPress website accessible, accessiBe is the solution you should be checking out.
Let me know what you think of accessiBe in the comments below. Have you used any other service to make your website more accessible? Tell us about your experience and your recommendations!