Why use AI to support ARIA labels and alt text creation?
Alternative text (alt text) and ARIA labels are considered fundamentals of accessibility compliance. The kind of low-hanging fruits that every CMS is built to accommodate and that don’t require significant technical expertise to remediate. As a result, they may not be top of mind when it comes to AI for accessibility. This is a missed opportunity — and one ripe for correction.
As WebAIM’s 2023 report on accessibility shows, ARIA labels and alt text remain among the top areas for remediation. After evaluating 1 million sample homepages, analysts found that more than 58% were missing alt text for some images, 26% lacked ARIA labels, and 17% had ambiguous link texts. Government sites were among the most compliant. Retail and shopping websites were typically among the least compliant.
Why? Processes and resourcing seem the most likely answers. Despite caring about accessibility and intending to do the right thing, not every organization has the capability or capacity to incorporate accessibility by design.
This results in elements like alt text and ARIA labels being written after a webpage is finalized, which in turn requires specific bandwidth and resourcing … and sometimes even clarity over ownership. For enterprise organizations working at speed and at scale with bulk images and links – whether they’re in technology or retail or another industry – it’s easy to see how compliance may become a reactive step instead of a proactive one.
A tool like our AI ARIA Label and Alt Text Generator solves this problem by automating the bulk of the work and delivering drafts at the page build stage.
Bolster your team’s productivity and save resourcing hours
Imagine a cluster of draft webpages. Instead of manually reviewing tens or hundreds of images and links, and then spending hours drafting alt text and ARIA labels, our generator allows page authors to simply input bulk image thumbnails and draft CTA/link copy via a spreadsheet or CSV file. Using iSoftStone’s AI ARIA label and Alt Text Generator is a straightforward 1, 2, 3 process.
- The AI ingests and analyzes the image thumbnails and CTA/link copy.
- In response to a scoped generative prompt, it returns:
- Editable, accurate drafts of recommended alt text.
- Written ARIA labels, plus summaries for sense checking.
- Everything is ready for the page author to review, edit, and refine.
And all within minutes.
For quality assurance, and to minimize the risk of AI hallucinations, the generator uses a crawler to visit any URLs supplied in the input and provides contextual information as part of the prompt.
Furthermore, the tool integrates a generative AI instance that boasts alt text accuracy rates of more than 93% and precision rates of more than 95%. Impressive results we saw proof of in our development and testing experience. One general-use AI platform misread a (clear to human eyes) image of an oil derrick as “man working on windmill.” By contrast, our AI ARIA Label and Alt Text Generator correctly wrote alt text describing it as an “oil derrick in the desert.”
In the future, our experts hope to layer in even more automation by integrating the generator with other solutions. Perhaps with development tools and platforms to support engineers as they code, or with a DAM like Adobe Experience Manager Assets so that alt text is generated as part of the image ingestion workflow and preempts the page build altogether.
Automate accessible experiences and improve efficiency with AI
Our accessibility services and digital experience teams partnered to develop the AI ARIA Label and Alt Text Generator via a series of discussions and iterative proofs of concept (POCs) with one of our global technology clients. It’s now being adopted by that client and we’re pleased to offer it to every organization that wants to improve efficiency and reduce costs while elevating user and customer experiences.
Key benefits of our AI ARIA Label and Alt Text Generator:
- Reduces the labor required to create and maintain compliant pages
- Speeds the overall creation process for alt text and ARIA labels
- Incorporates accessibility compliance into software development and/or content creation cycles
- Speeds the process of remediation
- Prevents extensive review and audit cycles
- Improves SEO
- CMS agnostic
At iSoftStone, we believe some of the most exciting opportunities around AI for accessibility will lie in creating tools that simultaneously help our enterprise clients become more compliant and save them time and money.
The use cases for AI solutions are potentially infinite and getting results tailored exactly to your business needs has never been more within reach. If you’re interested in seeing a demo of our AI ARIA Label and Alt Text Generator or have a vision for an AI POC that needs development support, please get in touch. We’d love to help.