Differentiating between website accessibility companies can be difficult so let’s run through a few of the categories.
In one category we have the largest accessibility companies. We have Level Access, The Paciello Group, and we have Deque.
And these are all legitimate providers. And at the core of their offering will be a manual audit and then you- it will likely be up to you to remediate your digital assets.
So it could be a website, it could be a mobile app, etc.
Remediation will be up to you but you will remediate based on the issues found in their audit.
And, of course, there are other supplemental products and services that are offered but the key is that they do offer a manual audit, they are legitimate companies.
And they also importantly- they are targeting enterprise clients so these companies are going to work with some of the largest corporations in the world.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have the worst vendors possible because they’re selling lies.
And so what I’m referring to are accessibility overlays.
You may have also heard the term widgets, accessibility widgets.
Sometimes the words “plugins”, “apps”, or “software” are mixed in and this is- there are, there are different meanings to these words but basically when it comes to overlays, the premise is that they are an automated “solution”.
And I have solution in quotes because they are not a solution at all.
They amount to fake accessibility, faux accessibility, pretend accessibility.
I’ve deemed it fugazi accessibility. It’s a fake, it’s not real, it’s the illusion of accessibility.
So what these widgets are meant to do is they are meant to sell to website owners but they are not meant to make a website accessible.
To make a website accessible, you have to remediate the code and the content.
You can’t simply install a widget and think that a few automated adjustments to a website can make it accessible.
So these overlay widgets primarily target small businesses but, of course, they would love to have any enterprise fall for them and so that they can put the enterprise logo on their website for social proof.
And then also, we have a few more options and I’ll cover just two groups.
One group I have circled in the center is it’s comprised of Monsido, SiteImprove, CrownPeak, and there may be a few others.
It’s very difficult to extract what exactly these agencies do for accessibility.
They are in the accessibility space to some extent, but when you read their offering it is very difficult to extract meaning.
But as far as I could tell they revolve mostly around an automated scan and so they’re holding that scan as premium and then they present the reports to you in a nice way.
They may offer maintenance but then they also offer other products and services like SEO, website security, and etc.
So what’s important to know about automated scans is you don’t need to pay for them because practically it doesn’t really make sense.
You can’t remediate that many pages of your website simultaneously so you don’t need to have 100- scans of 100 different pages.
It just doesn’t make any sense practically.
So there’s very little value here.
I wouldn’t say they’re illegitimate, it’s just that they’re not they’re not helpful.
They’re very- the value is low it’s it’ll be marginal benefit.
From this middle group and then, of course, you’ll have different smaller agencies, small businesses, you’ll have freelancers and they will also offer accessibility services.
Many are legitimate.
Some- yeah, I would say most of these are legitimate; they won’t point you to overlays.
But you do have to realize that some are illegitimate in the sense that they will give you a bad service or a bad product.
They might- the deliverables won’t actually help you with the accessibility.
They may be- in fact they may be repackaging scans that they scan for free and then present them to you as an audit.
Importantly, an audit is a formal manual evaluation of a website- of a website’s accessibility issues.
It is not the result of a scan.
A scan can be had for free.
And I will link to several resources in the in the description on YouTube.
But this is a good rundown of what you can expect and these companies aren’t necessarily competing with one another, it’s more that they’re offering- they have different offerings in the same space.