According to American Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III, every business website has to be accessible to people with disabilities, or it will be at risk of being sued and facing unnecessary legal expenses.
So, how do you get your website to be ADA compliant? Until recently there was no reasonable option for anyone other than the largest enterprise companies to make websites accessible. You had to manually updated your website.
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However, now there are companies releasing cost-effective technology backed by artificial intelligence to bring a site up to compliance. One of those companies is UserWay.
In this review, we'll look at UserWay's Automated Web Accessibility Solution, discuss how it works, and share our personal thoughts on its pros and cons.
Table of Contents
UserWay creates advanced website accessibility solutions that help ensure ADA compliance without refactoring your website's existing code.
With UserWay's RaaS™ (Remediation as a Service™) technology you can effortlessly increase compliance with WCAG 2.1, ADA, ATAG 2.0, EN 301-549, and Section 508 regulations as required by US & international governmental & regulatory bodies.
UserWay is led by a world class team with decades of experience with complex accessibility protocols, delivery of large scale systems and innovation that pushes the envelope. We are lucky to have some of the world's leading engineers, entrepreneurs, and visionaries who are defining the future of digital accessibility for us all.
How Does UserWay Work?
UserWay utilizes two applications that together achieve compliance: the interface and AI-powered processes.
UserWay's interface is a session-based design and UI adjustment tool that makes accessibility modifications based on a user's individual needs. All adjustments are compliant with WCAG 2.1 AA & AAA requirements.
UserWay's AI machine learning technology uses contextual understanding and computer vision to address the complex, back-end requirements needed for screen reader and keyboard navigation adjustments.
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After the initial remediation, you’ll receive an accessibility statement, also visible within the interface, that confirms your website’s compliance status to all site visitors.
The Accessibility Interface
The interface is designed to address accessibility requirements relating to the UI, design, and readability of your website.
Here are some of UserWay's interface’s capabilities:
- Font handling – users can increase and decrease font size, change type, adjust spacing, alignment, line height, and more.
- Color handling – users can select various color contrast profiles such as light, dark, inverted, and monochrome. Additionally, users can swap color schemes of titles, texts, and backgrounds.
- Animations – users with epilepsy can stop all running animations at the click of a button. This includes videos, GIFs and CSS flashing transitions.
- Content highlighting – users can emphasize important elements, such as links and titles. They can also highlight particular focused or hovered elements.
- Audio muting – users with hearing devices may experience headaches or other issues due to automatic audio playing. This option allows users to mute the entire website instantly.
- On-demand dictionary – UserWay utilizes a search engine that is linked to Merriam-Webster, allowing people with cognitive disorders to decipher meanings of phrases, initials, and slang on the spot.
- Other options – users can change the cursor’s color and sizing, view in printing mode, enable a virtual keyboard, and much more.
The AI Application
UserWay uses contextual understanding, OCR, and image recognition AI technologies to address the complex requirements needed for screen reader and keyboard navigation adjustments. Prior to ADA compliance widgets like UserWay, these could only be achieved manually, with long, complex, and costly projects.
The AI automatically rescans a website every 24 hours after the initial remediation to ensure that all content updates and adjustments made to a website are accessible and compliant as well.
Who Uses UserWay?
Virtually any business with a website can benefit from using UserWay.
Their technology was developed as an affordable and easy solution for smaller businesses to meet ADA compliance. However, they have grown into one of the leaders in the automated accessibility space.
Today, UserWay has helped over 700,000 websites, including some larger enterprise websites and eCommerce businesses including:
- The YMCA
- Coca Cola
- Land Rover
What Does UserWay Cost? (UserWay Pricing)
The cost of UserWay will ultimately depend on the monlthy pageviews your website gets and whether you choose to pay monthly or annually. Their plans range from $49 to $329 per month.
Here is UserWay's pricing levels explained:
- Small Business – $49/month (For websites up to 100k monthly pageviews)
- Medium Business – $129/month (For websites up to 1 million monthly pageviews)
- Large Business – $329 /month (For websites up to 10 million monthly pageviews)
- Enterprise – Custom pricing (For websites over 10 million monthly pageviews)
All plans can be purchased annually and are eligible for a 2-month discount. Based on my experience, the vast majority of websites will fall under the Small Business package. One important thing to note is that the pricing is based on a single domain. That means if you have multiple websites, you'll need to make additional purchases for each.
Each paid plan comes with:
- Full suite of AI-powered accessibility functions
- WCAG 2.1 AA, ADA, Section 508 compliance
- Continuous real-time accessibility monitoring
- Fully customizable widget
- Evergreen, always-on cloud updates
- Immediate compliance, no advanced “prep” time
- Accessibility Statement
UserWay also offers a free 10-day trial as well.
Like many other businesses I started looking into ADA website compliance soon after hearing about some big accessibility lawsuits like Dominos (Robles v. Domino’s Pizza), Five Guys (Lucia Markett v. Five Guys), Hobby Lobby (Sean Gorecki v. Hobby Lobby), and Winn-Dixie (Gil vs. Winn-Dixie) grocery store who had to pay $105K.
All of those lawsuits involved visually impaired people trying to access the company's website and were filed under ADA Title III. This is the “public access” section of ADA compliance.
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I am NOT a lawyer, so I started speaking to a number of industry experts, consultants, and companies that specialize in ensuring websites are fully ADA compliant. What I soon found out was that this was not strictly a BIG company problem. This was a global business problem.
I found out that a few small businesses, Mom & Pop type shops, were getting hit with these same lawsuits. They were getting absolutely crippled and that really hit home with me.
Because of this shift, I searched for effective and simple solutions to bring a website up to compliance. At first, I had a tough time finding anything. Businesses could either:
- Pay a developer for manual web accessibility coding. This was ridiculously expensive ($5,000 to $15,000 per project). It was also slow and to deploy and required a lot of quality assurance testing. On top of that, it only provided a band-aid for compliance as we know it today, not the future.
- Install a web accessibility plugin – This only works for some websites depending on the content management system (CMS). It also achieves only 20% compliance (roughly) making you vulnerable to lawsuits since it does not abide by the legislative guidelines.
But thanks to multiple Google searches, I came across UserWay. And I was absolutely sold from the jump.
What I love about UserWay is that it is an automatic, simple, and affordable solution. The vast majority of small businesses cannot afford the big price tag of hiring a custom developer to do everything you need to do bring a website up to compliance. The list is staggering.
On average, UserWay runs most businesses around $49/month. And it provides an AI-driven system that can achieve full ADA compliance within 48 hours. Because I manage multiple sites, I needed something that was easy to deploy, but something that would no impact usability.
I was thoroughly impressed with UserWay's easy of installation. It took me less than 5-minutes to customize the widget and deploy on our website. Here's a brief video showing the configuration settings:
Overall, I really like UserWay so far. The widget is small enough to be non-intrusive and getting the accessibility statement quickly put my ease at mind. The added protection of litigation support is an added bonus that I don't believe any other automated solution has been able to match so far.
ADA compliance is a hot button topic as of late. As such, a number of accessibility solutions have come on the market. Based on our experience, the top UserWay alternatives are:
- accessiBe – Read our review
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an accessibility widget?
Accessibility widgets are automated web solutions that help bring a website up to ADA & WCAG Compliance. These widgets provide businesses with a customizable interface that can serve inclusive experiences for the elderly, visually impaired, blind, and virtually anybody with a disability.
Is UserWay ADA compliant?
Yes, the paid version of UserWay’s AI-Powered Accessibility Widget provides full ADA and WCAG 2.1 compliance.
Is UserWay free?
UserWay has a free 10-day trial.
How much does UserWay cost?
The most popular paid version of UserWay costs $49 per month. There are other pricing options that go up in pricing based on your website's monthly pageviews.
How do I install UserWay?