AudioEye on Tuesday announced a new platform aimed at helping companies create and maintain more accessible websites. The company said in a press release the new product takes a “hybrid approach”—combining human knowledge with artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide a best of both worlds experience.
Staying true to AudioEye’s mission—“[eradicating] every barrier to digital access”—the platform is a suite of tools that help ensure websites are as accessible to as many people as possible. These include an Accessibility Control Center, live monitoring, and more. Additionally, there are paid service plans, which start at $49 per month, which offer human-based support and counseling for accessibility. This not only covers technological aspects like testing and monitoring, it also covers legal, educational, and technical support. AudioEye said the platform is scaleable so as to meet the needs of organizations of any size; the automation element is key, as that allows for scalability.
“Accessibility requires both automation and human expertise. Our platform gives companies both,” said Dominic Varacalli, President of AudioEye. “We provide the peace of mind that comes with constant monitoring and testing, remediation, and reporting. AudioEye makes accessibility compliance easy for the largest enterprises and the smallest startups.”
The focus on digital accessibility has never been more important, particularly in light of the nearly year-long coronavirus pandemic. With the majority of people working remotely, the use of technology to sustain livelihoods shines a light on the have and have-nots in terms of accessibility. From Zoom to WebEx to Google Meet and more, the pandemic has given the masses the smallest taste of what adaptability means for disabled people—the pandemic has given people a year-long lesson on accessibility.
There’s a certain degree of irony to the continued cries about struggling to “make it work” technologically while working virtually. It may be inconvenient, but at least the technology is accessible in both senses of the word. Meanwhile, disabled people are forced to “make it work” (if that’s even possible) because most companies are inconvenienced (and ignorant) to doing the necessary work in making the web accessible. This is why the work of AudioEye (and others like it) so vital.
2020 marked the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act’s passing. In an interview with me last spring, Tony Coelho, the former congressman (D-CA) credited with pioneering and authoring the bill, touched on the issue of digital accessibility. He told me while the ADA regulates the physical world pretty well, it doesn’t do anything similar for the digital realm. “When the ADA was enacted [in 1990], the internet was not as pervasive as it is today, so the ADA did not specifically cover it. I feel strongly that digital accessibility should be included in the ADA,” Coelho said. (It should be noted Coelho serves on AudioEye’s board of directors.)
A staggering 98% of the million most popular webpages are inaccessible in some form.
IAudioEye’s ethos is to help bridge those gaps, and offer solutions to making the web a more accessible and equitable place for everyone. In the absence of amended legislation at the governmental level that ensures the ADA covers the internet, it is up to private companies like AudioEye to pick up the slack. The company said it grew its costumer base by 400% in 2020, and added several members of the executive team.
“The online world still remains largely inaccessible to millions of people. We’re working to eradicate those barriers by making it simple and affordable for organizations of all sizes to improve the accessibility of their digital content,” said David Moradi, AudioEye’s interim CEO. “With our investments in technology, we are hitting a tipping point, making a larger impact to sites’ accessibility than ever before. In the last year, we’ve grown our customer base by more than 400% by continuing to invest in the technology and team to scale our platform.”