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HearSay Blog - Episode 1: Five Ways AudioEye Reshaped the Digital Accessibility Industry

Posted February 01, 2024


Posted February 01, 2024

A purple accessibility icon overlaid on a stylized web browser. The purple background has icons representing different types of disabilities, with a label in the upper left corner that reads "HEAR SAY"
A purple accessibility icon overlaid on a stylized web browser. The purple background has icons representing different types of disabilities, with a label in the upper left corner that reads "HEAR SAY"

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For over a decade, AudioEye has been a pioneer in digital accessibility, offering innovative solutions, including a floating accessibility icon, assistive web personalization tools, Accessibility as a Service, Trusted Certification, and a dedicated help desk. With 20+ patents, AudioEye has transformed accessibility compliance for businesses, making it more practical and sustainable, aligning with legal requirements and enhancing usability for diverse users.

Thinking Different

Before my brother, a young entrepreneur, had reached his thirtieth birthday, he was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease, which prompted us to question how individuals with disabilities navigate the web. As we learned more about the scale of the issue, our curiosity evolved into a strong desire to innovate and create a more inclusive web experience for everyone. This, along with our innate desire to help others, led to the founding of AudioEye. 

For over ten years, AudioEye has been a pioneer in digital accessibility. With 20+ USPTO patents, we've transformed accessibility compliance for both major global enterprises and smaller businesses with tight budgets, including those relying on third-party service providers that limit their ability to effectively control their accessibility programs. Our user-friendly tech solutions, supported by certified experts and members of the disability community, are now trusted by over 110,000 clients worldwide.

Before AudioEye, addressing accessibility challenges for individuals with disabilities online was limited and often required substantial investment and time. Businesses had few options, relying on consultative services with limited offerings. AudioEye changed this by offering more accessible options for businesses. Prioritizing scalability, we've revolutionized the path toward establishing practical, reliable, and sustainable accessibility programs. The 5 patented innovations below highlight how we revolutionized the industry approach by solving problems and incorporating ongoing feedback from the disability community.

1. Digital Accessibility Call-to-Action

Nowadays, the accessibility icon is everywhere, similar to features like real-time chat and data privacy notifications on the web. AudioEye was the pioneer in introducing a floating accessibility icon, serving as a persistent gateway to features for individuals with disabilities. Until marketers began implementing this dedicated call-to-action (CTA), built-in accessibility options were scarce. At best, an Accessibility Statement might be included in the website footer navigation, but these were typically informational only. This innovation changed the game for website marketers, dedicating valuable space to showcase a commitment to diversity and inclusion while providing a full suite of assistive utilities native to the website. In many ways, the proliferation of the CTA helped put digital accessibility on the map - particularly for small businesses.

A stylized version of a website that shows AudioEye's Visual Toolkit highlighting different portions of the page. In the upper left corner is a label that reads "HEAR SAY"

2. Assistive Web Personalization Tools

With the introduction of a dedicated resource for individuals with disabilities, AudioEye launched various web personalization tools, offering innovative ways for site visitors to engage with sites. Initially focused on emulating a screen-reader experience, these tools evolved into a versatile set of features. By incorporating client and end-user feedback, AudioEye continually innovated, leading to the comprehensive AudioEye Visual Toolkit, which today includes 13 easy-to-toggle adjustments, such as color schemes, font size, and highlights - all catering to diverse user needs.

A transparent green box that reads "HTML" on top of a stylized image of a purple webpage. In the upper left corner is a label that reads "HEAR SAY"

3. Accessibility as a Service

One of AudioEye's most significant innovations came through enhancing our JavaScript-based technology. By incorporating issue identification and fixing into the JavaScript payload, AudioEye created a groundbreaking approach for businesses aiming for digital accessibility compliance. This innovation not only set a new standard but also gave rise to an entire industry of accessibility solution providers. Using a single-script solution for the web accessibility icon and personalization tools, AudioEye integrated testing and remediation features, assisting businesses in aligning with the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). 

While automation can detect many violations, we recognized the limitations of technology in many of the contextual accessibility guidelines. As a result, AudioEye includes a human-based services layer to enhance conformance with best practices and standards. While AudioEye's Managed clients gain the benefit from automated tools that can find and fix up to 50% of common accessibility issues preemptively, this is paired with expert audit services conducted by AudioEye’s certified professionals and members of the AudioEye A11iance community — a network of testers with diverse backgrounds. Test results guide AudioEye engineers to create custom fixes for client’s unique accessibility challenges. Any remaining issues are reported to clients with detailed instructions and training to implement fixes and deploy strategies for preventing future problems.

4. Trusted Certification

AudioEye Managed clients subscribe to an always-on service that follows accessibility best practices and addresses the legal demands prevalent in the digital accessibility industry. With tens of thousands of ADA claims in the past five years, consistent requirements have emerged from settlement agreements, shaping compliance needs. AudioEye aligns its service with these documented requirements, providing businesses with solutions to enhance compliance efforts and ensure optimal usability for end-users.

AudioEye supports clients by offering the AudioEye Trusted Certification as confirmation of their commitment to accessibility. This certification validates the active and ongoing application of a comprehensive and sustainable accessibility program. For clients dealing with non-compliance claims, this attestation, along with related documents like the AudioEye Sustainable Testing and Remediation (STAR) Plan, serves as strong evidence of compliance, saving time and money in defending against such claims.

5. Dedicated Web Accessibility Help Desk

Another breakthrough from AudioEye was the introduction of a dedicated support desk, enabling site visitors to report access barriers. This has proven to be an effective tool for businesses to monitor issues affecting their visitors. AudioEye SMEs triage and address these issues using the always-on accessibility solution integrated into the client user experience.

A stylized image of a hand-drawn outline of a website, next to a white pencil and an eraser. In the upper left is a label that reads "HEAR SAY"

A Decade of Innovation

AudioEye's decade-long commitment to digital accessibility has not only made it a pioneer in the field but has also revolutionized the landscape. With a robust portfolio of innovations, AudioEye has helped countless businesses accelerate the path to prioritizing diversity, inclusion, and usability. Whether you are seeking to address urgent challenges or prevent future issues, AudioEye can assist your business in setting up and maintaining a practical and sustainable accessibility program to fit your budget.

I take immense pride in AudioEye's accomplishments in transforming the digital accessibility landscape. I’m incredibly grateful for the countless contributions and relentless efforts from the many committed and talented professionals that have been a part of our organization over the last decade - from our investors and supporters to our brilliant technologists, testers, and community members. Viewing digital access barriers as bugs is relatable—we've all experienced frustration with glitchy websites that hinder interaction. AudioEye successfully eliminates billions of these bugs daily, a commendable feat. What's even more exciting is AudioEye's ongoing innovation and investment in leveraging AI to broaden our impact. The same commitment to helping others and fixing the web, which inspired AudioEye's founding over a decade ago, remains unwavering. I am incredibly optimistic about our ability to fulfill our mission and eliminate every barrier to digital access. 

To learn more about AudioEye and how we got started, check out Episode 1: A Decade of Disruption on our HearSay Podcast Series on YouTube or on either of your favorite podcast providers (Spotify | Apple).  

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