Written by: Afonso Rodrigues and Francesco Mariani
The IBM Social Program Management development team is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve the experience of its products for users with disabilities. Accessibility is as important to us as it is to our customers and users. We want to deliver high quality and compliant software, and we want to deliver it fast. A key success factor for us is to innovate our range of development tools and work methodology. Thatâ€™s why weâ€™ve recently adopted AI to Social Program Management. Weâ€™re currently using AI in the development and testing phases for accessibility. By means of a browser plug-in tool, we can identify potential violations and get suggested solutions to fix them.
What are the benefits?
The AI-enabled Accessibility (AIEA) plug-in, an IBM tool available to anyone to use, is a Chrome extension that uses AI and deep learning to detect and repair accessibility issues on a rendered web page. AIEA provides code snippets that target the exact accessibility violation. Instead of generic guidance, AIEA uses AI and heuristics to give specific guidance. Website developers can review the information in the code snippet, test the fixes in the rendered HTML, and easily incorporate the suggested fixes into their code. No deep accessibility expertise is needed.
- Accelerate development
- Anticipate & preempt disruptions
- Recommend fixes with confidence
- Scale expertise & learning
- Detect liabilities & mitigate risk
Our developersâ€™ experience of using AIEA
When our Social Program Management developers are integrating accessibility into coding and testing, their experience is that using the AIEA plug-in is the best ally to deal with the hardest and the most time-consuming problems. Specifically, AIEA helps developers to:
- Identify accessibility violations in a web page
- Understand how the code that they write impacts users with disabilities
- Identify the expected accessible application behaviours and how to implement them
- Find specific and reliable accessibility information quickly
Finally, the use of AIEA sparks business advantages, facilitating the development and release of more accessible products. As Social Program Management developers and testers, we can then dedicate the time AIEA saves us for further product improvements.