If you could fix all the accessibility problems in a website by simply inserting one line of code, would you really do it?
This is the claim by a company that announced it got 12 million in funding to create a product that promises to make websites 100% accessible through AI.
No longer does a company need to hire designers and developers trained in website accessibility compliance. There is no need to do testing because the app does that for you every day. It claims to know every accessibility law in every country, state and province, so you don’t have to.
It claims it may even prevent an ADA lawsuit by updating your accessibility statement, which admits that the website is not tested with disabled people.
It is not tested or maintained by an Accessibility Specialist either.
If there is an issue for anyone trying to use the website, you will never know how to fix it and besides, for the money you’re paying for the automatic repair job, you can’t be sued, right?
I understand lazy. I hear from small business owners who don’t have the money to pay for an accessibility specialist (even someone inexpensive like me.)
What I don’t have is respect for the major corporations whose logos are used to promote a product that allows them to avoid doing the job accurately in the first place.
They can afford to hire skilled accessibility specialists.
Every one of those companies paying from $490 to $3490 a year didn’t conduct a customer journey to watch and learn how disabled people use their website.
They proudly announce in their accessibility statement that they can’t be slapped with an ADA accessibility lawsuit because a line of code is defending them. This, they feel, will impress any judge and save them thousands of dollars in court fees and damages.
Why bother to pay developers to properly code ARIA for screen readers if an app will make the page work automatically? It does do that, right?
You checked, right?
You know how to check this, right?
It amazes me that anyone would put their company in the hands of one line of code that promises to make the website work for everyone, regardless of any physical, mental or emotional disability or impairment, permanent or temporary.
Do you know how to present your content for someone with dyslexia? How about autism? People who are colorblind? Do you know how your web pages work on an Apple iPhone with accessibility features turned on? How about an Android? What if your user has no mouse? No voice? No sight? No hearing? No short term memory?
You may feel that there is no way you can possibly make a website work universally for everyone. This is actually a goal by some companies that do not wish to discriminate. They accept the challenge. They hire accessibility specialists who are advocates for the disabled.
AI should not replace you.