What Good Is An Exterminator That Doesn’t Get Rid of Bugs?
Whether you’re getting rid of bugs in your house or on your website, you want to hire someone who will do the entire job. Here’s why some accessibility consultants fall short.
If you noticed a bunch of bugs in your house, your first call would probably be to an exterminator.
But what if the exterminator showed up, checked inside and outside your house, pointed out the bugs … and then just left?
This may sound a bit far-fetched, but it’s not that different from the experience that many organizations have when they work with a company that specializes in manual accessibility audits.
Here’s why: Most digital accessibility consultants are not equipped to actually fix accessibility issues, or provide an ongoing view of a website’s accessibility. All they can do is generate a report of accessibility issues at the time of the audit.
Some may provide recommendations on how to fix the issues, but many simply leave their clients to figure out the solution.
In this post, we discuss the importance of making sure your website is accessible 24/7 — and explain why businesses should prioritize an accessibility partner that will actually get rid of the “bugs” for them.
The Pros and Cons of Manual Audits
Most manual accessibility audits work something like this: a team of accessibility experts goes through each line of code on a website, flagging issues and areas of the site that don’t conform with accessibility standards like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Unfortunately, all of this work comes at a literal and figurative price — and it’s one that every organization should consider before working with a consultant:
- Manual audits can be expensive and time-consuming.
- Manual audits only provide a snapshot of a website’s accessibility at a moment in time. As soon as the site is updated, the audit is out of date.
- Typically, organizations need to fix the issues themselves, which ties up developer resources and requires them to have employees who are familiar with the latest accessibility standards and best practices.
It’s also worth noting that manual audits do not guarantee an accessible website.
When AudioEye analyzed 55 randomly selected websites using our own Expert Audit process, we found more than 950 accessibility issues. Forty-one of these sites had one or more severe issues, such as non-functional site navigation, unlabeled graphics, inaccessible video controls, and other issues that made digital content and tools inaccessible to people with disabilities.
Can We Make the Internet Accessible With People Alone?
For some organizations, there weren't any automated solutions on the market when they first looked into their website’s accessibility. The only options were to build their own team or work with a consultant.
Now, thanks to technology, organizations have more options. And these options aren’t just more affordable, but they’re better equipped to keep pace with the dynamic nature of the internet.
In 2022, AudioEye calculated what it would cost for people alone to make the entire internet accessible, without the support of automation.
Assuming that the average site would take 88 hours to manually audit, remediate, and retest, it would take 167 billion hours for a single person to fix every site, or 80.3 million implementers working for a whole year. Even if you only fixed half the internet, it would still cost $4 trillion USD for 40 million implementers working for an entire year at an annual wage of $100K.
Here’s why that’s so problematic.
Not only is it a huge number, but it doesn’t account for the 22 million hours needed each day to fix newly created websites. Or the time spent testing and fixing website updates.
Most websites change all the time. And every new photo, contact form, or page is a chance to accidentally introduce new accessibility issues, whether it’s forgetting to add alt text to an image or using the wrong headings (designers often choose headings for aesthetic reasons, but this can be confusing to screen reader users).
If your goal is to deliver an accessible browsing experience to everyone who visits your site, every time — manual audits alone may not be the right approach. Too much can change between audits, which can impact the user experience and expose your business to the threat of a lawsuit or demand letter.
So what is the answer?
At AudioEye, we think it’s a mix of powerful, AI-based automation and human expertise.
Why a Hybrid Approach to Digital Accessibility Makes Sense
When you hire an exterminator, the goal is to get rid of the problem — without having to take care of it yourself.
At AudioEye, our automated technology can find up to 70% of common accessibility issues — and automatically fix about two-thirds of them. And unlike most of our competitors, we test for more than 400 accessibility issues every time someone visits your site.
However, we also recognize that automation alone cannot guarantee an accessible browsing experience. For issues that require human expertise, we have certified accessibility testers and assistive technology users who test your website and write custom code fixes.
In addition to fixing issues that we encounter during manual testing, our experts also provide guidance to clients on how to code future updates to their site in an accessible way. And in order to ensure that our automation keeps improving, we use insights from our manual audits and custom code fixes to help develop new automated fixes and solve more issues proactively.
Getting to the Root of the Problem
Want to learn more about AudioEye’s approach to digital accessibility? Download our white paper on Building for Digital Accessibility at Scale. Or, get a free scan of any URL to start identifying accessibility issues on your site.
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