Updated May 22, 2019.
Review update: AudioEye provides a strong solution in that they do genuinely remediate your site to be accessible. They have a strong development team that does a good job and you can expect to have an accessible website within 3-4 months.
The big problem is cost – it’s not really the upfront price so much as it is they require an annual subscription for that price. After the first year, the value of the subscription really falls off a cliff despite the add-ons like knowledgeable support for persons with disabilities and continual promise to maintain the accessibility of your website.
I think they’re a good, legitimate provider but I don’t see how they maintain their current recurring subscription business model without a significant price decrease in subsequent years.
I spoke to Jill Micheli, a senior account executive at AudioEye, today and we went over a demo, what the company offers, and about accessibility in general. I came away encouraged with the direction AudioEye is headed. In this post, I’ll informally question and answer some of the highlights of our phone call.
Note: This is an evergreen post. I’ll update it after I meet with the group at the CSUN conference and further research competitors and the software.
Before we get to the Q & A, here’s an AudioEye YouTube demo for context:
Is it completely automated?
No. The first part is. This is where they scan your website and automate the fixes they can make through software. I don’t have a list of the exact WCAG 2.0 AA elements they satisfy through automation but Jill informed me a good amount of the fixes can be solved automatically.
How long does it take to become accessible/ADA compliant?
It seems like once they take you on as a client, they begin the process of compliance by upgrading what they can, instituting their toolbar, and creating accessibility and certification statements. It’s going to take about 3-4 months (depending on the complexity your website – may be less, may be more) for you to be actually be ADA compliant, though.
Do they provide accessible support?
Yes. I think this is actually one of their bigger selling points. The key is they do have knowledgeable people who can help people with disabilities if they need help.
I think support is so important, I asked if you could buy this ala carte – you cannot.
Does their software work with WordPress CMS?
Do they need to manipulate code?
Yes but they typically don’t need to overhaul your design to make your website more accessible.
Do they make apps accessible?
How much do they cost?
Price is going to vary based on the website (simple websites will cost less and more dynamic/involved websites will cost more) and while Jill did provide me with some general ranges, she did say that it really depends on the site. If you’ve got a larger company, you’re probably going to start at 5-figures a year and that this is a recurring cost with software, remediation, monitoring, and live help included.
The lowest you can expect to pay is probably mid 4-figures annually. It’s a recurring cost, not one-time upfront fee.
Who are their competitors?
Update: AudioEye seems to have the most visibility and certainly spends the most in advertising but Deque (Deque.com) is also in the accessibility space and within the accessibility provider community is seen more as the leader.
Deque is more expansive in their offerings, whether it be services, tools, or training.
From all of my research, AudioEye is the market leader in automated accessibility. Another provider that has an automated solution is AccessiBe.com. AccessiBe claims that they use AI and machine learning to make websites accessible. I’ve demoed their solution and created a separate review.
Although AccessiBe is in the website accessibility business, AudioEye will actually make your website accessible by doing the dirty work, manual remediation. AccessiBe does not do this in their turnkey, boxed product.
One problem in researching competitors is Google’s search algorithm is returning any websites with the words accessibility & software instead of returning similar alternative automated solutions. Just because there isn’t anything showing in Google doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist so I’ll continue looking.
Of course, there are service providers such as BOIA, The Bureau of Internet Accessibility, Criterion 508, Deque, Crown Peak, Carroll, WebAim, Accessible 360, Be Accessible, Essential Accessibility, and Crown Peak.
What do I think?
AudioEye is solid but EXPENSIVE.
They’re one of the top real providers you can find but they’ve really priced themselves out of almost all of the non-corporate markets.
AudioEye’s initial year cost is probably worth it for remediation – maybe even a little bit more.
For example, let’s say you’re running a large website with lots of forms and media and you need it remediated quickly by a competent agency. If AudioEye charged you $25,000 to get it done within 3 months, that’s probably reasonable (depending on the work load, of course).
But there’s no way to justify charging that amount as a recurring annual subscription; the value just drops off a cliff after all the initial, upfront charge is made.
True, knowledgeable support is a nice value add-on and so are accessibility updates (such as updating for WCAG 2.1) but it’s not worth paying year over year for.
I advise paying up for a one-time development charge vs. signing up for years of a subscription service.
Who am I?
My name is Kris Rivenburgh. I’m a web accessibility consultant, attorney, and the author of The ADA Book, a book on how to reduce your risk of receiving a demand letter.
If you have any questions or need help making your website accessible, you can leave a comment below or contact me at kris [at] adabook [dot] com.