Everything you need to know to ensure that your website is accessible and compliant with accessiBe

accessiBe System
November 10, 2020

So, you’ve decided to use accessiBe on your website. Great choice! accessiBe is a pioneer in automated web accessibility technology and is designed to make that your website is accessible for people with disabilities and compliant with regulation.

In this guide, we’ll take you step-by-step to ensure that you get the most out of accessiBe’s capabilities and that your website’s accessibility is performing at the highest level.

Installing accessiBe

Let’s begin by making sure that accessiBe is installed correctly on your website. To function optimally, you should either use one of our integration plugins or copy and paste our installation code into your template/source code.

If you’ve installed accessiBe using one of our plugins, you are set. The plugins already take care of everything for you. If you’ve used accessiBe’s installation code, then it is important to make sure that accessiBe is installed directly within the body tag of your HTML (it doesn’t matter whether it’s in the opening or closing of the tag). You can also install accessiBe within your head tag, though within the body is more recommended.

Please note: do not load accessiBe in a separate JS file (but directly within your source-code), and do not wrap accessiBe’s script with custom logic like load delays or otherwise, and do not add any custom CSS or JS to override any of accessiBe's functions.

Lastly, as part of accessiBe’s process, it’ll send bots to your website to perform its scanning and analysis. We have servers worldwide, which means that if you block specific geolocations or use firewalls to disallow bots to reach your website, you’ll need to whitelist our application’s domain to ensure that you don’t block accessiBe as well. If you need assistance with that, please reach out to our support team directly.

Testing accessiBe

Now the fun part begins! After we’ve made sure that accessiBe is correctly installed, it’s time to test your website and ensure that the integration went smoothly and that accessiBe runs as it should on your website. 

The reason you would want to test the integration is that, as great and as comprehensive as our AI is, it can still miss a few things here and there. Like all software, bugs are rare but may still exist, and if they do, we’d want to catch and address them promptly.

To test the integration, we’ve prepared a dedicated testing guide that’ll take you through all the necessary steps, from start to finish, to test your website thoroughly. The testing guide is written for non-technical people, and it covers keyboard navigation, screen-reader adjustments, UI and design-related adjustments, and automated testing and monitoring.

Visit our guide: DIY: the full guide to testing your website’s accessibility, WCAG, and ADA compliance level

Of course, if you have any questions, or if you’ve found any issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team for help!

accessiBe’s best practices and general accessibility recommendations

In the following section, we’ll provide you with some best practices for integrating accessiBe and recommendations that’ll help you achieve the highest accessibility level.

Ensuring Image descriptions are accurate

Image descriptions, also known as alt text (or an HTML alt attribute), are used by screen readers to describe an image’s contents to a blind user. As you probably already know, accessiBe uses AI to provide such descriptions for images that weren’t manually added by the website owner.

The way it works is simple: our AI (computer vision) engine creates an alt text from the objects that appear in the image and the embedded text. For example, an image of people playing with a ball on the beach with the text “50% off beachwear” will receive an alt text like: “50% off beachwear. People playing football on the beach during daytime”.

AI is a great way to describe an image for a blind person but as good as AI is, it doesn’t always have the context people have. For example, those people on the beach may be famous football players like Messi and Ronaldo who advertise a specific sale. An AI will know that people are there, but it will not know who they are or their names, which is sometimes an important piece of information to convey to the user. 

Although accessiBe’s AI descriptions are indeed accessible and compliant, to ensure the best possible user experience, we recommend providing your own alt texts that comprehensively describe an image, including the objects, people, names, and texts within it, and rely on accessiBe’s AI as a fallback method.

Ensuring manual accessibility work doesn’t override accessiBe’s

As a policy, accessiBe honors manual accessibility work that is implemented and doesn’t override it because it takes into considerations that if you’ve expressly and explicitly implemented accessibility adjustments, you would want it to remain intact. 

This way, we enable website owners and coders to incorporate accessibility in more ways than one. Websites can implement manual work either as complementary to accessiBe or the opposite, depending on their knowledge, skills, and budgets.

Therefore, if you’ve implemented manual accessibility adjustments without a proper understanding of how web accessibility works, and your manual work is incorrect, it won’t always be overridden by accessiBe (it will override it in some cases, but mostly it won’t). 

We fully support and are happy if our customers take part in the accessibility process. Keep in mind to make sure that you know what you are doing, and we are always glad to help guide you if you are not sure.

Reporting and resolving accessibility issues

In case you, your development team, or even a user have found an accessibility issue, we’d love to learn about that promptly so we can look into it, understand the reasons behind it, and solve it. Our customer service and technical support teams are your best point of contact to report any such issue, and you can do that by emailing support@accessibe.com Please make sure that your email includes the following pieces of information:

  1. A direct link to the page where the issue occurs.
  2. Step-by-step instructions to reproducing the issue on that page.
  3. The assistive technology that was used (JAWS, NVDA, VoiceOver, etc.) or none.

Going beyond automation

As you know, accessiBe is the world’s most comprehensive web accessibility solution. Your website may include elements that are not a part of your website’s source code. Therefore accessiBe does not automate their remediation yet and they require an additional service. Please reach out to our customer service if you have one of the following so we can provide you a separate quote:

  • PDF, PPT, or Excel files
  • Media such as video and audio (those require closed captions and or audio descriptions and or transcripts)
  • If your organization requires a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template)

Other than that, accessiBe provides services that you may want to consider, such as comprehensive accessibility audits, accessibility inspections, consultancy, and more. If you are interested in any of these services, please visit our services page to learn more.

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