Digital accessibility awareness and corresponding lawsuits have both been steadily increasing for the past several years. Unfortunately, digital accessibility has a steep learning curve that can make it difficult for businesses to understand how to address it.
For years, that steep learning curve has come at a hefty cost: businesses have had to pay extremely high prices in exchange for a digital accessibility company’s expertise. That high price point has only contributed to the gatekeeping of digital accessibility services from the majority of businesses and organizations that need them.
ABILITY, Digital Accessibility Co. is changing that.
Headquartered in downtown Eugene, Oregon, ABILITY is a leader in the digital accessibility industry. The company has almost a decade of experience in the digital accessibility industry and has benefited from years of steady growth.
All those years of experience have allowed ABILITY to strengthen their offerings and double down on the importance of their mission: to bring digital accessibility solutions – and accessibility education – to businesses of all shapes and sizes.
To accomplish that, ABILITY integrates innovative technology and AI with human led auditing to keep customer prices down without sacrificing quality of service. “Our previous experience as a digital agency gave us an advantage over our competitors in the accessibility industry. We entered this industry with the intention of disrupting the ‘good ol’ boys’ club,” said co-founder
Zack Poelwijk, who also serves as ABILITY’s Director of Client Success.
“We’re laser focused on efficiencies at every turn. This has allowed us to provide an accessibility compliance service that is superior to our peers, at much more reasonable costs. Our growth since 2020 speaks for itself.”
Over the past 36 months specifically, ABILITY has seen very rapid growth. Poelwijk attributes that growth to providing a service that is equal to, if not superior to, their industry peers – and also currently leading the industry in pricing.
ABILITY’s decision to keep pricing low ensures that businesses and government agencies themselves have access to the educational tools, skilled experts, and effective solutions they need in order to offer a digitally accessible platform to their users.
The Insights that Led to Success
Co-founders Shaylor Murray and Zack Poelwijk ventured into the digital accessibility field back in 2014 when they started building digitally accessible websites for clients – in addition to launching their first digital accessibility product. As they encouraged more and more clients to address their accessibility, Murray and Poelwijk noticed that there were specific pain points keeping businesses from taking action. There were two major barriers to entry:
1. The technology and jargon surrounding the industry was complex, which confused and
intimidated businesses who truly needed the accessibility work done.
2. The cost of any sort of digital accessibility help, advice, or solution was extremely high.
In response, the pair structured their business around addressing and/or eliminating these issues for the client: ABILITY offers an industry-leading level of customer service, in addition to providing educational tools to help clients’ internal teams understand digital accessibility best
practices. The company also strives to keep pricing at a lower, more feasible level for businesses.
ABILITY offers several core services to support businesses and government organizations of every size and any accessibility need. These services include:
● Human-led auditing and independent certification of accessibility conformance, which is the most thorough solution that satisfies legal requirements, in addition to offering the highest level of usability to people with disabilities,
● Max Access, a low-cost accessibility overlay that offers partial and supplemental accessibility support for small businesses
● A Partner Agency Program that provides educational tools, videos, and resources to developers and agencies around the world.
Throughout the past 36 months, ABILITY’s increased growth has garnered them attention, and more importantly, business, with some of the biggest brands in the world. ABILITY has worked with a client roster that includes major brands such as Wal-Mart, Bank of America, Chrysler, California State Parks, the federal government of Canada, and the state of Colorado, among many others.
As of 2023, ABILITY has accumulated hundreds of customers around the globe. They are now active in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
The Importance of Digital Accessibility
Digital accessibility is the action or practice of making your digital content accessible to people with disabilities. To become digitally accessible, you must remove any and all digital barriers that prevent people with disabilities from using websites, apps, or other digital content.
Despite 16% of the global population living with a disability, a recent study found that less than 4% of websites are accessible to people with disabilities.
This means that 96% of websites are failing accessibility requirements.
In the United States specifically, the number of businesses addressing their web accessibility has increased dramatically over the past 3 years, particularly after the Supreme Court sided with a blind man against major pizza chain Domino’s right before the pandemic hit. After six total years of back and forth litigation, the lawsuit was finally settled last year. By providing a high level of digital accessibility, a website will support a more equal and inclusive digital experience for all web users. Descriptive alt-text for images, accurate menu and page hierarchy for screen readers, and proper color contrast ratios are among many essential accessibility components that allow users to engage with digital content.
If you have a business or organization of any size, we encourage you to address your digital accessibility sooner rather than later. That is especially true for businesses in countries with digital accessibility laws or countries experiencing an increase in lawsuits, including the United States.
Businesses and organizations in the hospitality, finance, e-commerce, retail, and healthcare industries should also ensure that their digital assets are accessible. These industries, specifically are seeing higher rates of litigation.
Having a digitally accessible website will benefit your current customers and increase your sales. Ultimately, though, it’s simply the right thing to do. Every person, especially those who have routinely been excluded or dismissed like people with disabilities, should have equal access to the internet.
About ABILITY, Digital Accessibility Co.
ABILITY is a leader in the digital accessibility industry, specializing in human-led auditing, accessibility certification, and software-as-a-service solutions that are rooted in WCAG conformance and ADA compliance. They help companies address accessibility issues on their websites and maintain compliance with ever-evolving accessibility requirements. ABILITY’s mission is to create a more inclusive, equal digital world and empower companies with the necessary tools to enhance their accessibility. ABILITY is the only digital accessibility consultancy based in Oregon, and one of just a few in all of North America. To learn more, visit onlineada.com.