How creative AI tools like ChatGPT can improve web accessibility


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From using desktop software to solve corporate problems or scrolling through your social media feed in the supermarket checkout line, online communication is everywhere. in Less than two decadesInternet users from only 0.4% of the world’s population will grow to 69% by 2022.

In America, 85% of Americans say they go online On a daily basis, more than a third report being online “almost constantly.” Meanwhile, 90% of Americans The Internet is “important or important to them,” they say, allowing them to stay informed, productive, connected, and entertained.

However, for people with disabilities, accessing online content can often be a frustrating, complex, or even impossible experience.

Companies, government agencies, and website owners have a legal and ethical responsibility to make their platforms accessible to everyone. Fortunately, generative AI technologies like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard can change the narrative and revolutionize how we deliver web accessibility.


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The current state of web accessibility

Despite efforts made to improve web accessibility over the years, internet access is not accessible to everyone. WebAIM 2022 Accessibility Report It showed that only one in four websites passed basic accessibility standards. Web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG)

Therefore, millions of users with disabilities face significant barriers when accessing online content.

The consequences of this accessibility gap are significant. Inaccessible websites prevent people with disabilities from accessing important information and services, participating in online activities, and connecting with others. This limits their opportunities and reinforces their social and economic exclusion.

The results are replicated across enterprise companies, digital platforms and government agencies. Ronza Othman, an attorney at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in Baltimore, said she couldn’t navigate the agency’s digital ecosystem blindly without considering the digital transformation’s accessibility standards. She expressed her disappointment. Politics, “I am a lawyer. I have a master’s degree in government and non-profit management. I raise kids, but I can’t afford a sandwich by myself at my agency.

In fact, web accessibility is a legal requirement.

While WCAG provides a definitive framework for ensuring digital inclusion, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses to adhere to these standards. Failure to comply with them can result in legal action, as seen in recent high-profile cases against major businesses.

Netflix, Winn-Dixie, Blue Apron, Nike, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Amazon, Domino’s Pizza, and thousands of other companies have been sued for inadequate web access. Last year, a record 3,255 web access charges filed. in federal courts. Since 2017, accessibility issues have increased every year as greater awareness and frustration prompts consumers to seek legal recourse over online platforms’ non-compliance with legal standards.

We can all do better.

Making websites accessible to all users, including people with disabilities, opens up new opportunities for education, work and social interaction. This justifies the importance of using technologies like generative AI to make web content accessible to everyone.

Generative AI makes web accessibility more accessible

Web platforms have long used AI as an automated testing tool that identifies accessibility flaws and ensures real-time regulatory compliance. These tools are valuable, helping companies make their often sprawling online ecosystems accessible to everyone.

Generative AI changes the game by providing a more efficient and practical approach to web accessibility.

For starters, a technology like ChatGPT can improve a brand’s website’s chatbots, allowing them to answer questions, provide information, or navigate the website based on the user’s needs.

Similarly, generative AI chatbots enable text-to-speech and speech-to-text conversion that can be integrated into existing systems to assist users with visual or hearing impairments. By converting written content to audio and vice-versa, these help users easily connect and interact with web content.

Additionally, you can prepare complex or technical content and rephrase it in simpler, more accessible language. This can be particularly useful for users with cognitive impairments or language impairments or those who prefer more direct language.

Another way to use generative AI to improve accessibility is by generating alt text images. This task is often tedious and time-consuming, especially if a website contains many images. ChatGPT can automate the process by generating descriptions that accurately reflect the content of such images.

Generative AI tools can automatically scan web pages and identify accessibility issues such as poor color contrast, missing alt text, or missing ARIA tags. It can then provide detailed optimization recommendations that developers can use to fix problems and improve the accessibility of their site.

Finally, generative AI can play a critical role in raising awareness among developers of the importance of accessibility. Many developers don’t have the knowledge or resources to create truly accessible sites. To solve this problem, AI-powered chatbots can empower virtual assistants that educate developers on the importance of accessibility and help make websites more accessible.

The accessibility revolution.

To be sure, generative AI in general and ChatGPT in particular are still in their infancy. ChatGPT is still considered a “research preview,” although companies have incorporated the technology to expand accessibility results. ChatGPT and its ilk are prone to illusions, which make them less trustworthy and reliable than many companies would like.

The recent release of GPT-4 is a major milestone in artificial intelligence, particularly natural language processing. With GPT-4, chatGPT is more reliable, innovative and capable of handling more complex instructions.

GPT-4’s ability to handle longer and more complex conversations makes for more efficient and effective communication with chatbots, typically used for customer service on websites. With GPT-4 accuracy, ChatGPT can provide better responses to questions and provide more personalized assistance, improving the overall user experience.

This integration provides new opportunities for people with disabilities to access online content in immersive and interactive ways.

The rapid growth of Internet use over the past two decades has changed the way we live, work and communicate. Yet there is a huge accessibility gap that prevents millions of people with disabilities from reaping the full benefits of the digital world. Companies, governments and website owners have a legal and ethical obligation to make their platforms accessible.

This is especially important for the millions of people currently limited by the Internet ecosystem. OpenAI’s ChatGPT, along with other generative AI technologies such as Google Bard, have the potential to transform web accessibility and bridge the gap.

Hopefully this is just the beginning.

By Ran Ronen is CEO. equal AI.


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