accessiBe Review: First Hand Experience with Website Accessibility

By Learning Revolution.  Last Updated on July 11, 2024

accessiBe Review: First Hand Experience with Website Accessibility next to image of a keyboard with accessibility symbols

Is there anything more satisfying than empowering people with your knowledge to transform their lives? Creating online courses and digital products allows you to do just that.

A recent study shows that online learning content’s direct and indirect impact could approach half a trillion dollars by 2027.

But to truly impact people, your content must be accessible to everyone regardless of any disabilities.

This is where accessiBe comes in.

accessiBe is a leading web accessibility solution that allows people with various disabilities to consume your website content.

We’ve been using it for several months on our site and have observed how web accessibility impacts user experience.

In this article, we’ll  dissect accessiBe’s features and tell you if we think it really makes your content more accessible.

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What Is accessiBe?

accessiBe homepage

accessiBe is a company offering an AI-powered web accessibility solutions. Their main product, accessWidget, helps websites comply with accessibility regulations and guidelines set by the World Wide Web Consortium (WCAG) 2.1 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

accessWidget works by making your website content accessible for people with various disabilities like ADHD, blindness, vision impairment, and epilepsy. It does this by using machine learning to analyze website content and identify accessibility barriers.

When a user chooses an accessibility feature via accessWidget, it then attempts to fix these issues automatically, making your website usable for people with disabilities.

This process instantly enhances your content’s reach and allows you to serve a wider audience.

accessiBe empowers your website visitors by letting them choose how they consume your content

Here’s how accessWidget appears on the Learning Revolution website.

Learning Rev homepage with a red arrow pointing to accessiBe's widget

For example, any user with ADHD can enable focused browsing from accessiBe’s widget to minimize distractions.

Learning Revolution homepage with Community Platforms with arrow next to it

You can offer features like screen reader compatibility, keyboard navigation adjustments, and customizable content displays to accommodate a wide range of accessibility needs.

accessiBe also helps you comply with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), and other relevant regulations.

It makes your content more inclusive and shows you care about people and want to make a difference in their lives with your knowledge.

Are  you unsure whether your  website is ADA compliant? Use the accessiBe audit tool to discover accessibility barriers on your website, which we discuss in more detail below.

Here’s a quick video walkthrough of accessiBe on our site showing you some of its features in action.

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Why Website Accessibility Is Important For Your Business

The World Health Organization estimates that 16% of the global population (almost 1.3 billion people) experience significant disability.

In the US, people with disabilities are a considerable market segment with an after-tax disposable income of $490 billion.

Graph that shows spending power of people with disabilities
Source

By improving website accessibility, you not only help people with disabilities benefit from your knowledge but also tap into an underserved market segment that’s ready to spend money online.

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Types of Disabilities Helped by accessiBe

To appreciate the importance of web accessibility, you must understand the problems people with disabilities face in consuming online content.

Let us give you a quick overview of the main disabilities accessiBe covers and how it impacts users.

Visual Impairments

Can you imagine browsing websites with your eyes closed? That’s what people with limited or no eyesight experience every day.

How can they benefit from your website content if they can’t see it? 

accessiBe helps users with low eyesight enhance a website’s text size and image colors, and gives them greater control over its layout settings, making it easier to read.

content adjustments screen with Readable Font with a red box around it

For blind users, accessiBe makes sites compatible with screen readers like JAWS, NVDA, VoiceOver, and TalkBack that can read content aloud.

Motor Impairments

Motor impairments affect a person’s ability to control their movements, making it difficult to use a mouse or trackpad. By installing accessiBe to your site, you give users the ability to control the mouse pointer using their keyboard. They can explore your site, access different sections, and consume content using keyboard shortcuts and arrow keys.

Cognitive Impairments

People with ADHD, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments can find surfing the web challenging. While they can access content like everyone else, focusing on specific parts or following step-by-step instructions might be difficult. This can make it hard to fully understand the information presented.  

accessiBe can improve their experience and make information easier to digest by allowing them to magnify different areas of your page, change font size, freeze animations, and modify the page layout.

content adjustments screen with highlight tiles and links

It also has a reading mask feature that highlights the part users want to read on your site, helping them minimize distractions and process information faster.

Auditory Impairments

If your site contains audio or video content, people with hearing disability cannot benefit from it. With accessiBe, you can provide them with audio transcripts and video captions to understand your message and learn from your content.

Photosensitivity and Epilepsy

Users with photosensitivity or epilepsy are sensitive to flashing animations or rapidly moving content. accessiBe allows them to block such content from your site and have a safer browsing experience.

We love that accessiBe hasn’t developed these features and remedies in isolation. Instead, it has a dedicated team of achievers from the disabled community they call the Unstoppables.

They are community leaders from various industries and walks of life who not only raise disability awareness but also provide accessiBe with feedback on its user experience features.

In short, accessiBe empowers your website users to consume content more conveniently and get the same value as any other user.

Having the accessiBe icon in the corner of your site not only opens a wide range of controls for users with disabilities but also shows you care about them.

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How To Add accessiBe To Your Website?

By now, you have a fair idea of how accessiBe changes your website’s user experience and makes it more inclusive.

Let us show you how we installed it on Learning Revolution, what happens when you activate it, and how you and your website visitors can get the most value from it.

Run the accessiBe Audit On Your Site

Before using accessiBe, you can run its free AI audit to see if your site complies with WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).

Simply visit the audit tool on accessiBe’s site and enter your URL to start the audit.

Here’s what our site’s audit shows.

accessScan page that says website is compliant

No surprise, we have accessiBe installed on our site which takes care of all the WCAG compliance issues.

If you run this audit on your site, it will assign you a score for different aspects of your site like clickables, titles, carousels, and other elements that impact user experience.

This detailed breakdown shows you exactly where your site lacks in catering to disabled users and how you can improve its accessibility score.

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Installing accessWidget On Your Site

Once you sign up for an accessiBe account, it takes just a few minutes to set up the accessWidget on your site.

Just copy the widget’s installation code to your site’s footer section or the specific pages where you want to apply it. The widget usually appears within a few minutes of adding the code.

This widget appears in the corner of your site and acts as the gateway to all accessiBe features for your users.

AI-Powered Accessibility Analysis

Once the widget is activated, accessiBe’s AI functionality kicks in.

It thoroughly analyzes your site’s visual design elements and coding to do the following:

Understand your site’s purpose and type

accessiBe has data from millions of websites in all industries. Its AI technology analyzes your site to understand its purpose and context, benchmarking it against the standard industry practices and user needs.

For example, if you run an eCommerce site, accessiBe will use AI to understand your site’s products and target audience, and then identify the most critical user experience elements based on its contextual data.

This process usually takes around 48 hours the first time you install accessiBe. But once it’s complete, it ensures your site’s experience is optimized for the most critical user needs.

Identify missing user experience elements

accessiBe’s AI technology identifies all the user experience problems with your site that can impact disabled users.

For example, images without alt tags, videos without captions, menus without labels, and other HTML and coding problems that can prevent screen readers and other disability devices from accessing your site’s content.

Modifying your site’s code and user experience for accessibility

Once accessiBe identifies the user experience problems, it quickly addresses them to ensure your site fully complies with WCAG standards.

For example, if an image on your site doesn’t have alt text, accessiBe uses AI image recognition to process and understand the image content and generate a descriptive alt-text for screen readers.

Similarly, it assigns tags to popups, forums, and navigation items to ensure screen readers can read them accurately for blind users.

It scans your site for any other compliance issues and applies the relevant remedies immediately to ensure an excellent user experience for all your site visitors.

accessiBe also runs daily scans to ensure your site maintains compliance and any new content is accessible to all users.

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Accessibility Profiles

accessiBe has a lot of options for users to customize your site’s appearance and content presentation. 

But it also has pre-defined setting profiles for various disabilities that users can activate to enable the most relevant options from its features.

Accessibility Adjustments with red box around profile with off/on buttons

For example, a user with ADHD can simply activate the ADHD profile to enable all the relevant accessiBe features.

Similarly, users with limited vision can enable the Vision Impaired or Blind User profile for the best user experience.

Each profile is still customizable, so you can dive into accessiBe’s features to enable additional options on top of an active profile.

Custom Accessibility Settings

Apart from the user profiles, accessiBe is packed with a ton of accessibility options that allow users to tailor a website’s content to their needs.

These options are categorized under Content Adjustments, Color Adjustments, and Orientation Adjustments in accessiWidget.

Content Adjustment

Content adjustments screen

This section contains font size, line spacing, text alignment, highlighter, and other options to modify your content’s appearance.

Color Adjustments

Color Adjustments screen

Users can enable dark mode, change a site’s background color themes, and adjust color intensity to improve readability.

Orientation Adjustments

Orientation Adjustments screen

This section contains options to hide images, stop animations, and modify several other page elements to improve the user experience for a disabled person.

How Making Your Content Accessible Can Help You Change Lives

There are numerous examples of how online content has helped people with disabilities find growth opportunities, build businesses, and inspire thousands around the world.

Here’s one of them.

Jon Morrow, the founder of SmartBlogger, created a multi-million-dollar content empire, all while being able to move just his face. He employs dozens of people and has helped thousands start online businesses, collectively generating millions of dollars in sales.

Pic of Jon Morrow in front of a pool
Source

He first wrote about his struggles on Copyblogger back in 2012. His story resonated with millions and inspired numerous people to follow their dreams despite physical disabilities.

What got him started? Free online educational content.

Imagine the impact of the blog posts, videos, or articles someone like you created for free that allowed Jon to pull thousands of people out of hopelessness.

Now imagine how many more people could have benefited from that content if it were accessible to those with other disabilities.

Thanks to accessiBe and other web accessibility tools, you can now create content that serves everyone regardless of their physical condition.

accessiBe Pricing & Free Trial

accessiBe offers monthly and annual subscription plans for its customers. The pricing mainly depends on the number of pages on your site.

Here’s a quick overview of the pricing plans.

  • Standard – $49/month or $490/year for websites under 1000 pages
  • Advanced – $149/month or $1490/year for websites under 10,000 pages
  • Advanced Plus – $349/month or $3490/year for websites under 100,000 pages.
  • Enterprise Plan for websites with more pages.

Each plan comes with a free 7-day trial during which you can play around with accessiBe’s features to see if it’s a good fit for your business.

Hiring a development team to add these features to your site can cost you thousands of dollars. Plus, you’ll need ADA and WCAG compliance experts to audit and certify your site.

In comparison, accessiBe offers these features for a fixed monthly fee. You’ll get a couple of months for free if you choose annual billing.

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The Pros & Cons Of Using accessiBe

We’ve been using accessiBe for a few months and have experienced both its strengths and weaknesses.

Let’s discuss its strengths first.

Robust Web Accessibility Features In One Tool

Instead of hiring developers to add new features or install multiple plugins, you can use accessiBe to get the most critical web accessibility features in one tool. It simplifies website management and saves time.

accessiBe ensures your website complies with ADA, WCAG, and other regulations related to web accessibility. It constantly monitors your site’s content to ensure compliance and makes changes wherever needed.

Expands Your Content’s Reach

Adding accessiBe to our site has allowed us to reach a wider audience and make our resources available to people with reading, hearing, and listening impairments. It’s not only beneficial for our business but also gives us a sense of fulfillment knowing we’re making an impact with our content.

Like any product, accessiBe has a few weaknesses as well.

Its AI Technology Isn’t Perfect

Despite being an excellent product, accessiBe isn’t perfect. Like all AI technology, its features are also evolving which means they can occasionally malfunction. For example, it can occasionally generate incorrect image alt-text or navigation labels. So, it’s important to double-check its changes to your site.

Website Performance Issues

To enable accessiBe on your site, you must add its installation script to your site’s HTML code. This can potentially impact your site’s performance and load speeds. To avoid this, paste the code in your site’s footer or just before the closing body tag, and enable sequential loading using any website performance optimization plugin. This would force browsers to load accessiBe’s script after processing all your critical website code.

Limited Customization

accessiBe’s features might not align with every disabled user’s needs. It has a set of predefined features that don’t offer much room for customization. So, some disabled users might find your site hard to navigate despite using accessiBe.

Data Security

accessiBe’s script is installed on all your website pages which means it can access your traffic data and other critical website information. Some organizations might not be comfortable with this unintended consequence of using a sitewide widget like accessiBe.

Verdict | Is accessiBe Worth Paying For?

accessiBe may not solve every issue related to accessibility but for most businesses, its advantages outweigh its limitations. Inclusivity is critical to what we do as educators and content creators.

With accessiBe we’re not only able to reach a wider audience but also make a greater impact by empowering disabled people with the knowledge to grow in their fields. So we certainly feel it’s worth using accessiBe on your site.

However, some users might find its pricing a bit steep or feel they don’t need some of the features it offers. In that case, you should carefully examine the alternatives and see if you can ensure web accessibility on your site through any other tools or services.

In any case, we would encourage you to sign up for accessiBe’s free 7-day trial and give your website visitors a taste of its features.

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Head shot of Learning Revolution Founder Jeff Cobb

Jeff Cobb, Founder of Learning Revolution

Jeff Cobb is an expert in online education and the business of adult lifelong learning. Over the past 20+ years he has built a thriving career based on that expertise – as an entrepreneur, a consultant, an author, and a speaker. Learning Revolution is a place where Jeff curates tips, insights, and resources to help you build a thriving expertise-based business. Learn more about Jeff Cobb here.

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