12.16.2014

Accessibility Technology Opening New Channels of Online Commerce


15 seconds.

That’s all the time an organization has to hold someone’s attention on a website.

For various reasons – poor navigation, confusing content, ineffective design, or lack of accessibility – consumers have no patience for organizations that don’t take customer experience seriously.

By offering an online experience customized to individual needs, preferences and abilities, organizations can ensure they are reaching the broadest base of the population including people with disabilities, aging consumers and multi-cultural communities to optimize website usability, enhance interactions and improve sales opportunities.

This is why IBM Tealeaf has integrated accessibility functionality from IBM Research into its latest release, IBM Tealeaf Customer Experience (cxOversat), to improve interactions, increase loyalty and expand market reach.

Consider the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping extravaganzas. According to the recent IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, online sales grew 12.6 percent compared to 2013. Specifically, on Cyber Monday, desktop PCs accounted for 58.6 percent of all online traffic and 78 percent of all online sales.

Given this growth and the continued reliance on desktops to shop online, ensuring that a website is accessible for all consumers can only maximize sales and increase user satisfaction. However, while retailers are continuing to personalize the shopping experience, they still continue to miss out on meeting the needs of their diverse customer segments.

Tealeaf give organizations insights and answers required to verify whether a website is delivering a positive and pleasant experience for all visitors. By understanding customers’ online experiences and behaviors, organizations know immediately where a site might have usability issues so they can optimize pages to deliver uninhibited access to information and timely offers.

IBM Tealeaf cxOversat has been enhanced with two accessibility overlays to help users improve the usability of a website and support compliance with government regulations and industry accessibility standards:
  • Color Contrast: Creates greater website usability for people with vision impairments by automatically flagging text with foreground and background color contrast issues and recommends how to easily correct the color contrast ratio violations in order to meet industry standards.
  • Accessibility: Ensures websites include alternative text, proper tabbing and keyboard navigation, and area text for screen readers to create the best online experience for users with vision, auditory, physical or cognitive disabilities.


New accessibility overlay automatically identifies text with foreground and background color contrast violations.

For instance, 10,000 people will turn 65 every day for the next 15 years, and people 60 and older will acquire at least two disabilities. By seamlessly incorporating accessibility, such as ensuring screen readers can easily navigate a website, IBM makes it easier for customers with more significant visual loss, language comprehension issues, or motor difficulties to learn about new offers or services. Now, organizations can serve the largest audience possible and open sustainable new revenue channels, especially for Baby Boomers who have annual spending of more than $2 trillion.

With rapid visibility into customer behavior, organizations gain better insights to understand why certain customer segments might never click on areas of a website, and more importantly, the answers to quickly resolve accessibility issues that online customers encounter.

After all, first impressions still matter, especially when a competitor's website is 15 seconds away.

For more information on IBM Accessibility, visit www.ibm.com/able or join our conversations on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.