Siri visits couples therapy star Dr. Orna Guralnik in Sketch
A two-minute video skit (below) in which Siri meets the star of couples therapy, Dr. Orna Guralnik, visited, is the basis of an ad for web accessibility company Userway. It’s the second time Siri voice actress Susan Bennet has starred in an ad for the company…
Userway says that even though the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires websites to be accessible to everyone, only 2% of the top million websites meet the requirements.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the global accessibility of the internet and to shed light on the importance of digital inclusivity. With more than a billion people with disabilities and impairments around the world and an increasingly digital world, the need for online accessibility and inclusion is more urgent than ever.
“Digital accessibility is a fundamental part of our everyday lives, even if we don’t realize it,” said Allon Mason, CEO of UserWay. “It’s great to see accessibility awareness growing and we felt that emphasizing the issue created a kind of familiarity and belonging for both Susan and Orna that everyone appreciates. We hope this will inspire all businesses to take action to ensure their websites are inclusive and accessible to people of all abilities or disabilities.” A
The UserWay campaign features therapy sessions between Dr. Orna Guralnik and Susan Bennett as Siri herself as Siri finds out what’s troubling her the most – she loves helping people, but she can’t make all the websites around the world accessible on her own. If everyone knew how easy it is to fix this problem with the UserWay widget, the web would be accessible to everyone.
“I am honored to be involved in such an important project,” said Dr. Orna Guralnik. “As a therapist, I have dedicated my life to helping people, so I connect deeply with UserWay’s mission to help people with disabilities strengthen their abilities.”
Userway aims to automate the accessibility process of an existing website by detecting problems and fixing them automatically.
Although both the couples therapy star and Siri Voice say they are proud to draw attention to the issue, it’s worth noting that many disabled people are critical of such solutions that rely on providing partial overlay for disabled visitors generate rather than actually fix the underlying problems. This causes many problems for disabled website visitors.
While it is true that a non-trivial array of accessibility problems can be repaired in this way, the nature, extent, and accuracy of such repair is limited by a number of important factors:
- The automated application of text alternatives for images is not reliable
- Automated field label repair, error management, error handling, and focus control on forms is not reliable
- Automatic keyboard access repair is not reliable
- Page repairs can either slow down page load times or cause unexpected page changes for assistive technology users.
Additionally, overlays do not repair content in Flash, Java, Silverlight, PDF, HTML5 Canvas, SVG, or media files.
Others argue that claims by Userway and other overlay companies that they make websites compliant with the ADA and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are untrue.
UserWay is taking advantage of the ongoing misconceptions about what the ADA covers, which jurisdictions it covers, and which people buy those products thinks it covers.
Taking ADA at face value is akin to saying UserWay will make your website FDA compliant. If we consider ADA interchangeable with WCAG, a quick automatic check will prove otherwise.
Bennett said back in 2013 that she had no idea what the voice work was for, and the first time she learned she was the voice of Siri was when a friend asked her via email. She later revealed more about how the process worked — and how she just got the gig by accident.
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