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30 Fabulous Companies of the Year 2021
Feb 15, 2021
A world leader and a pioneer in web accessibility, focused on helping people with disabilities to access digital information: EqualWeb. In the physical world, access for people with disabilities must be ensured. The same goes for the digital world – especially in the times of COVID. People with disabilities and the elderly must be allowed the same access, information, and ability to perform actions on stores and websites as anyone else. With over a quarter of the US population having some sort of disability, this is a market that cannot be ignored. This is the market that EqualWeb is addressing through its groundbreaking accessibility technology, which offers advanced functionalities that enable individuals living with various disabilities to browse the web in a secure way.
It is interesting to see how EqualWeb prioritizes the client. The company’s typical client onboarding process begins with evaluating the customer’s website before proceeding with any remediation widgets. It then issues a report to highlight the changes required to make the website/mobile app accessible. After ensuring that the site meets WCAG standards, EqualWeb issues an accessibility certificate to be placed at the site.
We recently interviewed Amos Lavi, Vice President of Sales and Strategy at EqualWeb. He talked to us about the need for online accessibility and how it is high time that the online experience was crafted to help the elderly and people with disabilities. We couldn’t agree more. Read on for excerpts from the interview.
Accessibility was always close to our hearts. In Israel, we have a large community of army service veterans due to mandatory service. It is estimated that 30% of veterans have some kind of disability, which also affects their friends and family. We are on a mission to provide equal web access to all people with disabilities.
Q. Explain your specialization in accessibility and advanced internet applications in brief. EqualWeb has created a proprietary technology that automatically remediates issues of web accessibility, issues determined by the W3C - World Wide Web Consortium, and guided by the WCAG – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Without interfering with the already running website’s architecture or modifying existing codes, we integrate our overlay widget solutions into client websites to create a digitally inclusive channel for media consumption. Our team of IT experts then meticulously scan the customers’ site to unearth issues that may hinder web accessibility. Our machine learning algorithms identify and analyze inconsistencies in data patterns. Then, we introduce accessibility rules that fit customers’ code, content, and style. With a single line of code at the back end, EqualWeb fulfills the entirety of the site’s accessibility needs.
Q. As time goes on, website developers are not just dealing with changing technology but also with ever-changing requirements too. How do you manage to stay relevant and updated? We are always on the lookout for new technologies to incorporate into our widget service. Whether it’s a page image scanner for an automatic ALT text generator for the blind or voice command technologies, we always try to go well and beyond the legal requirements while keeping an eye on user usability.
Q. What sets EqualWeb apart from the other companies offering a similar service? There are a few accessibility tools today; some are even offered for free. However, most of them usually do more harm than good by interfering and blocking blind users’ text reader software due to poor development; in worst cases, they also collect user data for malicious purposes. EqualWeb has worked for digital accessibility for over six years now. Our technology allows users to select from 27 accessibility functions to create the optimal browsing experience, regardless of disability or personal limitation. No user’s data is being collected in the process. We are trusted by banks, government sites and well-known brands worldwide.
Q. Corona virus has upended people’s lives. What is your contribution to helping people overcome such difficult times? I believe our technology will help connect people with disabilities to the digital world more than ever before, especially now when we are forced to stay home. The web is our only connection to the outside world. Having an accessible website will keep this community engaged and not alone. We are also getting a lot of feedback from the elderly, who now can use our solution to better understand and interact with their favorite website and needed public services.
Q. What are your trajectories for the next five years? Accessibility regulations must be implemented in all countries around the world. Many lack the awareness or simply fear the market response and the unexpected extra costs of having an accessible website. We believe and hope that in the next five years, we will be able to introduce our affordable and fast deployed solution all over the world and help people with disabilities benefit themselves and their community.
The Leader Upfront Amos Lavi, Vice President of Sales and Strategy: Amos is experienced in business management and development in the field of Enterprise Software Solutions, SAAS, and B2B. As VP of sales and strategy, he was responsible for EqualWeb’s expanding into new markets and having big names add accessibility tool to their website’s navigation option.
“EqualWeb has created a proprietary technology that automatically remediates issues of web accessibility.”
“Accessibility regulations must be implemented in all countries around the world.”
From now on, users can access accessibility functions like Voice Navigation, Color Adjustments, and Image Descriptors, among others. The Fnac website is now more accessible for users with different types of disabilities, including seniors.
Closed captions for videos and audio content enable people with hearing impairments to understand the content. EqualWeb has become the first web accessibility vendor to provide a video and audio closed captions option for people with disabilities as part of its automatic services.
The unique benefit of the function is that it’s entirely automatic. Moreover, as the website owner, you can modify the automatic generic text if you find a mismatch between the video and the text (the AI may miss a few words here and there), using the Captions Editor in your dashboard.
The closed captions function includes a simple on-and-off activation button, a rating vote for feedback purposes, a new transcription window over the video or audio element, and a captions download option. The captions’ font conforms to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 standards for easily accessible fonts.
An accessible design for a website means that the website is designed and developed in a way that makes it usable and understandable for people with disabilities. This includes people with visual, auditory, physical, cognitive, and neurological disabilities.