eSSENTIAL Accessibility Launches Design Evaluations Based on First-Ever Design-Focused WCAG Rule Library

eSSENTIAL Accessibility (eA), the leading Accessibility-as-a-Service platform, today announced the launch of its newest solution capability, Design Evaluations. Based on the market’s first-ever design-focused Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) rule library, Design Evaluations will identify digital accessibility issues rooted in the design of a digital asset or experience, eliminating barriers well before development begins.

“With Design Evaluations, we’re fundamentally changing how design teams can improve the accessibility of digital experiences,” said Mark Steele, Co-Founder and CEO of eSSENTIAL Accessibility. “Helping organizations identify accessibility errors early in their creative process means teams can catch errors before they become barriers for users in a live environment. And designers will learn from this process, increasing their capacity to build inclusive designs over time.”

Accessibility errors rooted in design are present on the vast majority of websites today. According to a recent WebAIM accessibility evaluation of the homepages for the top million websites, low-contrast text was the most commonly detected WCAG issue. The study reveals it’s present on 84 percent of homepages. Low-contrast text is a design flaw and just one of the WCAG 2.1 AA success criteria that relate to design.

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By identifying and solving accessibility issues in the design phase, teams can solve for the vast majority of accessibility errors. Of the 50 WCAG 2.1 AA success criteria, 41 criteria, or 82 percent, can be addressed, at least partially, in design. eA’s Design Evaluations will flag these WCAG errors, enabling designers to correct them before their website, app, or product advances further in its development lifecycle. This reduces the costs of fixing accessibility errors downstream, and preserves team capacity for other important work.

There are two types of eA Design Evaluations:
  • Digital Brand Evaluations provide design feedback on an organization’s branding style guide, the foundation of its visual identity.
  • Interface Design Evaluations provide feedback on any newly designed pages, screens, or product views.

Design Evaluations are supported by the multi-faceted capabilities of the integrated eA Platform. Organizations can upload designs for analysis to the platform, then monitor status, review results, and receive actionable feedback with guidance and resources, all from one convenient interface.

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