Emerging technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, have ignited a spark of innovation. With every breakthrough and advancement, these technologies push the boundaries of what we once thought possible, revolutionizing our daily lives, bringing significant changes across different industries, and reshaping the way we communicate with each other. 

As technology leaps forward, it also plays a vital role in inclusivity, providing opportunities to those who have been marginalized and extending support to individuals with disabilities. 

With an estimated 1.3 billion people (1 in 6) who have a significant disability and over 97% of all websites lacking accessibility measures, people with disabilities still face barriers when online. This has made digital accessibility a huge concern for every business across every sector.

Far from being a luxury, web accessibility is an essential requirement. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that granting individuals with disabilities access to new information and communication technologies, including the internet, is not just a preference but a fundamental human right.

Issues around web accessibility have pushed the role of emerging technology such as AI into the spotlight. How is technology redefining digital accessibility, and what possibilities do they hold for creating a more inclusive future?

5 Advancements in AI for Web Accessibility

AI is transforming digital accessibility, addressing current obstacles and closing the divide between technology and users who have disabilities. Let’s explore five key areas where AI is creating a significant influence by dismantling barriers and empowering individuals with disabilities to actively engage online:

1. AI-Driven Web Accessibility

AI has the capability to automatically detect and address accessibility issues on websites and digital platforms. Through machine learning algorithms, AI can analyze website elements, identify potential accessibility barriers, and provide recommendations for improvement. This helps web developers ensure their websites comply with internationally recognized accessibility standards such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), making them more inclusive and usable for individuals with disabilities.

2. Screen Reader Accessibility

AI-enhanced screen readers can analyze web content with greater precision, offering blind and low-vision users a more fluid experience. Screen readers now have the ability to deliver a smoother and more seamless experience for users with visual impairments. Leveraging natural language processing (NLP) and advanced machine learning algorithms, these screen readers can comprehend context and intent more effectively, resulting in improved accuracy and a more enjoyable browsing experience.

 3. AI-Powered Captioning

AI-powered captioning has greatly improved accessibility for individuals with hearing impairments. Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology, coupled with AI algorithms, enables real-time transcription of spoken content, making it accessible with captions. This technology is being integrated into video conferencing platforms, online videos, and live events, facilitating effective communication and information access for individuals who rely on captions to understand spoken content.

 4. Image Recognition for Visual Accessibility

AI-based image recognition technology is enhancing visual accessibility by providing detailed descriptions of images and visual content. Through deep learning algorithms, AI can analyze images and generate accurate and meaningful descriptions, which can be converted into audio format for individuals with visual impairments. This enables them to perceive and understand visual content, including social media posts, web articles, and even physical objects, expanding their access to information and enhancing their overall digital experience. 

5. Predictive Text and Voice Recognition

AI is transforming the way individuals with motor or cognitive disabilities communicate by leveraging intuitive predictive text and voice recognition technologies. These advancements greatly assist users in expressing themselves more effectively.Through the observation and analysis of a user’s speech patterns and typing behaviors, AI algorithms have the ability to anticipate and propose suitable words, phrases, and complete sentences.. This predictive text feature makes the process of creating digital communication more seamless, removing the need for individuals to manually type words.

As these technological advancements unfold, they are not only transforming the lives of individuals but also making a significant impact across diverse industries. How are technologies reshaping industries, and what are the specific ways that AI is transforming different industries?

How AI-Powered Technology is Reshaping Industries

AI is  reshaping industries across the globe, driving innovation, efficiency, and new possibilities. Let’s explore a few key sectors where these technologies are making a significant impact:

  • Retail and E-Commerce: By leveraging AI, retailers can provide personalized product suggestions based on individual preferences, boosting engagement and driving sales. Virtual shopping assistants offer valuable customer support and can guide customers through their shopping journey. With AI at the forefront, shopping is becoming more inclusive and customer-centric.
  •  Education: AI in academic settings is enabling personalized learning experiences and enhancing accessibility for students with disabilities. Chatbots offer students instant feedback and guidance, and AI-driven technologies such as speech recognition and text-to-speech systems facilitate accessibility for students with visual or hearing impairments, ensuring equal access to educational resources and materials.
  •  Healthcare: AI and other emerging technologies in healthcare have been changing the game in the healthcare sector. In diagnostics, AI algorithms can analyze medical images, including X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, enabling the detection of abnormalities and aiding radiologists in making more precise diagnoses.  AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can provide personalized healthcare advice, symptom triage, and patient support,  reducing the burden on healthcare professionals. 
  • Finance: The finance industry is undergoing a significant transformation thanks to the power of AI. This technology is automating various processes, improving risk management, and providing customers with personalized experiences. In the banking sector, AI-driven chatbots are revolutionizing customer support and transaction services. Additionally, AI has the capability to offer personalized financial advice that aligns with individual preferences and financial objectives.

UserWay: AI-Powered Digital Accessibility

UserWay’s AI-powered accessibility solution embeds accessibility into your digital products and applications. From automated captioning and image recognition to intuitive navigation and customizable settings, our tool is empowering many organizations across multiple industries to create more inclusive digital experiences for their users. Ready to benefit from AI-driven technology to start your digital accessibility journey? Request a demo today


What is the role of technology and digital accessibility?

By embracing web accessibility and leveraging technology, we can bridge gaps, empower individuals, and create a more inclusive society that values diversity and equal participation.

How can AI impact  web accessibility?

AI for web accessibility offers immense potential to address the challenges of making digital content inclusive. With AI-powered solutions, web accessibility can be automated and scaled, enabling real-time captioning, image recognition, and personalized experiences.

Which industries can benefit from accessible technology?

Accessible technology has the potential to benefit a wide range of industries and personas including government, education, healthcare, e-commerce, media, and nonprofits. By utilizing AI-based tools, organizations and individuals can ensure their websites and digital applications are accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities.