2019 Review: AudioEye Automated Accessibility Software

July 24, 2020 Review Update:

Unclear Offerings

I re-examined AudioEye’s website and they’re really vague about what exactly they do beyond their automatic toolbar.

The how it works section of their website basically says:

  1. Install their JavaScript code
  2. Fix your website – whether you use their compliance team or their Builder tool
  3. Monitor

In the FAQ section, one of the questions is do you make my site accessible or do I?

Here’s a summary of the answer:

With their Managed plan, their team of experts does all of the work after the JavaScript code is embedded.

With the AudioEye Pro plan, you do the work, but they give you the tools and technology.  Supposedly their AI identifies your WCAG errors, and their tools walk you through how to fix them.

My Thoughts

I dislike the toolbar premise.

Anything that amounts to installing a piece of JavaScript code for accessibility is off to the wrong track.  A toolbar is more for show than it actually helps people using a website.

Consider this: The options found in an accessibility toolbar menu are already those found in screen readers so what’s the point?

AI hasn’t come very far with accessibility.  Even if we use AI for just alt text, it fails miserably at image recognition.

The real value is in the actual manual remediation of your website to fully meet WCAG 2.1 AA (and this should not come as a supplement to whatever features are in the toolbar).

One key piece of info to remember: even the very best of automated scans only flag about 1/4 of accessibility issues – and even at that, that’s not a fix.

Anyway, automation and accessibility only mix to a limited extent.

When I originally wrote this review, 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.  Below are some of the highlights of the call.

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?

It’s going to take about 2-3 months (depending on the complexity your website – may be less, may be more) for your website remediation to be complete.

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 important, I asked if you could buy this ala carte – you cannot.

Does their software work with WordPress CMS?

Yes.

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?

Yes.

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.