Web Accessibility

What web accessibility is, why it's important, and how you can make your site accessible.

Matthew Schwartz avatar
Written by Matthew Schwartz
Updated over a week ago

Important disclaimer

This article is not intended to be legal advice. It's for general information purposes only, in an effort to make you aware of the topic and some of the considerations. We highly recommend you speak to an attorney who specializes in this topic in order to determine the best course of action.

What is web accessibility?

Generally speaking, web accessibility guidelines such as WCAG 2.1, ADA Title III, and similar, are sets of rules, behaviors, code standards and design guidelines that are meant to allow people with disabilities to effectively use websites.

Why should I be concerned about web accessibility?

  1. It’s legally required. Compliance with web accessibility guidelines is legally required, and will help protect you in the event of a possible lawsuit regarding these laws as they pertain to your website. Accessibility lawsuits have increased exponentially over the past few years, and will likely continue to increase at a faster rate.

  2. It’s good for your business. Website accessibility compliance increases the amount of customers you can potentially sell to, by a significant amount, and improves your business and brand’s reputation. Imagine reaching many more customers than you do now, and being perceived as a more professional and inclusive company.

  3. It’s the right thing to do. Everyone, including those with disabilities (which are around 20% of users), deserves the same rights and access to the internet.

How do I make my website accessible?

The hard solution:

The hardest and most expensive solution is to audit your entire website and manually make updates to the code, content, and so on, to make it compliant with web accessibility guidelines. (Or to hire an agency to do this for you). This is time consuming, complex, and must be continually maintained. Also, depending on your website’s code and what system it’s on, there may be limitations as to what you can edit.

The easy solution:

The alternative is to use a service which can automatically make accessibility changes on your website. Generally these are scripts or plugins which are installed on your site. They are usually very fast and easy to install, and can make significant improvements to accessibility of your website in a short period of time, and for relatively low cost compared to manual compliance. One of the best of these services is discussed below.

What is accessiBe?

accessiBe is the first and only AI-powered solution that is revolutionizing the industry by making web accessibility simple, automatic, immediate and affordable, in compliance with the WCAG 2.1, ADA, Section 508 and other worldwide legislation.

accessiBe was developed over the course of 18 months alongside people with disabilities, including blind individuals who are leading experts in assistive technologies. One of them is a lead developer of JAWS, the most popular and advanced screen-reader in the world.

How does accessiBe work?

It’s an online subscription service which quickly and easily makes your website compliant with legally required accessibility standards, by installing a script (or plugin, if available for your website platform).

What are the features of the accessiBe solution?

  1. The accessibility widget, which appears on your website as an icon the user can click, and allows the user to fully customize their experience on the site. There are grouped settings profiles based on common disabilities, and individual settings which can be tweaked. The access widget settings modify the UI, design, features, and so on of the site to make it more accessible for those with disabilities. The access widget interface supports many languages.

  2. The AI application, which scans and analyzes your site every 24 hours, and does behind the scenes updates to improve screen reader accessibility, keyboard navigation, and so on, which are extremely important, key aspects of web accessibility.

Other benefits of accessiBe:

  • It’s privacy law compliant (GDPR, CCPA, etc). No personal information about the user is collected or stored.

  • It displays an accessibility statement to users, inside the access widget.

  • And many more benefits

How do I enable accessiBe on my CrystalCommerce website?

  1. Read all of the important information below.

  2. Click the button below these instructions and notes, near the bottom of this page (or sign up directly on the accessiBe website).

  3. Set up your accessiBe account.

  4. Go into your admin > Account > Integrations > accessiBe, enable the feature by checking the box, then save the settings.

  5. The service will become active on your CrystalCommerce site immediately and automatically. You will NOT need to install any scripts or other code into your site. See important notes below for more information.

Important notes

You must register your accessiBe account with the domain of your CrystalCommerce website, which will either be (1) Your custom domain name, such as mystore.com, if you have it pointed to our servers, or (2) if you don’t have a custom domain name, it will be your CrystalCommerce store URL, such as mystore.crystalcommerce.com

The accessibility widget will appear on your site immediately, however it can take up to 48 hours for your site to become fully compliant, because the accessiBe AI system needs to scan and analyze all the pages on your site before making the necessary changes.

Although accessiBe does an excellent job of improving the web accessibility of your site, there are some caveats.

  1. It's always best to test your site, and if needed, make small tweaks. For example, the AI-powered alt descriptions created by accessiBe may not be perfect for every image on your site, therefore sometimes it may be better to write your own image alt descriptions, and so on. More info can be found on accessiBe's website.

  2. Media on your site, such as videos and PDF files, will NOT be modified by accessiBe, so you need make sure they are web accessibility compliant while you are creating and publishing them. YouTube and other video platforms have accessibility features such as captioning. You can research online for more info about web accessibility in media files, such as PDF's.

To sign up for accessiBe:

Sign up quickly and easily by clicking the button below, which would earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you (thank you!), or sign up directly through the accessiBe website. Either way, the service will be immediately enabled on your website after you complete registration, and enable the script in your admin per the instructions above, without needing to install any code.

If you have any questions about accessiBe, please contact their company directly.

If you have any questions about our system, feel free to contact us at support@crystalcommerce.com.

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