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Sitecues user interface with magnification and speech controls
United States
Accessible Service

Global Elevate Awards Runner-up 2016

Category: Web,

Nomination Details

Organization name: Ai Squared

Launched Date: 2015-01-01

Who has created it: David Young

Problem statement and how the Accessible Innovation solves the problem.

Assistive technology (AT) and web compliance efforts have been highly successful in making the web accessible for many. And yet, key segments are still left out. Individuals with mild print disabilities including low vision, learning disabilities, low literacy, and age-related conditions face many challenges in using the web. Technology and design practices that could help these populations are too rarely deployed or used.

Sitecues has created an AT this addresses the needs of these diverse populations while being highly usable and intuitive. Because it is easy-to-use, Sitecues promises to dramatically increase adoption from end user segments with low adoption of AT today.

Tell us who is the target audience and how the accessible innovation will benefit them. Please specify the different target audiences groups and provide numbers and statistics of your current clients as well as what is the potential number of people that the innovation can impact and empower:

The target users of Sitecues are: seniors (35% of US population), low vision (7% of US), low literacy (21-40% of US), learning disabilities (10-15% of US), and non-native English speakers (15% of US). These percentages are provided for the US, and will vary by country and region outside the US.

Each of our target segments benefits from a subset of Sitecues functionality: page magnification, text-to-speech, color themes, mouse size and color adjustment, highlights of selected text, and reading box for selected text. As needed, we can provide a mapping of features to applicable user segments.

How is the accessible innovative solution different from current practices or ways of solving the problem?

Alternative methods for assisting individuals with print disabilities during web use include:

  1. screen readers and screen magnifiers
  2. built-in accessibility tools within web browsers and operating systems
  3. web accessibility standards and
  4. other emerging technologies from companies like AudioEye and ReadSpeaker.

From the list above, #1 presents barriers in terms of expense and training requirements. From the list above #2 is rarely used by those who could benefit due to low awareness and poor usability. From the list above, #3 is difficult to execute and only implemented by a minority of website owners. From the list above, #4 includes solutions that help only a subset of users types relative to Sitecues.

How is the accessible innovative solution new, different or unique in terms of the technology or implementation?

Because Sitecues is embedded into public-facing websites, it becomes visible and available to any website visitor. This serves to raise awareness of AT – even among those who might not have need. Being on an organization’s website also raises awareness of AT across the organization – to other employees and to functional areas such as marketing and sales. For end users who do have need but do not use AT due to cost o complexity, Sitecues is freely available. Finally, Sitecues is delivered as SaaS, which serves to minimize the technical and operational burden on website owners.

How do you get the innovative solution to reach the target audience? Please elaborate on the your go to market strategy and which geographies do you currently work in and what are your future plans for marketing your innovation.

We are targeting website owners and working with them to make our technology available to their website visitors. Providing a free AT t end users is essential to driving widespread use. Enabling websites themselves, rather than end user terminals, allows us to deliver assistive technology at lower cost. Our initial focus is on website owners in the following verticals: libraries, education, government, senior services, vision care, disability services & advocacy. In the future, we plan to serve these verticals: e-commerce, finance, insurance, medical, and transportation.

Today we market and sell to these segments through our own direct sales force, through the Ai Squared dealer network, and through selected affiliates. Over time, we plan to migrate to a self-service model that will allow us to cost-effectively serve new verticals and smaller organizations. Our current geographic focus is on North America and Western Europe, with plans for us to expand to the global Ai Squared dealer network.

What is the potential impact of the innovative solution on the lives of the target audience? Please elaborate by providing statistics of the current impact and the potential impact.

From our experience serving people with low vision, we know that 95% of those who could benefit from screen readers and screen magnifiers do not use an AT. Dedicated AT software present adoption hurdles in terms of awareness, cost, and complexity. Putting a free AT in the hands of those who could benefit and making that AT easy to use can help “the other 95%.” For the websites we serve today, between 5% and 20% of website visitors interact with our technology. From usability studies, we have found that Sitecues improves website readability and easy-of-use generally.

Stories of how the Innovation has touched lives.

“We see the enormous application of sitecues...if you look at the national statistics from the National eye institute for projections in vision loss, it’s enormous. the need is here and it’s only going to grow for the public to more easily browse the internet.” Mary Kearns-Kaplan, Adult Service Outreach Coordinator of Talking Book and Braille at the NJ State Library

The National Business & Disability Council: Standing firmly behind the idea of ethical accessibility and the potential competitive advantage this may provide, the NBDC not only uses sitecues to meet their business goals, but has discussed further collaboration to amplify a message of greater web accessibility to their corporate partners and community in general

Links to a few videos about the innovation: