----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 2021 9:03 AM
Subject: Re: [BlindTech] audio eyes?
If you are talking about AudioEye, the web accessibility company, then I think very little of them and all the other like companies.
I will explain a personal experience with their platform and then paste the NFB resolution regarding them and other companies like them from this year’s convention. I am not with the NFB, and was pleased to discover we agree on this one, 😊.
Our acupuncturist has been working with her billing/booking group to make it more accessible after I gave her some feedback about how impossible it is for me to schedule an appointment etc.
She was starting to work with AccessiBe, a company much like AudioEye, see the resolution below. She had me look at their template. It was awful! It was completely, over-the-top complicated. If any decent web designer pays attention to the basic accessibility rules for web design, they can design a perfectly good web site without so much extra garbage.
I also looked at a web site by AudioEye thinking maybe they would be a better choice for her group, and it was the same thing.
Now, as tedious as reading Resolutions may be, I encourage you and anyone else to read through the entire NFB Resolution I’m pasting here.
Regarding the Use of Overlays to Make Websites Accessible to the Blind
Proponent: Curtis Chong
WHEREAS, companies such as EqualWeb, Max Access, UserWay, TruAbilities, AudioEye, and accessiBe are deploying overlays as a strategy to automate the task of making websites accessible—i.e., compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and
WHEREAS, to make websites nonvisually accessible, overlays are intended among other things to identify unlabeled graphics and automatically attach readable text descriptions to them; to enable keyboard activation of links, buttons, expandable/collapsible menus, and other controls which have been incorrectly coded to be triggered only with a mouse; and to insert header tags (often used by the blind for quick and efficient navigation on web pages) where the print is highlighted or enlarged and not already marked as a heading; and
WHEREAS, in achieving nonvisual access, overlays today have their limitations; for example, they cannot determine when a picture that would be described generically as “two people standing in front of a building” should be described as “Sarah and George standing in front of Macy’s department store”; they cannot automatically add audio description to a video presentation; they can inappropriately apply headings to text that is not intended to function as a heading; they can misinterpret the layout of a table and improperly handle row or column headings; and they cannot accurately solve an inaccessible visual CAPTCHA; and
WHEREAS, the current inability of overlays to perform all of the tasks critical to nonvisual access means that, while they may help to make certain parts of a website nonvisually accessible, they alone cannot guarantee full nonvisual access to every website where they are deployed; and
WHEREAS, companies deploying overlays have attracted hundreds of thousands of customers by fostering the false idea that with one easy operation (e.g., inserting a small amount of code) their websites will be accessible and fully compliant with prevailing web content accessibility guidelines and, further, that they will be protected from lawsuits; and
WHEREAS, the companies deploying overlays have not, in any meaningful way, engaged with the accessibility community, not to mention the organized blind, to learn from a broad base of consumers whether or not overlays really improve the accessibility of websites; and
WHEREAS, as the use of overlays has grown, blind people have encountered an increasing number of websites where they have been prompted to turn on an accessibility or screen reader mode by pressing ALT+1, ALT+0, or some other key combination, but there is no readily-available information to tell them whose overlay is operating, how to report problems with the use of the overlay, whether or not the overlay is actually turned on, and how to disable the overlay if it isn’t working as expected; and
WHEREAS, some of the overlays which are supposed to improve the accessibility of the websites where they are installed present accessibility options (e.g., screen reader profile or anti-seizure profile) which are themselves not accessible to screen-reader users; and
WHEREAS, the lack of helpful information and the presence of inaccessible overlay controls leave people with disabilities without the means to provide feedback and suggestions, use the overlay effectively, or report problems related to the overlay; and
WHEREAS, given the large customer base which some overlay providers enjoy, it is certain that the blind will encounter more and more websites where overlays are employed, ostensibly to improve accessibility; consequently, there is a compelling need for us to obtain direct, hands-on experience with the various overlays on the market today in order to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each overlay product and to identify those overlay providers whose technology might actually offer real and sustainable nonvisual access to websites and web-based applications; and
WHEREAS, the blind continue to fall behind as the number of websites created and deployed far outpaces the number of websites which we can confidently declare to be usable and accessible, and thus any solution which gives the blind true nonvisual access is welcome: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this tenth day of July, 2021, that this organization call upon overlay developers and their paying customers to engage with the National Federation of the Blind and the broader accessibility community to ensure that overlays are developed and implemented in ways that truly improve access to websites; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization insist that current and potential overlay customers recognize that complete and long-lasting accessibility requires more than a one-time installation of code; that accessibility should be a priority throughout the entire lifecycle of any product from design to full implementation; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization condemn and deplore the unethical practices of overlay providers which attempt to convince website owners that overlays are the easiest and most affordable way to protect a website owner from lawsuits and make their websites accessible and compliant with the WCAG; and we demand that overlay providers stop making misleading, unproven, and unethical claims which falsely inflate the value and effectiveness of their technology; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization demand that companies which develop and deploy overlays to improve accessibility design their overlays to enable users to:
- know that an overlay is available,
- determine when an overlay is operating and when it is not,
- activate or deactivate an overlay as needed,
- configure the overlay to meet specific disability requirements (e.g., screen-reader mode or contrast adjustment) using fully accessible controls, and
- obtain information to contact the overlay provider.
“Reality is the leading cause of stress for those who are in touch with it.” – Jane Wagner
My Web site: https://www.turner42.com
Has anyone heard of a business called audio eyes, or audio eye? What does anyone think of them and are they what they profess to be? Thanks.
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher