Widget Review for 2020

Embedding a website accessibility toolbar doesn’t work for ADA compliance, 508 compliance or materially improving the accessibility of your website.

How’s that for foreshadowing how my Userway widget review?

It doesn’t matter whether it’s AccessiBe, EqualWeb, ADA Plugin from OnlineADA, or any other toolbar, widget, plugin – they’re never going to be a viable solution for making your website accessible.

There is no instant solution for website accessibility.

(And no, artificial intelligence or AI, is not there yet. Not in 2020 and probably not for 4-5 more years. If you’ve studied WCAG and tried to implement the success criteria into a website, you know why.)

As much as everyone would like to copy and paste JavaScript code into their html, that’s just not how accessibility works.

And you can see Userway allude to this on their website. From

“Depending on the structure and types of accessibility violations on your site, a deeper analysis by UserWay’s team of accessibility auditors may be required.”

There it is.

That sentence right there subtly tells the story: Your website isn’t made accessible with an instant widget (free or paid).

All accessibility widgets amount to is faux accessibility.

Userway and the others all list not touching your website’s code as a feature when, in truth, it’s a red flag that tells you you’re not actually addressing accessibility at the code level.

To be truly accessible and ADA compliant, your website must be remediated (fixed) by a developer who is familiar with WCAG 2.0 AA (or, optionally 2.1).

The prevailing current legal standard is 2.0 AA so I always recommend focusing in on 2.0 AA first (believe me, there’s plenty of work to be done here). 2.1 works on top of 2.0 so you can always add that later.

I predict what will end up happening to all of the small businesses, companies, corporations, non-profits, and organizations that install accessibility widgets is that one day plaintiff’s lawyers will realize they are wholly insufficient for ADA Website Compliance and start sending demand letters to everyone with a widget installed.

Paradoxically, by 2021 or 2022, I think using a widget puts you at greater risk of an accessibility lawsuit.

Again, the real solution is to have a developer who is familiar with website accessibility remediate your website. It’s a manual fix and it usually takes weeks to complete but it’s the only way to truly become ADA Compliant.

Userway basically admits this by offering audits.

After all, why would you need an audit if their widget is the end-all solution for accessibility?

In their own words:

“An accessibility audit helps your business in two ways:

Provides you with clear and actionable checklists of each and every accessibility violation on your site, and how exactly it should be fixed.”

Once again, read that last line: I thought their widget was the cure-all?

People regularly search on whether toolbar overlays are a scam.  They don’t work for making your website actually accessible and it is my recommendation that nobody rely on them for ADA compliance.

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