People with disabilities may lack one or more of the five senses that most of you take for granted. For example, people who are blind don’t have a sense of vision, so they can’t see text or anything else on a screen. People who are deaf may not have the sense of hearing, so they can’t hear music or spoken words. In addition, some people with disabilities may be paralyzed and unable to use a mouse, keyboard, touchscreen, or touchpad, so those controls must also be accessible.

Every day more than one billion people worldwide go online using a multitude of devices and browsers. However, people with disabilities face many additional cognitive and physical barriers that limit their access to information and services on the web. The good news is we can make our websites more accessible with little effort thanks to a tool called accessiBe.

accessiBe is a cloud-based service that analyzes websites for ADA compliance issues. With just a few clicks, the tool generates comprehensive reports about which pages of your website are ADA compliant and which aren’t. The result is nearly immediate feedback on where barriers exist for individuals with disabilities.

We spoke to Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for the company, about accessiBe and website accessibility.

What is accessiBe?

accessiBe is an automated tool that scans web pages for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It’s part of a suite of products called q-Success. q-Success provides information about making your website ADA compliant, including what steps you need to take.

How does accessiBe work?

Once you’ve installed the Javascript tag on all of your web pages, accessiBe will automatically scan every page that loads in a web browser for compliance with Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 guidelines to ensure the site is accessible for people with disabilities. The user can also check specific pages to scan them immediately without waiting for the next time they are visited.

What information does accessiBe gather about ADA compliance?

accessiBe analyzes the sections of your web page that require keyboard focus (tabindex), regions/areas that display text (alttext) and links (title), colors (color contrast), form fields (label), and scripts (disability behaviors) to determine which areas of the page require improvement. It then generates a report that analyzes your website for compliance with ADA regulations. Once you’ve made any necessary changes, you can rerun accessiBe to verify that all identified issues were corrected.

What are some common problems accessiBe uncovers?

The most common issues that prevent a web page from being ADA compliant are:

  • The lack of keyboard focus.
  • The low color contrast between foreground and background colors.
  • Missing alt text for images.
  • Limited content to regions/areas on the page (e.g., image map).
  • No titles.
  • Broken links.
  • Form fields without labels.
  • Scripts that may behave unexpectedly for users with disabilities.

Who can benefit from using accessiBe?

The people who would most benefit from using accessiBe are business owners or managers (especially those in the automotive or real estate industries) and website designers and developers. Unfortunately, they often have a limited understanding of making their sites more accessible and generally lack time to research solutions.