accessiBe has recently launched a pioneering web accessibility tool powered by artificial intelligence (AI). The solution simplifies the way companies and site owners can make their content accessible to users with disabilities by using AI to automatically apply accessibility standards to their websites.
“For the first time in history, an accessible internet is not a distant dream but an actual achievable reality. With the utilization of AI, we streamlined the complex and costly process of making websites accessible and made it automatic, simple and affordable to any business.”
The AI solution scans and analyzes the website and, within 48 hours, applies the necessary modifications so that the site transmits compliant and accessible content to the end users. The AI also re-scans for new and revised content daily which benefits sites that feature dynamic or fast-changing content.
After two years of development, accessiBe was eventually launched in 2018 in Israel where it went through successful pilot efforts. The company signed over 2,000 paying customers while providing the solution for free to over 300 non-profits. Among its clients are the Israeli licensees of leading brands like Burger King, Volvo, Deloitte, HStern, and others.
A 2016 Pew Research identified that disabled users are also less likely to access the internet daily compared (50 percent) to those without disabilities (79 percent). This gap has largely been due to the lack of support by existing websites for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The WCAG outlines the best practices that would allow people with disabilities to consume web content, by ensuring that assistive devices will be able to process and interpret information properly.
But despite increasing regulations such as the passage of the American and Disabilities Act (ADA) requiring site owners to apply these standards, many organizations remain non-compliant. Those that continue to overlook accessibility now actually expose themselves to potential litigation.
In 2018, over 2,250 ADA web accessibility lawsuits were filed in federal courts against organizations that failed to provide web accessibility, a rise of over 170 percent from 2017. Beyond this spike in lawsuit volume, a commensurate lift in claims settled out of court has also been taking place, in the wake of tens of thousands of claims made via demand letters.
For companies, such suits can cost them not only in legal expenses but also in fines and penalties should they be found guilty. Even being subject to such suits can bring companies to disrepute.
To prevent these, most site administrators either use accessibility plugins or commit to a manual accessibility remediation effort. Unfortunately, the former only addresses up to 15 percent of WCAG’s requirements and the latter is often expensive and can take weeks and thousands of dollars to perform. When relying on manual solutions that do not incorporate automation within the website’s infrastructure, compliance assurance cannot be held for changes taking place after the accessibility project, making the case for site administrators all the more difficult.
accessiBe co-founder and CEO Shir Ekerling said, “For the first time in history, an accessible internet is not a distant dream but an actual achievable reality. With the utilization of AI, we streamlined the complex and costly process of making websites accessible and made it automatic, simple and affordable to any business.”
accessiBe founders started working on the project in 2016 when laws and legislations that mandated the promotion of web accessibility started to spread. Starting 2019, the company has expanded its reach in the US and other countries following insistent customer demand.