EqualWeb Widget Review for 2020

It does not matter what toolbar overlay or what widget it is, I never recommend them because they don’t make your website accessible at the code level.

For your website to be truly accessible, it needs to be coded for accessibility and manually remediated to account for alternatives to media.

What we see from widgets in the marketplace – whether its EqualWeb, MK-Sense, AccessiBe, UserWay, etc. – is they follow the same formula:

Here is a piece of javascript code, paste it into your website, and you’ll get a toolbar of accessibility options that someone visiting your website can click on.

Most options are redundant with the options screen readers give users and the toolbars can’t account for most of the success criteria in WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 AA, particularly those that require manual review such as headings, alt text, closed captions, text transcripts, and focus order.

The opening bullet point on EqualWeb.com states:

“WCAG 2.1, ADA, Section 508 and EN 301549 100% compliance”

No.

It’s amazing that the best automated scans in the world (keep in mind these are scans that check your website for accessibility errors, not even remediation tools) can only catch about 1/3 of the issues on a website but EqualWeb claims to put you in “100% compliance”.

Another problem with toolbar overlays is they must be activated to provide features, otherwise your website exists as it does now. This means even if EqualWeb or another toolbar did, in fact, make your website completely accessible (which they don’t), you’d still have to activate them to have an accessible version of your website.

Finally, if you go to the pricing page, you get the inevitable indirect admission that installing a piece of javascript code is insufficient. In EqualWeb’s own words, for the premium package you get:

“Full remediation Auto widget + manual Audit and full remediation process for All sized websites”

They don’t list a price. They tell you to contact them.

Notice how the words “full remediation” appears in that line twice. Also notice the manual audit part.

Now, we’re getting to the truth of the matter: Automated options can’t provide you with true accessibility and the likely ADA compliance you’re after.

And that makes you wonder, what are you paying for if the other options aren’t full options?