For the last few years, our agency has been working closely with our clients to help remediate accessibility issues with their websites to come under the WCAG 2.1 guidelines. Accessibility is an ongoing process. We encourage website owners to treat it as you would security updates.

Recently, we have noticed new tools that can help make websites more accessible – quickly! There are several widgets that have hit the market. They provide a variety of functions such as keyboard navigation and assistive screen readers. They also include options to manipulate the page such as increasing the text size, color contrast, text spacing, and highlighting links to make it easier for users to view the page. Basically, they provide an overlay which manipulates the web page you are on to conform to the WCAG 2.1 standard. It’s like a band-aid as they don’t permanently fix any issues, but they certainly can augment your efforts to make your website more accessible. It’s also another “visual” indicator for visitors that you are taking accessibility seriously!

After some research and comparison, we have landed on two that we have suggested to our site owners to consider. You may want to do your own research as well on the plethora of widgets now available. Here’s a brief overview:


UserWay

Userway is the cost-friendly option. If you want, it’s free! It includes a variety of accessibility functions right out of the box. It’s also easy to install– add a quick script or install it with a WordPress plugin. If you need an accessibility statement on your site (which we highly recommend you should have), Userway has a quick generator that has you covered.

If you want more control over the widget itself, Userway does offer paid add-ons such as branding, widget options, or analytics for only $10/month for each option. 

  • Free Accessibility Widget that displays on all pages of the site
  • Paid options ($10/month for each feature and for each site–$40/month total (if all options are added)
    • White labeling (removes all Userway Branding)
    • Custom Branding (if you want to add your company’s logo)
    • Analytics to view widget usage
    • Menu Modifying (change/reorder UserWay’s widget options)
  • Free Usability Statement Generator

AccessiBe

Accessibe offers a widget similar to Userway, but in addition, claims to use AI and notes a 96% remediation success rate which we didn’t see claimed on other accessibility tools we researched. With this, it does come with a cost depending on the size of your site. While the cost may seem high, it is definitely less than hiring a developer to manually research and fix ongoing issues. Accessibe will continuously scan your website every 24 hours and automatically fix accessibility issues your website may have. This is great to constantly have your site reviewed as your site evolves. It also includes an accessibility statement along with certification so your customers really know how serious accessibility is to you.

  • Starts at $490/year
  • Includes options that allow you to customize the look of the widget to match your website’s theme
  • Advanced AI intelligence for screen reader and keyboard navigation functionality
  • Advanced widget features that allow users fine-grain control to help them use your site to meet their needs
  • Scans every 24 hours for issues and dynamically fixes them without manual intervention
  • Includes accessibility certification

Toolbar Comparison

UserwayAccessibe
Widget with Accessibility ToolsXX
CostFree for widget; add-ons $10/month each ($40/month max)Starts $490 (less than 1,000 webpages)
Accessibility StatementXX
Accessibility CertificationX
Easy to InstallXX
Dynamically fixes accessibility issues on your siteX
Widget CustomizationTools available with paid optionsUpdate branding

Conclusion

Not doing anything to make your website more accessible is not an option in our opinion. Permanent fixes to any code issues are best, but now you have the additional option to integrate an accessibility widget. These solutions will not affect the website template itself but are overlays to dynamically fix issues and give users accessibility tools without incurring additional development costs.


Jim Dennis

Partner, Chief Operating Officer

With over 20 years experience building internet based businesses, Jim is the agency’s lead technology and Web Development strategy liaison. Jim excels at helping clients understand how digital marketing and its measurable advantages can significantly impact their business. This has helped lead to significant growth of the agency and being recognized the last three years as one of Rochester’s Top 100 fastest growing companies.