2021 Review: AccessiBe Instant Fix Magic Website Accessibility

Video Transcript: https://habengirma.com/transcripts/acessibe_transcript.txt

June 27, 2021 Update:

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) reviews Accessibe and bans Accessibe sponsorship from their 2021 National Convention.

Read Forbes’ write-up on the NFB ban: Largest U.S. Blind Advocacy Group Bans Web Accessibility Overlay Giant AccessiBe

This tweet is from @ChanceyFleet who serves as the President of the National Federation of the Blind of New York.

And here is my review.

Accessibe is an overlay and it doesn’t make your website WCAG conformant.

Accessibe.com has openly posted lies about how Accessibe’s overlay widget will make your website instantly “WCAG compliant” and ADA compliant.

Overlays that are supposedly for 100% complete website accessibility and ADA + 508 compliance are being pitched by numerous vendors and they don’t work.

For some of the many reasons why, visit OverlaysDontWork.com by expert Karl Groves.

Karl has also created OverlayFactSheet.com which has direct Twitter quotes from 20+ people with disabilities negatively speaking on overlays.  It has been signed by 300+ people saying they will never recommend overlays.

Adrian Roselli, another accessibility expert, also has an excellent review I highly recommend:

#Accessibe will get you sued

There is also a great article from Vice.com:

People With Disabilities Say This AI Tool Is Making the Web Worse for Them

Besides AccessiBe, Make Sense (MK-Sense.com), Get ADA Comply (GetADAComply.com), EqualWeb (EqualWeb.com), Max Access (MaxAccess.io), AudioEye and UserWay (UserWay.org) all sell overlays and I’m sure there are more.  Anything that says it’s an instant fix is instantly telling you that it isn’t a real fix.

Making a website truly accessible takes manual remediation.  There is no way around this.

You may think, well they’ll at least make my website more accessible until I fix it.

Websites using overlays are now being sued. I recommend ADA defense attorney Richard Hunt’s, Is there a silver bullet for ADA website accessibility? Sorry, but the answer is no., blog post.

Here are three of the five companies mentioned in the blog post above that have/had AccessiBe installed as of July 24, 2020:

Williams vs. ViperDNA
Fredericka Nellon v. Agri Beef Co.
Ariza v. Carmen Sol FL, LLC

Update: I mentioned Karl Groves earlier.  Linked is a downloadable report Karl was commissioned to create that also dissects the failings of Accessibe.

The report is titled, “Sole reliance on accessiBe will not be sufficient in ensuring full and equal access to a website” and is a part of the Murphy v. Eyebobs, filed a week ago in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

You will not be accessible within 48 hours with AccessiBe because they’re not actually doing the remediation necessary to make a website accessible, they’re only installing a piece of JavaScript code that opens up a toolbar menu of options – many of which are redundant with those already found in screen readers.

There is no AI solution that makes your website accessible. We are years away from this taking hold. There is no product on the market remotely close to offering automated accessibility.

A toolbar overlay does not address your website’s actual accessibility, it merely stickers on some temporary adjustments that can be made.

But even if AccessiBe was able to instantly fix every programmatic accessibility issue with your website (and it absolutely does not), it still wouldn’t address the alternatives to media that are crucial to accessibility (headings, closed captions, alt text, text transcripts, audio descriptions).

Again, no toolbar instantly overlay/widget/plugin automatically remediates or fixes your website for complete accessibility. The best scans only catch roughly 1/4 of WCAG 2.1 AA issues – and that’s catch, not fix.

Additional Thoughts:

They should not be claiming to make your website accessible within 2 days because they do not deliver that.

Manual remediation is always necessary to make a website accessible.

Website accessibility is not a quick fix – you can’t just paste JavaScript code and have AI update your alt text and think you’ve got an accessible website.

If you’re a website owner just trying to figure out if this is a possible solution, let me just offer you this very flatly and quickly:

Installing AccessiBe basically amounts to putting a toolbar on your website that can make some adjustments of the website.  But it does not make the website itself accessible.  Moreover, many of the adjustments are already taken care of by screen readers for people who would most likely take advantage of said adjustments.