attention web accessibility users

Buyer Beware of Fully Automated Digital Accessibility Software

Mar 12, 2020 2:10:00 PM

By Tom Arnold, Director of Product Management 

2020 looks to be a record setting year for digital accessibility lawsuits based upon the number of cases alone filed in January and February.  And if your company uses 100% automated or vendor-proclaimed artificial intelligence (AI) accessibility software, you are NOT protected.  Indeed, a number of the current lawsuits are against companies that implemented an automated accessibility solution. 

 By way of background, there are an increasing number of federal and state laws and court cases that require a company’s customer-facing websites, mobile applications, and other digital assets to be accessible to individuals with disabilities (including visual, hearing, and cognitive impairments).  Compliance in this legal environment means developing and modifying website elements and content in a manner that can be used and understood by such individuals (e.g., alt-text explanations for images, closed-captioning for video/audio files, appropriate color contrasting for font and background). 

Many accessibility technology vendors make promises of fast, easy, and fully automated accessibility solutions.  These vendors promise, for example, that within 48 hours your website can be “fully compliant” without any work by your team, without adapting or changing the source code of your customer-facing digital assets, with no manual testing efforts on their part, and with a cost that’s not even a blemish to your budget.  Sounds too good to be true, right?  In many cases it is.   

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Written by Raegan Bartlo