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Everywhere you look, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are becoming more commonplace in technology and development. Music streaming services are predicting your next favorite song, and even cars are now capable of making critical autopilot decisions through a series of trained neural networks.

At UserWay, we rely on AI technology. Our AI-Powered Widget automates the majority of client web accessibility compliance, in what is now by far the world’s most comprehensive automated ADA compliance solution. This kind of automation would not be possible without real human thinking as part of the process, or even ongoing human support to maintain quality.

In order to deliver the best results for our customers, UserWay uses a Human-in-the-Loop (HIL) approach to provide the best technology and help organizations across the internet become more accountable in their accessibility practices.

What is Human in the Loop?

Human in the Loop (or HIL) very simply means there is a human being involved in the decision-making and information gathering and broadcasting process. More technically speaking, it is a procedure used in the realm of AI that incorporates human intelligence to create effective machine learning models. Artificial intelligence tests and improves upon an algorithm using the data it collects. Gathered data is, however, limited by nature. By having humans consistently fine-tune the algorithm, and enhance the quality of the data, AI is able to incorporate new findings into its learning and thus improve and “grow” its intelligence.

People as part of the process, or humans in the loop, help machines think more like human beings, while retaining all the powers of machine automation. By leveraging this dual power, tremendous technological advances are now within reach.

Here’s How it Works

  1. Humans label data. This gives the artificial intelligence model high-quality training data. This improves machine-based predictive accuracy.
  2. Real people then score the resulting data, which offers feedback to the model, further improving accuracy and performance.
  3. At this point, developers or data scientists test and validate models by scoring outputs and identifying errors. By correcting overly confident algorithms on an incorrect decision or uncertain judgment, efficiency improves exponentially.
  4. This creates a positive continuous feedback loop that results in a smarter, more confident, and more accurate AI model.

Human in the Loop is a broad umbrella term that includes basic active learning approaches as well as the creation of new datasets through labeling and similar endeavors. It can also refer to actual information validation that skips the step of feeding it back into the model, although this happens only rarely.

At UserWay, we consistently improve upon the data. A continuously fed data model is a happy data model. With human beings constantly splicing data into the model, better predictive technology is born. Let’s boost true levels of accessibility: this is where it happens.

Human in the Loop: Max Accessibility

Data size and quality are directly related to the predictive accuracy your machine is able to provide. There are times when a particularly comprehensive dataset (working in tandem with a well-written algorithm) is so detailed that the machine can begin making highly accurate decisions on the spot. But what if you don’t have the advantage of a high-quality dataset? Perhaps that dataset simply doesn’t yet exist.

Whether you’re improving upon an existing dataset or creating a brand new one, the Human in the Loop approach allows human experts to step in and fill the gap where machines are uncertain. This eliminates information noise and results in a more robust dataset.

In this continuous lifecycle, algorithms are trained, predictions are tested, data is tuned, and outputs are validated. Here, human experts can powerfully impact the machine learning process. Result: a machine that’s many times smarter, thoroughly trained, and a substantially improved decision-maker.

And that’s how we help you maximize accessibility.

Three Benefits of Human + AI

Why is hands-on human involvement plus automation the best possible line-up?

Probably among the biggest advantages of Human in the Loop is that it continually improves the level of your data quality in a three-step cycle:

  1. By collecting more relevant data,
  2. Improving upon existing data, and
  3. Overall increasing the accuracy of insight.

There are instances of silent knowledge that humans can share with the machine without even realizing it. By incorporating human expertise into the system, machines can begin to “read between the lines” and build further insights. Humans can use this human/machine hybrid insight to take data to the next level, and to make inferences they would not have thought of otherwise.

Finally, it’s not just about the machine. The Human in the Loop (HIL) approach also increases the efficiency of human experts by giving them the advantage of AI-powered automation.

By having humans and machines work together, both strengths pull together to create an advantage never before available in either AI technology or human exertion alone.

This is Accessibility’s Future

Human in the Loop technology combines the best of human and machine intelligence. It’s also built into UserWay’s AI-Powered widget, an essential resource giving humans the perfect niche in the process where they can intervene to support the AI process as needed. This increases real accessibility and accountability throughout the global user experience.

UserWay has been using Human in the Loop data distillation as part of our accessibility process since the inception of our company. We know AI predictive tech is only as good as the data it’s been fed: to coin a phrase, DIDO rather than GIGO.

Machines thrive at decision-making for large datasets, while humans are much more efficient with more narrowly focused information. The ever-present CAPTCHA images test for human-ness by showing images containing human-recognizable objects, such as bicycles in various settings, because humans can easily pick out familiar items based on visual pattern recognition. Humans easily differentiate between an apple and a pear, but a machine would need to see many different pears from multiple angles, in different colors, before gaining confidence in its decision. A machine might be able to understand the basics of an image, but humans specialize in spotting a vast range of different variables. Machines that follow human recognition patterns to understand the complexities of an image learn better pattern recognition.

Our unique human advantage creates better AI by improving datasets through human mediation. An image dataset labeled by humans teaches a machine to see these items more clearly. With every added instance of new data and data fine-tuning, machine algorithms begin to see images more rapidly, and become increasingly confident in their accuracy.

All users, with and without disabilities, benefit more from your website or application, when developers intentionally bake in genuine accessibility at the initial part of the product lifecycle.

Fully Hybrid Data: HIL-Fueled AI

Integrate our AI-powered accessibility widget to take full advantage of HIL-fueled technology. Let’s try a quick example.

The photo below is automatically tagged by most generic AI as “a person” or “people”. UserWay AI would do better, giving an automatic alternative text of “children” or “children in a classroom”. HIL would recognize that in the photo, there’s a teacher reading a book to the children, even though the teacher is mostly out of the frame of the photo.

Teacher reading book to children

UserWay works with industry-leading brands to ensure they not only provide full accessibility to their end-users but also secure long-lasting ADA compliance for their sites and digital assets. This commitment to meaningful accessibility creates a more inclusive internet for everyone.

HIL Boosts Accountability, Drives Accessibility

With the rise of accessibility as a major focus in technology, how can businesses be more accountable? The answer is simple: use an AI-powered accessibility widget with Human in the Loop technology.

With the power of HIL + AI hybrid data flows, organizations will find it’s exponentially easier to be increasingly accountable for their accessibility initiatives. Many organizations simply cannot manually accomplish all their accessibility tasks. And, while accessibility can be fully automated, that’s only successful to a limited extent.

Having humans continuously involved in the accessibility process helps build better datasets for everyone, raising the standard for all who understand the imperative to have an accessible website.

We strongly believe that AI technology is, and will continue to be, the driving force behind the propagation and proliferation of online accessibility initiatives. Already more than 1 million sites are leveraging UserWay technology to attain their accessibility goals. Your participation in the digital accessibility movement helps secure accessibility for more and farther-reaching segments of the various and overlapping disabled communities, and, in fact, the world.

Going Beyond Human in the Loop

Even with continual improvements to the datasets used for machine learning, there is always room for improvement. That’s why UserWay recommends periodic manual audits for websites to ensure all elements are compliant and working properly. Automation doesn’t mean the entire process should be left completely on auto-pilot.

We also introduce focus groups composed of site testers with disabilities. This confirms that websites function as expected for all users, including those with disabilities. As well, it is always possible for administrators to make their own adjustments to alt tags and other content created by the UserWay widget.

Accessibility Matters, Period.

Your website is the face of your business. All users should be able to access and use it. One option is to manually and periodically scan your products for accessibility-related issues. When done in-house, that becomes prohibitively expensive in both time and resources for the vast majority of organizations.

When done without expert oversight, this can also expose your organization to tremendous risk and liability. Using our AI-powered accessibility widget built with HIL technology, constantly improving its dataset through feedback from real people, is a sensible and powerful option.

The fact is, more than one billion people around the world are living with disabilities. UserWay’s goal is to open up real, reliable, fully compliant accessibility for ALL users, helping make more websites, from small-to-medium businesses to Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and governmental organizations, accessible to all users, including those living with disabilities.

That’s why we push the envelope of what’s possible with hybrid HIL/AI, machine learning, and automation to make it easier than ever for you to make the world more accessible.