Can New Software Help Small Businesses Keep Digital Accessibility Audits In-House?

Published March 31, 2022

ABILITY (formerly Online ADA) has unveiled new software that the company is touting as a one-stop shop for accessibility auditing, remediation efforts, and the creation of digital accessibility components for both desktop and mobile. The new software is called A11y Toolbox. ABILITY claims that the software suite is so efficient and simple to use that it can save expensive outside consultations by keeping accessibility efforts in-house.

ABILITY’s timing couldn’t be more on the nose. As much of life becomes even more digital in a post-pandemic world, ensuring website accessibility is more important than ever. Everyone is turning to digital solutions to navigate daily life, including the roughly 26% of Americans who report a disability. Ensuring a business’s site and online shop are optimized for accessibility is the fastest way to grow a loyal customer base.

But for smaller businesses and entrepreneurs just getting started, dipping a toe into site accessibility can be intimidating, so many companies choose to farm out accessibility audits and compliance efforts. ABILITY purports that its new A11y Toolbox is so simple to use that most accessibility efforts can be performed in-house.

There are some critical questions to consider to determine if the A11y Toolbox can be the one-stop-accessibility-shop ABILITY wants it to be. What does the A11y Toolbox do? What are its capabilities and limitations? 

What the A11y Toolbox does

For those unaware, “A11y” is a numeronym for “accessibility.” Many in the community would consider “A11y” also to indicate “ally” and allyship. 

According to ABILITY, the A11y Toolbox is a hybrid solution that functions as a management platform to help businesses keep track of various accessibility audits and projects and as a literal box of tools used to identify and report accessibility issues. The Toolbox then works to remediate accessibility failures as they are identified.

According to ABILITY, the Toolbox is the first of its kind in that it’s an all-in-one digital accessibility project management platform usable by all positions. The Toolbox is comprised of an array of tools that accessibility auditors, project managers, sales executives, web designers, and various other positions can use to ensure accessibility compliance on multiple levels in numerous departments.

ABILITY’s assessment of its product is filled with characterizations of versatility and innovation, but what are the actual capabilities of the Toolbox?

The tools in the Toolbox include a WCAG Audit, a Media Audit, and a Color Swatch Analysis, each with a large subset of customizable options and functions.

Specifically, the Toolbox allows users to:

  • Perform automated accessibility audits
  • Perform manual accessibility audits
  • Create reports on both manual and automated audits and track progress
  • Compare and import audit issues
  • Track measurable results over time
  • Analyze color contrast
  • Create color contrast reports

Additionally, the Toolbox offers some collaborative features, including the ability to assign specific projects to team members. Users can also download reports and share them with other team members to facilitate collaboration and streamline client management. These reports can also be shared with clients, and the Toolbox allows for multiple audits and reports to be generated throughout a client’s lifecycle.

How accessibility toolkits have performed in the past

The A11y Toolbox is a new product for public access, so measuring it against existing efforts and products is tough − existing toolboxes vary in features and functionality and can be as simple as a collection of resources to a tool like Monsido

An intriguing claim posted by the company, however, is that the tool will be usable by designers and auditors, who in many cases have little understanding of accessibility or its core principles. This has always been the challenge of managing efforts in-house. At the end of the day, accessibility isn't something that can be managed like a second job for existing staff. It requires understanding and training in accessibility, so it will be interesting to see how intuitive the software is when it is released and how much instruction is included. 

First reports, however, would indicate their new Toolbox is filled with many of the tools necessary to ensure accessibility compliance in-house appropriately.

Final verdict

More tools are needed, and it is exciting to think about what may be in Ability's gift bag for us; regardless, it is nice to see that the accessibility profession is maturing to the point that these types of tools are becoming more commonplace. 


Accessibility Services for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses - Free Online Event!

Join us on Wednesday, May 1st, at 1 PM ET for a free online event to explore how to evaluate and select accessibility services for your small to medium-sized business. Click here to learn more about this event and to register.

Click here to see our Events Calendar.'s 2024 events will utilize the Zoom Events platform, offering a virtual expo hall for attendees to meet with prospective vendors. If your company is interested in being part of the expo hall, don't hesitate to get in touch with

Vendor Directory offers the premier impartial listing of digital accessibility vendors.  Search for products and services by category, subcategory, or company name.  Check out our new Vendor Directory here.