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AudioEye - What is Digital Accessibility?

Wed Jul 12, 2017

As an extension of our commitment to providing a robust platform and options to help ensure your sites and content remain digitally accessible as they grow, Percussion Software has partnered with AudioEye, Inc., a leader in the digital accessibility space. In light of recent legal rulings, several questions have been coming up more and more often so we invited AudioEye CEO, Todd Bankofier to address the most common questions … in layman’s terms.

What is digital accessibility?

Digital accessibility refers to the creation of digital content that is accessible to the millions of individuals that have some level of disability or impairment that prevents them from fully accessing digital content; meaning, they can’t simply visit a website and fully leverage all of the information and or services being provided. As much as 15% of the population does not have equal access to most websites.

When not coded properly, websites can be difficult or impossible to access by people that rely on assistive technologies to navigate the digital world. Websites must be designed in a manner that accommodates users with diverse abilities - in a manner that focuses on user-first, universal design principles. This isn’t merely about individuals with disabilities such as blindness or deafness, it includes a much broader spectrum of end users, including aging populations and individuals who have vision, hearing, motor and intellectual (cognitive) disabilities, those who are color blind, dyslexic, learning to read, or even learning a second language. The lack of digital accessibility means that companies are failing to provide an inclusive experience for a vast audience.

What are the issues behind the recent stream of lawsuits?

The amount of people affected by the lack of accessibility to participate in what has become daily digital life, is significant.  The Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II and Title III, were designed to ensure individuals with disabilities were not excluded from society by guaranteeing equal treatment in public entities and places of public accommodation, respectively.  As the world evolves, demand for equal access has gone from the physical to the virtual world. Online services that are often taken for granted such as virtual banking, online shopping, or arranging for travel, are not an option for millions of individuals and the fact is, there is no reason why every existing site cannot be made accessible with reasonable ease.

We believe the increasing and unrelenting stream of web accessibility lawsuits that claim Civil Rights violations are driven by a population whose needs and rights are being overlooked and the only way to draw attention and bring change is through the court system. Recent findings illustrate that the courts are tending to side with plaintiffs and the right of all Americans to have equal access to both the physical and digital world. AudioEye is a public company whose purpose is to serve the accessibility movement through technology. Steadfast proponents of digital accessibility and inclusivity, we are dedicated to improving the user experience for everyone.

Is achieving digital accessibility complicated?

Achieving digital accessibility doesn’t have to be a headache. Using the generally accepted Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 for new site design, will help ensure that, from Day 1, a site is accessible to the widest audience possible. Using platforms such as Percussion Software, also helps achieve that end. Pairing Percussion and AudioEye helps ensure that, as content is added, a site remains optimized to more fully conform with ADA-related digital accessibility requirements.

For sites that have already been designed, there are several options – everything from consulting companies to manual remediation providers to rebuilding the site. However, AudioEye is different than most companies. First and foremost, AudioEye is a technology company, so, unlike consulting companies, we don’t simply point out what’s wrong, we use a revolutionary technology to fix it. 

AudioEye begins with a comprehensive site analysis which identifies digital accessibility errors so the nature of issues can be fully understood.  We then provide a JavaScript which customers insert into their site(s); the script works in the background to fix many common errors immediately, so, from Day 1, there is a significant impact to the site’s accessibility.

Over time (typically a less than 100-day journey), AudioEye testers and engineers identify and manually fix issues of accessibility through remediations that are deployed via the AudioEye JavaScript.

Once audited and remediated, AudioEye monitors the site on an ongoing basis to ensure that, as changes occur, the site remains accessible and in conformance with ADA-related digital accessibility compliance requirements. In addition, AudioEye also deploys free assistive tools that provide end-users with more options to personalize their user experience to meet their individual needs.

As an added benefit, these tools also assist in helping our clients more fully conform with specific WCAG 2.0 AA Success Criteria, including those issues pertaining to the visual display of website content such as color contrast and font sizing. It is important to note, that whether a site has been designed for accessibility or not, there is no one-time fix. Websites are dynamic with content constantly being added, deleted and/or edited. Achieving and maintaining accessibility requires a long term, sustainable accessibility strategy.  AudioEye’s technology maintains accessibility for the life of the subscription contract.

At AudioEye, we believe that all websites can and should be designed and developed with digital inclusion in mind. For the billions of websites already out there, we developed a platform that, through the balance of technology and engineering, allows businesses and organizations to take a practical and cost-effective approach to ensuring site content is accessible and more usable for more people. Let’s all be part of the solution.

I invite you to learn more about AudioEye.

Todd Bankofier, CEO

AudioEye, Inc.

A headshot photo of Todd Bankofier
Todd Bankofier
CEO - AudioEye

Before joining AudioEye in 2015 he was a principal partner in Fairmont Capital Group (FCG) since 2008. Todd engaged in the day-to-day oversight of multiple asset holdings, including energy companies, real estate, construction and property management companies. He provided senior management for strategic planning, revenue generation, technology changes, operational effectiveness and public relations for all the entities. Learn more ...