Web Accessibility - Market Size
The growing adoption of machine learning (ML) technologies and the increasing dominance of mobile testing services are some emerging trends in the accessibility testing industry. The first testing tool with machine learning functionalities was introduced in March 2020.
- The use of machine learning technologies is a fast-growing trend within the industry. A number of accessibility testing services are now turning to machine learning technologies to improve and automate the accessibility testing process. According to a recent report, the machine learning technology enables testing services to perform more complex visual analyses of web content faster.
- The typical automated testing processes only cover 30 percent of accessibility testing requirements, while the rest 70 percent require manual human inspection and judgment, according to a recent article by Standford University. Machine learning and related technologies, such as computer vision, are now increasingly being deployed to tackle the processes that could not be previously automated by employing the pattern recognition function inherent in machine learning programming.
- Accessibility testing services do not typically develop their machine learning technologies from scratch, rather they rely on proven implementations from top tech companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, to power their testing tools. The resulting ML-powered solutions are capable of mimicking a browser and possess the ability to understand the dynamic structure of a website with little human intervention.
- Deques, a leading accessibility testing service, became the first firm to infuse machine learning functionalities into its testing process in March 2020. According to the announcement, machine learning tools can now be used to analyze the relationship between visual elements of a web page, a process that would have previously been done manually. The company claims that it stands to gain significant time savings with the new approach.
Increasing Dominance of Mobile Testing
- The mobile segment of the accessibility testing market is expected to surpass the web segment, in terms of revenue, within the next five years, according to a recent report by Straits Research. Although the mobile segment is currently behind the web segment, mobile accessibility testing services are expected to be in higher demand than their web counterparts in the next few years. The recent introduction of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) ushered in a new era of mobile accessibility.
- Prior to the introduction of the mobile-focused WCAG 2.1 in 2018, mobile accessibility relied on web-oriented guidelines, especially the WCAG 2.0, which was introduced in 2008. The ten-year gap between the release of the two standards led to the popularity of web testing services.
- However, the dominance of web testing tools is set to decline in the near future. According to a recent report by QA InfoTech, about 95 percent of Android apps currently violate accessibility guidelines, while as much as 88 percent of visually impaired users own a display-enabled mobile device — indicating that there is a significant need for mobile accessibility testing services.
- Furthermore, about 20 percent of Americans are expected to be aged 65 and above by 2030. The aged population primarily rely on smartphones to communicate with friends and access the internet. This group of individuals, while also increasing in population, will witness age-related disabilities as they age, leading to a strong demand for better accessibility options, and in turn, mobile accessibility testing services.