IBM launches accessibility tools for people with disabilities

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IBM introduces the Equal Access Toolkit and Accessibility Checker to make applications accessible to people with disabilities. The toolkit enables developers and testers to adjust their workflows, making applications more accessible.

IBM announced a new set of open-source tools for developers and testers on Monday. The new toolkit contains a public set of guidelines for all members of a team working on an IT project. The guidelines should guarantee that the solution is fully accessible to someone with a disability.

In addition to the toolkit, IBM is also introducing the Accessibility Checker, which is part of an open suite of automation tools. The browser extension runs diagnostics on code at any point of the development process and generates a list of issues that need to be addressed. It also explains what the problem is and how to solve it.

The tools are built on the same rules engine, which is kept up-to-date to meet the latest accessibility standards. The Accessibility checker is available through GitHub, or the Chrome and Firefox stores.

Accessibility

Accessibility functions are becoming increasingly important in our modern society; this also applies to designers and developers. After all, digital tools are a big part of everyday life, but this can be a problem for people with disabilities. According to the CDC, one in four adults in the United States has some kind of disability.

At the same time, most websites contain accessibility problems. Earlier this year, the non-profit organisation WebAIM analysed one million homepages for accessibility problems and found that more than 98 percent of the pages had one detectable accessibility error.

As the technology sector is offering more tools to solve the issue, digital accessibility is increasingly emerging in legal discussions. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court opened the doors to lawsuits in which websites and mobile applications provided insufficient accessibility for people with disabilities.