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 very 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 that, here’s a brief look at a quick AudioEye 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 informed accessible support?
Yes. I think this is actually one of their bigger selling points. I should have asked how they integrated with each individual company but 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?
Of course some code is going to need to be editing but it sounds like AudioEye is more hands off in this regard; I got the distinct impression they don’t need to overhaul your design to make you more compliant.
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. I won’t provide much detail here other than to say 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.
Who are their competitors?
From all of my research, AudioEye is the market leader in automated accessibility. Another provider that has an automated solution is Accessibe. Accessibe claims that they use AI and machine learning to make websites accessible. I’ve demoed their solution and created a separate review.
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 looks promising. Jill’s answers to my questions showed they were clued in and making real strides. I don’t have firsthand knowledge of their inner workings but it looks like CEO Todd Bankofier is doing a great job of leading the company and innovating while taking on customers.
Jill touched on a number of questions (I asked a lot) during our call. Some things I’m interested in learning more about are:
- How they’ll handle WCAG 2.1 (it’s not as simple as WCAG 2.0), especially internationally since 2.1 is not as pressing in the US as of early 2019
- How they’ll handle indemnification in client contracts as they are providing accessibility certification and companies are relying upon them
- The details of how they handle edits, particularly the in-between stuff like making text resizable up to 200% when a website doesn’t allow for it or providing text transcripts and audio descriptions
- How they handle the onboarding process and implement client preferences during the process of making websites accessible
I like what I see out of them and I think they’ll make continual improvements as they get better at accessibility and finding ways to become more efficient.
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.