After my first week at AudioEye, I feel as if I have been introduced to a whole new world; more precisely a new language. I’ve always felt pride in my sense of compassion for others, but after my introduction to AudioEye, I’m embarrassed that I hadn’t considered inclusion from the perspective that is shared by my new colleagues. It’s ironic how you aren’t aware of your own ignorance until the very moment you lose it… and, until recently, I hadn’t thought about the potential impact of an inaccessible word wide web.
In one week, I not only learned about website accessibility, but websites themselves. Unfortunately, I started with a blank slate, but my very knowledgeable and patient team spent the week introducing me to the basics of website technology and accessibility. Words like coding, html, Java Script, css, and carousel have crept into my daily language (and no, I don’t mean the fun carousel I always begged to go on as a child). I received a glimpse into what life would have been like had I followed my parents’ advice to study computer science in college.
It is expected in today’s world to know the basics of computing and the internet; how to access a website, how to search for information, how to post a status on Facebook (some of these things more important than others). These processes have become easy for most, almost second nature. As for myself, these are things I do on a daily basis. I utilize the internet so often that I feel it’s my right; I find myself frustrated if the Wi-Fi is down or my phone is dead. I see this same behavior in the majority of those around me. Website access is no longer optional, so why isn’t it fully accessible by all?
Until this week and settling into my new role at AudioEye, I hadn’t really considered how people with disabilities might access the web and what it would be like to not have access, simply because a website neglected to consider the individual needs of a diverse population. Fortunately, people HAVE thought about this problem, and it’s been diagnosed on an international level. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provides a standard for designers and developers looking to make websites more accessible. AudioEye partners with companies to ensure that they conform to WCAG standards and meet their commitment to provide equal access for all end-users. At AudioEye, we are continually making strides to further improve our technology and implement it across our customers’ sites, and it’s been an incredible week learning exactly how we’re making it happen.
When companies partner with AudioEye, they embark on a 100-day journey to transform their website into a space that is friendly for ALL users. Throughout the journey, websites are improved to comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA, a standard that all websites should achieve. This is done through a mix of technology and managed service, as well as manual testing. But we don’t stop there. AudioEye also implements tools that make the experience customizable for users. These tools have benefits for everyone, including those with dyslexia, color blindness, full visual impairment, low vision, motor disabilities, limited reading abilities, ageing populations and more. This is the way information should be presented – equally accessible, and unique to meet an individual’s needs.
This journey could not happen without the team of passionate and hardworking individuals I had the pleasure of meeting this week. Now, I am ready for my own 100-day journey with AudioEye (and then some!). I am making a commitment to increase my knowledge of accessibility, technology, and everything else I encounter. If I’ve learned this much in one week, I’m eager to share the many things that I am bound to learn in the weeks to come. Stay tuned for regular updates as I share in my journey to learning more about the world of web accessibility.