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How Can AI Improve Web Accessibility: An Ecommerce Guide

How Can AI Improve Web Accessibility? An Ecommerce Guide

Web accessibility is a crucial aspect of the online user experience that ensures inclusivity for all individuals, including those with disabilities. However, online businesses often neglect or struggle to address it due to the meticulous and complex nature of the task. How can AI simplify the process of improving web accessibility? 

This guide explores how AI technologies are used to improve web accessibility, the benefits it brings to businesses, and the strategies for integrating AI solutions to enhance web accessibility for online stores.

For those interested in understanding the fundamentals of accessibility, we recommend reading this article. It also provides valuable insights and practical tips to improve accessibility for online stores.

Contents

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)

OpenAI’s ChatGPT has taken the entire tech world by storm over the past year, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the machine behind it. It refers to the development of computer systems and algorithms capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as learning, problem-solving, and decision-making. 

With each day, the influence and contribution of AI extends exponentially into more fields. This technology has driven change in various industries such as healthcare, telecommunications, finance, logistics, transportation, and entertainment. We have also explored its use in areas such as quality assurance and bug resolution. So, what is the impact of AI in the context of web accessibility?

The impact of AI in web accessibility

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in digital products has given businesses advanced  capabilities to test and optimize for accessibility. AI has become a  valuable tool for addressing the unique challenges faced by impaired users, providing innovative solutions to improve their online user experiences.

Another key advantage of AI in web accessibility is its ability to analyze vast amounts of accessibility requirements swiftly and accurately. While traditional solution-finding can be time-consuming, AI’s algorithms can expedite this process, offering immediate effective solutions to enhance accessibility on ecommerce websites.

The integration of AI functionalities in modern ecommerce interfaces also serve to support web accessibility, simplifying user interactions and offering alternative methods to accomplish tasks. A popular example is AI-powered chatbots that reduce barriers in user interactions, especially in answering queries. However, there are many other ways that AI can improve web accessibility, which we will take a look at in the next section. 

5 ways AI can improve web accessibility

Now, let’s explore specific examples of how AI can be used to improve web accessibility. These solutions not only create a more inclusive and user-friendly ecommerce experience, but also serve to deliver innovative alternatives to traditional user interactions.

Detecting accessibility issues

Machine Learning (ML) algorithms can be used to identify accessibility barriers on websites, such as inadequate color contrast, missing alt text for images, and navigation issues. By leveraging AI technology, ecommerce businesses can swiftly detect these issues and receive personalized recommendations to enhance accessibility.

Computer vision capabilities

On the other hand, AI can be used to describe images and graphics for people with visual disabilities. In particular, Computer Vision (CV) can describe UI elements on ecommerce websites. By connecting the dots between product images, descriptions, options and aesthetics AI can help visually-impaired shoppers to better understand visual content and make the right purchase decisions. 

For ecommerce businesses, Computer Vision algorithms can be used to rapidly analyze and optimize an online store’s UI/UX. It can identify inconsistencies, layout issues, or visual defects that traditional testing methods may overlook.

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AI-powered Facial recognition technology

Often, the authentication process for secure web applications involves passwords, PIN, or passing a CAPTCHA test to ensure authentication. But for impaired users, handling a traditional authentication process is a challenge.

Facial recognition technology is now reshaping user interactions by replacing traditional password inputs. It is a category of biometric security that uses a face analyzer feature to identify a person’s face. Coupled with AI, facial recognition technologies can learn from experiences and make the right assumptions when recognizing the individual in front of the camera. As this technology matures, it will simplify the authentication process for impaired users and eventually replace CAPTCHA.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) for website content

NLP is a branch of AI that gives computers the ability to support, interpret and manipulate human language. In the context of ecommerce accessibility, NLP algorithms can be used to analyze and interpret content for impaired users. 

In particular, captioning multimedia content such as audios and videos is essential to ensure that people with hearing disabilities or deafness can access information effectively. AI can be used to automatically generate accurate and synchronized visual descriptions for these forms of multimedia content, making it accessible to a much wider audience.

Improved browsing and shopping experience

In general, websites with accessible structures and content offer a better experience for all individuals, with or without disabilities, resulting in better search engine performance. Ecommerce sites that have AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots can facilitate accessibility further, answering complex product queries and helping people with disabilities find relevant information.

Nevertheless, there are more benefits than just improving the online store navigation experience. For example, the Orienteed chatbot for B2B stores can perform advanced functions such as creating orders based on specific customer requirements. 

Wrapping things up

There are a number of promising uses of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in web accessibility, especially in terms of enhancing the ecommerce user experience. By utilizing AI technologies like machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision, businesses can pinpoint usability barriers and create more accessible online environments for all users. 

For businesses aiming to improve their online store user interface and user experience, Valido AI can streamline this process. Its advanced UI/UX testing features evaluates the usability of store pages, identify accessibility issues, and provide personalized recommendations to improve conversions.  Embracing AI-driven solutions like Valido AI can propel ecommerce enterprises towards both inclusivity and growth in the long run.

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