Applause, the worldwide leader in digital quality and crowdsourced testing, today released its new Applause Accessibility Tool that automatically finds and fixes key accessibility issues earlier in the software development lifecycle. The tool comes out of Applause Labs, the company’s innovation engine housing its research and development (R&D) and new initiatives.
Accessibility in digital environments lags behind the physical world, which is a problem for the estimated one billion people globally living with a disability. As more activities become primarily digital, dramatic improvements in digital accessibility are needed.
The Applause Accessibility Tool, available for free download now, integrates seamlessly into the web development process and helps developers identify and resolve a subset of key accessibility issues almost immediately by providing an automated fix or recommendation to resolve each issue, reducing the time and resources associated with fixing issues discovered later in the development process.
“Digital accessibility is critically important for all brands today – both from a business perspective and for the greater good of consumers and digital experiences,” said Doron Reuveni, Founder and CEO of Applause. “We understand how essential accessibility is, and that is why we are investing so much effort into providing inclusive experiences for all users. Not only does the Applause Accessibility Tool find and fix key issues during the development process, it also educates developers so that the accessibility of apps and websites is improved on a continuing basis.”
The Applause Accessibility Tool complements the company’s existing accessibility testing offering. While the tool can help identify and fix common issues early in the SDLC – resulting in significant time and cost savings – manual evaluation by accessibility experts is required to fully evaluate digital experiences and ensure they are compliant with regulations and guidelines.
Applause’s team of accessibility experts is trained in accessibility laws and standards, and the full suite of human-driven testing processes that should be leveraged alongside the Applause Accessibility Tool.
“In a way, accessibility is about survival. We can do almost all daily activities online – everything from paying bills to buying plane tickets. Yet, while the move to digital is supposed to make life easier and more convenient, the opposite can actually be true if digital accessibility isn’t considered early in the process,” said Jonathan Zaleski, Head of Applause Labs. “Accessibility is for everyone, and this new tool will help put accessibility front of mind for developers, making it easier than ever before to identify and fix some of the most common digital accessibility issues early on.”
Applause recently conducted a global survey of over 100 QA professionals on how their companies address digital accessibility. While most respondents indicated that digital accessibility was either a high or very high priority, more than half admitted their company’s website didn’t meet, or they were unsure if it met, WCAG 2.1 standards. The top mistakes respondents continue to see on websites include error alerts not being descriptive, site and page structures that are unclear, and sites that cannot be navigated via keyboard.
For businesses, there is both a moral and financial incentive to make digital experiences more inclusive. According to UsableNet, there was one ADA lawsuit case filed every hour in 2019 against inaccessible websites. Businesses are also potentially missing out on a large audience of customers by not providing inclusive experiences, as an estimated 15% of the world’s population lives with a disability.